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By Bob Finnie of Carbonic Systems

The Golden Rule.  Treat your customers like you would like to be treated. 
Go out of your way to please them.  Treat them better than your friends and family.
After all, they are paying your bills.  At Carbonic Systems, we have a saying: “The customer is right, even when he’s wrong; as long as he pays us on time.”  Undersell and over please. You retain all of the good accounts, and your competitors are stuck with the losers.  The best part? Do this and price is not an issue.  As long as you don’t take advantage of the situation.

Determine the margin you need to be profitable, and maintain that average margin. Just because you are able to sell a ton of something doesn’t mean you should. I hear from employees and owners of companies bragging about their sales, when profits are down. Sometimes, this situation can’t be helped. Increased sales are what you want to see. But, soon or later you must show a profit, or you won’t be around for long.  Spend most of your time increasing the sales of high gross profit margin items.  Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.

Remember, everything is negotiable. During this last Great Recession, Carbonic Systems found itself making some concessions in order to keep its better customers from leaving, due to the desperation of it’s competitors. When times are bad, you have to work harder than anyone else. When times are good, you have to be able to keep up.

Don’t forget to praise your employees. They really don’t want more money.  They want to be involved and know that you appreciate their efforts, even when they mess up. Communicate. Have a company picnic. It won’t kill you. Every year at Carbonic Systems, we rent a suite at the Whitecaps baseball park. One year we forgot to reserve a suite and had to cancel our annual outing.  I could not believe how unhappy our employees were about that. (They let me know!)  Remember:  your employees are your greatest asset.  They are the reason for your success or failure.

You must spend money to make money. 
 If you are not willing to invest a portion of your profits back into the business, sell now. Successful companies analyze ratios and trends, and invest every year in assets that will produce income. Trucks, equipment, computers, etc that make you more efficient, and help you to maintain your image as a leader in your industry.  No one wants to buy from someone who has trucks that look like rust buckets.

Make it easy for your customers to do business with you. Technology and automation is great.  But, nothing says customer service like a real person answering the phone.  A person who can take a message or solve a problem on the spot!  Priceless!

Have Fun!  Otherwise, nothing else really matters.