With the downturn of the 21st century everything seems to be on the increase, Nigeria not being left out. From the price of goods and service to the hike in fuel and electricity tariffs, the level of awareness of the social media is higher now than it was in the last decade thereby breeding negative social vices like cyber crime, cyber bulling, cyber stalking, in fact the list is almost endless.
It is good to know that virtually every profession, society and undertaking of human endeavor have rules by which they are bound as well as acceptable code of conducts peculiar to them. Why then is so much moral decadence in the society today? Is it that we have forgotten the rules we are bound by? Have we gotten so used to the ills of the society that we can no longer differentiate our right from our left? Does dishonesty pay more than honesty?
The entrepreneurs of this age are definitely not left out of the trend. The need to call to order the moral and social insanity of the business community is paramount to build a more viable society.
Customers and not the business owners are the kings of a business venture. This is because businesses are created to make profit which is not possible without customers. The reason for the statement, “customer is always right.” A satisfied customer means a lot as well as guarantees the success of a business. A satisfied customer’s word of mouth advert, reference and brand loyalty could be the big break out to lime light that a business would need.
Likewise, a customer’s perceived notion of being cheated or unduly ripped off could spell doom for the survival and sustainability of a business hence, the need to deal with all justly and ethically. It is better and easier to build a business venture with its ethics in place and grow your brand with that in mind than it is to restructure a failed brand on the premise of unethical standards. First impression, they say, lasts longer. It is therefore advisable to develop and grow your business by answering the following questions;
1. Would you be proud to introduce your brand to every person you meet on the street?
This means that you must be proud to be associated with your brand come rain, come shine. Another question to ask along that line is: would your family and friends be happy and proud of all you do if they knew the details of your business. If you were offered your own product in the market, would you buy it?
2. If you were to be an employee in your own company, how would you love to be treated?
This means that bonuses, day offs, pay for extra hour, sanction, adequate working condition, respect for fundamental human right must all be in place. Like begat like, who you are is who you would attract. That is why it is necessary to have these ethical standards in place when kick starting the business. With rules on ground and actions constantly in check it would be difficult for a staff to misbehave. As a matter of fact, employees must be bound by the rules of an enterprise. There is no sin a lawless state. The same applies to a business venture.
3. As a customer, would you stay loyal to your own brand?
Would you stay loyal to your brand in question? Would referrals be made should you know all that is involved in the production of your goods and delivery of services? These point to the fact that customers should not be lured to make purchases based on pretense like showing what the product cannot do. Also hidden charges should be avoided. The use of expired raw materials in production is harmful to human health and should not be seen as an option just because it is cheaper to purchase thereby increasing your turnover in the short run.
For instance, after the use of bromate as an ingredient for bread was banned in Nigeria, some bakeries still continued the usage because in the short run, it made the bread swell and look bigger. The bigger size of the bread made it easier to be bought at a higher price by customers who were unaware of the ingredients. Bakeries that were nabbed were closed down and forced out of business. This is not a good image for brands that aim to transcend generations.
Businesses and entrepreneurs should learn to stand by their words and not bite more than they can chew. True, building a brand might not be easy at first but with perseverance, hard work and integrity the results would be well worth it.
The top companies of the world began with concrete ethical footings. Some of the big multinational brands in Nigeria like Coca-Cola, MTN and First Bank Plc have succeeded because of great foresight and laid down principles backed with integrity, commitment, devotion and great customer service in mind.
What do you want your brand to be known for? Start building now!