In the 50`s and 60`s my grandfather (Edward) was a greengrocer. He owned a chain of shops and built a business based on his reputation of being commercially minded and having honest values. A situation arose in which Edward was aware stock (cigarettes), was going missing. He marked his stock of cigarettes with a unique code and asked regular suppliers and customers (who smoked), if he could borrow a cigarette. It wasn’t long before the perpetrator was identified. Upon being challenged the individual admitted the “wrong” and explained that he had financial problems.
On reflection Edward chose not to involve the police. He was in a dilemma as he recognised that he was “out of pocket”, but asking the individual to pay for the taken items was futile as a) nobody really knew how much had been taken and b) if the individual did had financial difficulties, insisting on a large payment would be counter intuitive.
Edward decided to ask the perpetrator to pay what he could, whenever he visited the shop to clear the debt. On balance, the debt was probably paid of several times over, but the fundamental gain was that the two people became close friends.
Last week I met a business associate and we were discussing the challenges that our respective businesses face. We spoke at length about online strategy, marketing approaches and business delivery in general. This is where I was reminded of the story of my Grandfather. Essentially the business was a conduit between him and his customers. He was the person that people came to visit and as a by-product they bought produce from him. This is surely the basic building block of any successful business.
“people do not buy goods and services. The buy relationships, stories and magic”. Seth Godin
When I launched Able Bridge Recruitment, I was fearful that people would see the business as an insignificant entity within an already crowded market. To my surprise I have found the reverse; People who I interact with embrace my passion and determination to achieve the highest standards. They recognise that Able Bridge Recruitment is a business based on me, my passion and my desire to get things right, first time.
Maybe in the 21st century people are blinded with the number of products and services on offer. Maybe our procurement choices are driven by cost and efficiency. Or hopefully people see the benefit in dealing with individuals rather than brands. Either way I want to be working with people who want to work with me, and who have the same sentiments; Be good to those on your way up, as you will certainly need them on your way down!