My good friend Larkie recently asked me “how come you never blogged about business”? I thought about it a for a little while, then I admitted to him that I really did not have any authority to talk about something that I knew nothing about.
He was incredulous , ” how come you write about crime and politics”? I explained that I felt I had a contribution to make having spent a decade in law enforcement, and having been impacted directly by politics all my life, I felt, as does other citizens, I too had a point of view. I explained that I had no significant successes to point to that would cause anyone to take anything I said about business seriously. He looked at me quizzically as he stood there in my little mom and pop business, then he looked around and said if this isn’t success what is, do you have to make millions?
The truth is I have no idea whether it takes millions or billions in the bank for one to see him/herself as a success, what I do know is that nothing defeats success more than the feeling that you are successful. Does it require millions in the bank, or does it require one to survive for over a decade in a small American city competing with the big boys next door?
I know it is important to operate on the premise that the customer is always right, I understand it is important to care about people and what they want, I understand it is important to make customers feel that they just received a deal when they make a purchase or received service from you. This can be accomplished with a balanced mix of integrity, and an understanding of how to make numbers work for you. Successful business leaders know how important it is to stay on the cutting edge of their industry , always making sure to have a leg up on the competition, always looking for the next big thing. The foundational principles of business whether large or small are the same, one must understand the terrain and shape product and services to suit the customer.
Federal Reserve Building
The latest job numbers here in the US pointed to the fact that the lion’s share of the jobs being created are being created by small businesses, those are businesses that employ between one and fifty employees, the large corporations and companies do not trust this country and the people who made them filthy rich to reinvest in them, they are sitting on a reported 2 trillion dollars in liquid cash , waiting and watching for legislation by republicans that will give them even more tax breaks than Bush gave them, and remove safeguards that protects the environment.
Small Businesses have always been the backbone of America, a country that managed to figure out how to collect taxes , untill she got greedy and created a tax code even the writers do not understand. It follows therefore that if it is the small stores and manufacturing plants that lines every street of every hamlet, street ,town, city, and state that are sustaining our economy, then that is where the investment dollars should go, and not to the large fat cat corporations and banks that hold us in contempt.
And while we are on the subject of fat cat Banks, Bank of America recently decided to scrap plans to impose a $5 monthly fee to its customers who use their debit cards for every-day business transactions, this would have netted Bank of America Billions of dollars annually. The decision was forced by a grass-roots campaign and tens of thousands of Bank of America’s customers who vowed to take their money elsewhere. Bank of America’s executives had arrogantly stated that their customers who expressed their determination to pull their accounts , quote “had choices”. And choices they did indeed have , someone must have told the fat cats that was not a very wise position to take as they capitulated to account holders who said no!
That is the America I love, the America where people realize they are the ones who have the power, the power of their pocket-books, the power to organize and make their voices heard and their impact felt. There is however another side to this drama , many fear Bank of America will simply withdraw this time, but find a way to impose the fee another way when it’s customers are not looking. This means that account holders will have to stay vigilant and make sure they do not sneak additional fees in through the back door.
Still on the subject of big banks, a few days ago I saw $15 charge on my business checking statement, so I called my friendly TD Bank North and asked to speak to my friend who works there. Well the Manager answered the phone he indicated that my friend Pam was on another call , he graciously volunteered to take care of me so I told Tony the reason for my call. I asked him to explain what the very simple but disconcerting [charge] on my statement meant . Tony commenced by soothing me ,” Mike you always kept a respectable balance, but for one day last month you fell below $500 and that is where the charge comes in”. I was floored, I had used that bank and seen it gone through three different name changes, and the only time my balance went below $500 in ten years they socked me with a $15 fee. I realized then that we the customers meant nothing but a number on a balance sheet . I thanked Tony and hung up.
Bank of America’s customers can take heart, it could have been worse, they could have had TD Bank North as their bank.
No fault of Pam and Tony and all the other fine people who works at my local branch,but that is absolutely not the best way to do business,that much I know .
have your say.