I started my working life in a small country town, repairing the electrical systems on cars, trucks, trains, boats, buses, motorbikes, tractors and almost anything else that moved …

It was a very LONG time ago!  And when I say very long … I mean BEFORE mobile phones, let alone the internet!

And yet, one of the most important lessons of my business life was learnt in that workshop, in that small country town, where every customer you serve, either plays on the same sporting team as you, went to school with you, knows your parents, hangs out with your siblings or is a close personal friend of the boss.

The lesson was simple.  In business, there really is no place to hide.  When you sell to and serve a customer, you’re taking their money in exchange for value and you had better deliver.  If you mess up, it’s not just inconvenient, it’s personal.

In bigger markets, you may not know your customers personally, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with manipulative selling or average service.  They will still be frustrated by any mistakes and the inconvenience it causes … they just may not tell you about it.  And not knowing is way worse than the discomfort of receiving negative feedback.

Your customers judge you on your character and commitment to them and their needs … are you a good person? Then they judge you on the results you produce for them … did you make a difference to them and do you protect them from risk?  It has little to do with your product – it has everything to do with what they get as a result of who you are and what you do.

If they judge you on your character and the results you produce … there really is no place to hide.  You would be safer to treat every customer as if they were your closest friends.

Treat them with integrity and respect and make selling and serving the most noble thing you do.

I’d love to know what one of your best business lessons has been, taken from the story of your life.