The secret to success – number two Fairness


Have you ever been treated unfairly by a company? Of course you have. We’ve all had situations when we get caught by the small print in such a way that there is no legal redress.

Fairness in business is different from my first blog: The secret to success – number one Honesty. This is because it’s possible to be honest without being fair.

Tendering for business

Recently I was talking to the Managing Director of a company and he made a point of saying that they didn’t “play the tendering game”. In other words, when competing for business with other firms, they didn’t quote low and then add on “extras” after winning  the bid.

He valued transparency and good customer relations over making a fast buck and the company had an 84% rate of repeat business. The fact they had measured it so precisely showed how important it was to the company to keep their customers.

Late payment

Many companies will pay suppliers late as a way to improve their own cash flow or make interest on the money they owe. Not only is this unethical and unfair – especially to smaller suppliers – but it causes a knock-on effect, whereby the company they owe money to may be unable to pay their suppliers while they are waiting for payment. While juggling finances is part of the secret to success, treating suppliers badly is not.

It’s all in the small print

Hiding information from your customers in a ploy to make money from them is unfair – and it will lose you custom in the long term. Ask yourself, is it worth the short-term gain? Especially as in these days of high social media use, your company may be on the receiving end of a negative viral campaign that could cause a lot of damage.

Life isn’t fair

You have doubtless been told this many times, by parents, teachers, friends, family. While it may be true that life isn’t fair, would you shrug your shoulders and say this to a customer who feels you haven’t treated them fairly? If that’s the case, then I would rather take my business elsewhere.


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