Be Prudent not Paranoid
Soon after starting my business in computer products distribution, I got burned by a couple of retailers passing bad checks. Whether they were dishonest or just bad managers, the result was the same: Whack, NSF!
I was still an inexperienced young entrepreneur, so it was easy to over-react and go beyond caution and become suspicious and distrustful of every customer. Not a good idea. I started to notice that the sales reps and customer service staff were following my lead too well. Aggressively pushing for cash-on-delivery or making unreasonable demands before accepting sales on credit.
Now we had a new problem. Customers were getting turned off and going elsewhere to competitors who were easier to do business with.
We adjusted our attitudes and went back to dealing in good faith and treating customers and other business partners with more respect. That means trusting them implicitly and expecting the best of intentions. Then if things ultimately go badly, we can still be friends and work it out.
It does not mean blind faith or being naďve. Prudent business practices are necessary and that includes clear terms and conditions on every sales order and purchase contract.
Be aware of the risks of doing business and then manage them.
Unfortunately, they cannot be avoided. Unless you lock the doors and don’t answer the phone.
Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson
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