So, you have successfully navigated the rapids of starting up a business from scratch, and now that business is, finally, starting to go somewhere. The challenge now, however, is to cultivate that growth and ensure that it continues.
Public Opinion & Its Effects
There is another challenge, however, that comes as a side effect of that success: with publicity comes public scrutiny, where everything your business does is subject to the judgment of potential customers. It is remarkable how quickly the success of your business can be akin to a carpet being ripped out from underneath you when public opinion begins to turn. To maintain public relations, your business needs to be and be seen as one who conducts itself responsibly and actively works to contribute to and cultivate the economic environment upon which it depends to grow and develop, rather than merely exploiting it for short-term gains.
Understandably, businesses that care only for profit do not sit well with the public. Affordable, non-profit enterprises are a great way to cultivate a more healthy relationship between your business and the general public and to demonstrate the ethical values upon which your business is based. An example of this is a common feature in the pharmaceutical industry, where drug candidates that show good efficacy (effectiveness) and relatively low adverse side effects, but due to manufacturing or research costs are not particularly cost-effective. Often, in such a case, a pharmaceutical corporation will develop the drug regardless, using the project as an opportunity for a philanthropic gesture rather than as a profitable enterprise. The advantage of this is twofold: 1) it brings lifesaving medicines to the people who need them when they need them, and 2) it markets the corporation as one that is capable of developing effective medicines and saving lives, rather than one which is only capable of exploiting suffering for financial gain, which would otherwise be disastrous in terms of public relations and, ultimately, bad for business. Like any form of good marketing, however, knowledge of how to communicate one’s efforts business to customer (B2C) and properly coordinate one’s charitable efforts is essential; this is where a nonprofit resource center can be of use to any business looking to get into philanthropic projects.
Relationship with Staff & Consumers
Anyone who has ever worked directly with the public knows how difficult that can be, and yet, those who look at the numbers know that good customer service is a make-or-break matter when it comes to the success of a business. Ultimately, however, good customer service will naturally occur in staff that have confidence in their abilities due to consistent staff training and development via human resources (HR), as well as confidence in their organization and a belief that that organization has their best interests at heart. Far from being mutually exclusive, the interests of one’s staff and the interests of the consumer are aligned in that both exist within the context of mutual benefit in the form of payment in exchange for quality goods and services, and an understanding of this by management is often the difference between businesses which genuinely act responsibly, and those who merely say that they do.