I’m still trying to get my head around the events of yesterday. To say I’m shocked would, in some ways, be an understatement – but on the other hand, I’ve seen many tactics used in business which you wouldn’t find in a textbook.
Briefly, I’m currently engaged in an onsite consultancy with a catering company. We run a number of services to local businesses including sandwich deliveries. The effects of the recession make business tough and competition between delivery companies has increased. One of my recent tasks has been to look at ways to increase sales – which we have successfully started to do – by good old fashioned, honest methods such as looking at the range of stock, providing the right products, maintaining quality, marketing to gain new calls etc.
Yesterday competition took on a whole new meaning. One of our sandwich round vans had a tyre slashed while out on a call. Whilst we have no proof, circumstances lead us to believe this was likely to have been malicious.
Competition between businesses is healthy – it’s the basis of the free market economy. Competition stops businesses, at whatever level, from getting complaisant, and challenges us to constantly improve, refine and extend our services. Competition can also feel threatening – someone new moves into your ‘space’ and it’s quite natural to feel anxious – after all, the success or failure of your business is absolutely key to your personal security and competition leading to a reduction in income can threaten livelihoods. I’m sure many can recall instances where other businesses have used slightly ‘shady’ techniques to compete, and yesterday’s events were clearly absolutely unethical, and quite frankly, shocking.
But ultimately, will those underhand tactics win? They might immediately appear to – for example, our van missed a number of calls yesterday and if the incident was related to a competitor business, they probably managed to make some capital out of that. But, in the long term, quality, service, and integrity I hope will win out. I believe the concept of Karma does work in business – treat people well, market with integrity and deliver service honestly, and in the end good things come back. I hope.
So I didn’t blog yesterday. I missed a day in my challenge, and now I hope you can understand why. How I feel about ‘failing’ in that challenge will be the topic of a future post, but in the meantime, let’s remember that sometimes we have to be patient with karma.