Exhibiting Prudence May Save Your Business
Yesterday, the topic of prudence could not leave my mind. You see, my wife called me at work because she just had to pass on the shocking gossip she had just heard about a local asian cuisine restaurant. She was told, by a friend of hers, that this friend had another friend, who is the wife of a pest exterminator (I am not making this up), that a favorite local asian cuisine restaurant has such a cockroach infestation problem, that the cockroaches were infesting the employee’s purses and other items, and those employees in turn, were having trouble preventing the cockroaches from hitching a ride home and infesting their homes.
Apparently, this pest exterminator thinks he can confide in his wife to talk about the problems of his customers. As horrified as I was with this fourth-hand information about a local restaurant I like to frequent, I expressed some dismay that the exterminator would be so stupid as to report this to others — that this exterminator is basically sealing the death-warrant of his own clients.
My wife responded, “he was just telling his wife,” as though it made perfect sense.
There are so many problems with this little story, it’s almost difficult to know where to begin.
First, the restaurant apparently doesn’t have the wherewithal to hire a professional pest exterminator, nor does it have the foresight to require (and insist on) confidentiality. One can only assume the restaurant hired the cheapest exterminator in town, and to save a few bucks, the restaurant has sealed its fate by the actions of an unprofessional exterminator. Yet, something like cockroaches are an anathema to a restaurant — if they aren’t dealt with quickly and professionally — they can literally destroy the reputation and appeal of a restaurant.
Second, the exterminator clearly doesn’t have the wherewithal to figure out that by violating the confidence of his clients, he’s undermining their ability to remain in business and he therefore undermines his ability to maintain long-term clients. One can only assume this exterminator must offer very low prices to gain new clients, as he struggles to keep his clients.
Third, this “rumor” is really unfair to the restaurant. In the several dozen times I’ve been there, I’ve always felt it was clean and well attended. I’ve never seen a cockroach. Despite my good experiences this restaurant, this rumor will have a profound impact to its bottom line, as the gossip wheel keeps on spinning.
Fourth, this notion that “pillow talk” between spouses remains in the bedroom is nonsense. Spouses will tell their best friends, and their best friends, in turn, yearn to pass on a good story to their best friends, and so on, and so on and so on.
This brings me to Prudence:
- the quality or fact of being prudent, or wise in practical affairs, as by providing for the future.
- caution with regard to practical matters; discretion.
- regard for one’s own interests.
As a business leader or owner, are you simply looking for the cheapest vendor or struggling to pay the bills and meet clients demands? Or, are you exhibiting Prudence? Are you paying attention to those around you? Your employees, contractors, vendors, suppliers, partners and customers?
Are there issues or problems so abhorrent to your business, that if not handled very carefully can spell the doom of your business?
Restaurants abhor pest infestations. Publishers abhor plagiarizers. Manufacturers abhor inferior supplies. Jewelers abhor impurities. Hotels abhor bed bugs. E-commerce companies abhor security breaches.
Certain problems can literally kill a business, if not addressed very quickly and very discretely. Successful businesses rely on a strong brand name and reputation, and some problems manifesting within days can kill a reputation that took years to build.
All businesses, at times, run into issues that need remediation and if made public, could severely damage or tarnish the brand of the business. What abhorrence exists within your business? Being prudent helps to ensure any abhorrence to your business doesn’t surface, and if it does, how you manage the problem will have a profound impact on whether your business survives.
When such problems do surface, do you hire the cheapest vendor or do you hire professional-quality?
Consider creating early detection mechanisms, rely on high-quality professionals to help or remediate, and make sure they are under contract to keep their efforts confidential. If you own or run a business that serves other businesses, be prudent by being discrete. Train, compensate and hold your employees accountable to do the same.
No one likes to eat at a restaurant infested with cockroaches, but neither does anyone like to see a restaurant go out of business, because its name and brand are permanently and irrevocably damaged over a rumor that is almost impossible to fix, even if the initial problem is resolved.
Speaking to a business attorney can help you establish the prudence you need for you business to survive! Call us today at 505-715-5700, or vist our website to learn about your legal needs.