Should you run your business with Heart or your Head?
Recently I saw a Social Media post. The author had a client who had paid the deposit for the work, but had then ghosted them. Long story short, it turns out that the client was terminally ill. Which in any scenario, is bloody awful. But it made me think, do I run my business with heart, or my head?
The author wanted to know, what we would do in that situation?
The day I chose to have a business with heart
It made me think back to the day I had been face with my “What the hell should I do?” decision. It wasn’t nearly as serious, no life and death situations, just a decision to make about keeping a customer happy, or have him walk away, unhappy.
The background is that I ran a business with my husband for over 15 years. We refurbished the alloy wheels on cars. This happened back when we were in our first, small unit, so probably about 2005/2006.
The customer in question had a Cream & Chocolate coloured camper van. We went through all the colours we stocked but none was quite right. We could colour match for an extra £40 and that was what I advised him, but he chose white. On the Friday afternoon he collected and he was so happy. When he had gone, I left jerry to close up and I went to the supermarket with a very small Child1!
While shopping, I got a call from the customer saying he wasn’t happy and, in the light, it wasn’t what he wanted. He was bloody rude, and bloody cross. I told him we would get back to him. I was devastated.
Why did it go wrong?
I knew what had really happened. His wife was an interior designer. She would never go for white wheels on a cream vehicle, and she’ll have told him when he got home it was wrong. But he was already threatening us with bad mouthing us everywhere.
You cannot imagine how devastated my hubby was. It felt like a personal attack. The customers anger was all directed at him.
So, we sat and talked. How were we going to handle this? It genuinely hurt that this man was willing to do this to us and our small business. But were we running the business with heart, or our heads.
We chose to use our hearts to make this decision. We offered to redo the job, at just the cost of the paint (the extra £40 he should have just paid in the first place).
We put it all in writing and sent it to him. He accepted and the next week we redid his wheels, in the colour that I had suggested at the start.
And what about now.
The thing is, it didn’t really cost us £40, and that’s what I didn’t really understand at that time.
We still had to redo all the prep work. It took up a space in the unit someone else’s car could have had, and now looking back, that cost my business about £400, maybe even more. So, we would have had to do 5 or 6 jobs, just to get the money back.
And what about now? What would I do now?
Well, I wouldn’t let someone like that intimidate me anymore. I would have stood my ground. But I would also have put systems in place for the client to agree the colour and sign the paperwork, ensuring that it wouldn’t happen again.
I made a lot more mistakes running that, and other businesses! And I made many more heart-based decisions, that’s just who we are.
And what about refunding the client in the post that got me thinking? Well, I’d love to say that no, I would use my head and point out it is a business decision and I am under no obligation to return the deposit. But I also know it’s not that simple. Once I know someone well, my ability to make head-based decisions is impaired 🤣
So, I’d take this question to my peers, to my small business buddies, to the people that keep me accountable. Because without them, I’d have to make these decisions on my own, and that’s too hard 💜
Who the heck are we?!
We are Lesley and Nic and we are Digital Fixers! We met in the summer of 2019 and had a business plan within 24 hours! We started helping small businesses with their tech issues, but we have grown into a community where we help business grow through proven strategies. We have a Free Facebook Community, a Membership program, and our intense 6 month Sales Accelerator Growth Program.