Tags: small | business | U.S. | greed

Bad Business Is No Business

Friday, 10 Aug 2012 10:48 AM

By Fran Tarkenton

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Lots of politicians like to score political points by bashing “greedy” businesses. This company is cheating people. That company is price gouging. This company is a monopoly.

The message is business is bad. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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Shoppers walk past a display at a Uniqlo store in Manhattan as U.S. businesseses draw unfair criticism from politicians.
(Getty Images)
The way to succeed in business is not by cheating customers. The way to succeed is by serving customers and solving their problems — finding their points of pain and then developing a way to help.

If a business is not helping people, then how will that business get customers? And even if it gets customers, how will it get people to come back or recommend the business if it’s cheating them and ripping them off? And if a business doesn’t have customers, how can it be successful?

It takes a lot of hard work to get to the top. We should celebrate those who take an idea and can turn it into a successful business. And sustaining a successful business is just as difficult — and praiseworthy. When any business loses sight of its primary purpose — helping people — it will soon find itself buried.

A dishonest business built on deceiving customers will eventually be unmasked, and it will fall apart. A greedy business that gouges its customers will face competition and won’t be able to keep up without fair pricing. A business that stops worrying about its product or service will be surpassed by a better version.

When we allow free markets to work, businesses succeed or fail on their own merits, not on their name and legacy. You can only succeed and sustain that success by helping people. A century of history and success couldn’t save Kodak, which never adapted to the digital age and social media. If you stop serving people, the free market will not prop you up.

Despite being one of the most widely known Internet brands, Yahoo has struggled in recent years because it has not focused on the product. It has not been focusing on making sure that it is serving people.

New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer understands that: according to The Wall Street Journal, she “has made one thing clear to employees at the outset of her bid to revive the Internet company: Product comes first.”

It’s time to stop bashing business leaders and business owners for their success. They didn’t become successful by cheating people. They didn’t become successful by walking all over others and stealing what they didn’t deserve.

They became successful because they created products and services that improve people’s lives. They became successful because customers decided those products and services were of real value — more valuable than the dollars it cost to purchase them.

The American private sector is a beautiful thing — when we leave it alone and let it function. When businesses are undeservedly successful, it’s not because the market doesn’t work; it’s because government intervenes and distorts, picking winners and losers according to whim, not merit.

We ought to be celebrating and encouraging business in this country. Business isn’t bad. If a business is bad, it will soon be out of business.

Encouraging entrepreneurism and valuing business success is the only way to get the economy to grow and make life better for all of us.

Fran Tarkenton is the Founder and CEO of OneMoreCustomer.com, a web resource for Small Business Advocacy and Education. After his Hall of Fame football career, Fran had a successful career in television and then turned to business. He has founded and built more than 20 successful companies and now spends his time coaching aspiring entrepreneurs. Read more reports from Fran Tarkenton — Click Here Now.

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