Nine Ways to Easily Ruin Your Business Part 3 — Seeing everything in dollars and cents

I get it, you own a business and your business is the source of your financial livelihood and like most of us, you need to make a certain amount of money to pay your bills and make a living. I truly have no issues with making money and when business owners are fixated on cutting costs and cutting services and no longer support their employees people start to see through the owners motives and will leave or think about leaving. When it becomes all about dollars and cents, customers will also see that the quality of your products and the quality of your service has gone down as a result of your cost-cutting measures. Making money matters and not at the expense of your reputation, especially for small and startup businesses who have nothing but their reputation to rely upon.

I experienced two examples of this recently, a friend of mine went into a natural foods store in our neighborhood and attempted to use a manufacturer’s coupon for a product that all grocery stores would take because they get reimbursed by the vendor for the dollar amount of the coupon. My friend went to buy the product that she had the coupon for and went to use the coupon and was told by the Store’s Manager “That only big supermarkets take coupons like these and we cannot because we cannot afford to lose money”. The coupon was for $1 off of a $4.99 product and the natural market would have been reimbursed for that dollar by the vendor if they sent the coupon back to the vendor. My friend was upset to say the least and when she told me about it, I was appalled and was left with a bad taste in my mouth even though I was not the one shopping.

A few days later, I went to the same natural food store in the neighborhood to purchase a refill of a kombucha that I love. I do this two to three times a week and the staff has always encouraged me to get a full refill even when I do not want one because a full refill and partial refill both cost me the same amount of money. On this visit, I refilled my bottle half way and then attempted to siphon some of the foam which was building up in the bottle out of the bottle so I can get a full refill. The Manager saw me siphoning off the foam and yells at me from 15 feet away to “Pay right now and then to leave his store because he cannot financially afford for me to take off the foam and get a full bottle”.

Huh, excuse me. I complied and went to pay for the kombucha, after being completely embarrassed, and the cashier who was checking me out told me to go back and fill up my bottle and I told her that your Manager just yelled at me to pay for the product and leave the store. She then told me to fill it up again and another employee told me that he would do it himself and he refilled my bottle for me.

If these two employees did not take care of me, I probably would have stopped doing business with this natural food store and also told my friend and other friends to stop doing business with them. If you treated every customer like this, you eventually would drive all of your customers away.

As a business owner you need to put your customers first and give to get. This same principle applies to your staff. A friend was telling me of a story of a company that he had worked for. The company that he worked for pushed and pushed and pushed their Managers to sell more, cut spending and reduce labor budgets and the Managers responded in full and did everything that was asked of them. This business achieved the greatest financial success that it had seen in its 6 years of operation and the tremendous financial success lasted for two years. The owners of this business profited like crazy during these two years and praised their Managers every chance that they got for their extraordinary results, skills and incredible abilities. When each of the company’s Managers asked their General Manager for the raise that they deserved, they were denied. Each and every one of the Managers who worked so hard and went above and beyond to generate record sales and profits for the business were denied even a $1,000 raise.

The company’s Managers saw the owners take lavish vacations, buy fancy cars and witnessed the owners living it up and were angered by the hypocrisy. So they, as a group, decided to do only enough work to keep their jobs and this small business suffered a $20,000 per month decrease in sales just two years later and the Owners did not know why.

When you see everything in dollars and cents, you piss off customers, you piss off your staff and your business eventually will suffer. What you give is truly what you get, or better said, what you don’t give is truly what you get. Business owners, I urge you to let go of seeing everything in dollars and cents and to begin to see your business through the lens of providing great service that keeps your customers and your employees happy.

  • Michael Forman is a leadership development expert with over a decade of experience of training all levels of employees from entry-level staff to company executives and business owners. He specializes in helping brands to create sustainable, long-term futures for themselves and also in helping companies move form being a product or a brand into being a full-fledged business with working systems and structures that lead to both short-term and long-term success for companies. Michael is also an experienced writer and content design who loves yoga, outdoor activities and vegan living.
  • LinkedIn:
  • Email: