Slimy business practices

- November 30, 2005 2 MIN READ

Many of us engage in certain business practices because, well, that’s what businesses do, even when these business practices leave us feeling creepy and oily.

As solopreneurs, with full control over our destinies, can we steer around these unpleasant business practices? Here are our list of the most notorious business practices:

Cold calling

Who really enjoys cold calling? Who plays the “latte reward every 10th call” game?

The business practice of cold calling assumes you are selling a commodity, “me-too” product, with easily comparable features, delivered in simplistic packages. But what if you are offering an individualised, high-touch service?

Hitting loads of people hoping for small bites is dangerous. Sure, call enough people and someone will buy. But can a reputation-based soloist survive the risk of annoying the majority of people he or she comes into contact with?

Most businesses are not clear on the true stand-out value of their products. Instead of tailoring an exposure method that is synergistic with the product, they waste resources doing what everyone else is doing!

We won’t cold call because we cannot possibly know the value we can add to a person’s life before we have had sufficient time to get to know them! But we do contact people uninvited when we are certain of adding authentic value to someone’s life, such as offering a genuine compliment, and in response to open invitations (e.g. “send us your comments”).

Want more articles like this? Check out the processes section.

Charging a finders fee

Have you ever had a “friend” refer work to you, only to turn around and ask for a finder’s fee? Have you been told to ask for a finder’s fee whenever you refer work on?

A finder’s fee is just another way for those who cannot add real value to get some cash quick. Is it right to make money just from knowing the right people? Do you evaluate everyone you meet for their on-sell worth?

If you can’t do the work, and you know someone who can, why can’t you just pass it on in the true spirit of giving?! There is so much goodwill to be gained from such acts of open generosity.

Mean-spirited charging

Have you ever worked with a business that charges for every phone call, print-out and photocopy? Hands up those who do NOT think this screams “tight-wad”!

This model may be great for commodity services where value can be easily meted out in replicable chunks but if you offer consultation-based services, just think how this business practice will colour the relationship and rapport building with your client!

Of course we expect to be remunerated for delivering great value to our clients. There are just other, “nicer”, ways of charging. Work with the emotive human within!

Think about what “accepted” business practices you are doing right now. Do they make you feel good? Do they enrich you? Are they really what you are about as a person?

There will be more “experienced” businesspersons out there who will read this and call us naïve and silly. To them we say … this is 100% OUR business.

Article authored in conjunction with Zern Liew.