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Why Being Nice Works - Our Approach

Firstly, I’ll apologise to those who were expecting something dynamic about improving their businesses and secondly to those who think ethics is a county East of London.


This is a position paper and it sets out my views on how we try to (and by implication how others should) comport themselves in business life.  It is about treating others as you would like to be treated.


Openness
Openness means keeping people informed, warts and all and if, for example, a competitor of a business associate approaches us, we make our position clear.


We will never tell you out of the blue that we have done something which will negatively impact on you.
We do not have secrets. If we do not want what you have, we’ll tell you, politely (well, if it is the 15th time your organisation has been in touch after we have said no, we might get a bit tetchy!).

Ask us a question and you'll get a straight answer. if something is confidential, we'll tell you.

 

Partnership/Mutuality
I don’t believe that there have to be ‘winners and losers’ to be successful, or that you should seek to gain an advantage over your suppliers or customers. We value long-term mutually supportive working partnerships. If you have a relationship with us, we will help you try to accomplish your objectives, not seek to maximise the profit we make from you. We’d rather have a client for 20 years that makes us £500 a year than one for 3 years that makes us £2000 a year.

If you negotiate with us we'll start from a position that is fair for both sides: if you want to play the game of starting right at one end of the scale and inching back to the middle, please don't try.


One aspect of this is that we never increase the prices we charge to clients who pay us by standing order. It is a way of saying ‘thank you’ for their loyalty. (We have clients currently paying us what they did in 1999).
We are here to help. We love helping nice people do well. If on the other hand, you are a complete pain in the rear..we’d rather not do business with you (and won’t).


Respect and consideration
We acknowledge e-mails as a matter of course. If we make an appointment, we keep it. If we schedule a meeting we attend it. If we arrange a phone call to come in, we take the call. We do not interrogate callers we have asked to ring us to ensure they have the right to talk to us. I take most calls coming into our business. This means decisions can be made fast.


We only ever call firms that have asked us to, so we do expect you to participate in the communication you have requested. To fail to do so is just rude. We pay our bills almost immediately and if that won’t happen (e.g. when we’re on the road), we let the supplier know. If you have cash in the bank there’s no good reason for not doing so with near zero interest rates. No matter how much some clever accounting type tells you to sit on your bills, you’ll have a better relationship at near zero cost if you do. It also saves us the cost of running a bought ledger.


Basic aspects of consideration like this are not only good manners, they save a lot of time on both sides and make the process of business more efficient.


Zero BS
I am fed up with false and misleading BS I read. While I know people buy on emotion, not logic, I’ll never give up trying to get people to ask ‘Does this make sense?’


My Linked-In profile is also factual. It is not riddled with claims about expertise and talents I don’t have. What you see there is what you get.


One of the reasons we don’t ‘do’ awards is that they are frankly utter garbage.  Recently I saw a firm touting itself as an award winning firm for their use of social media...they have less than 1,000 followers across all platforms, which is frankly pathetic: we don’t claim to be leaders in social media, but have 16,000+ (but no awards!).

Who Pays?

At the end of the day, we are fully aware that ALL of our costs are borne by our clients, as they are for every profitable business. We respect you don't want to waste money and we regard it as good housekeeping to keep our costs to a minumum...one reason why we don't, for example, do exhibitions (unless free!) or use SEO. We keep our costs down by not wasting your money.


Why are we like this?
Is it because we’re fossils or super-idealists? well, clearly a lot of this is shaped by one’s approach to life generally, but you know what... IT WORKS.


It is profitable in the long run...And it makes work satisfying. It means you can become friends with your suppliers and customers, not just see them as an income stream/cost of business. It gives us a sense of pleasure when we see nice people doing well and that, to us, really matters.


We strive constantly to improve and be the best we can be...we also want to be the easiest people you’ll ever do business with.



 
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Exeter
Devon
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