It’s often difficult to express my ideas on business practicies, but this article from January 2006 about The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart really captures some of the ideas I firmly believe in and support.
It’s relatively easy for a business to canibalize itself or its brand for a quick buck, but it’s more difficult, and in my opinion, much more sustainable and rewarding to hold on to your values and stay true to what really makes a business successful. Indeed, in the article, Jim Weir was in a situation where Wal-Mart was generating $10 million per year for Snapper, but thought that it would be a bad idea for Snapper to continue the relationship.
Jim Wier believed that Snapper’s health—indeed, its very long-term survival—required that it not do business with Wal-Mart.
That, in my ever so humble opinion, is the difference. A big picture, and long-term view of a business will always be different than the “we can add millions to our bottom line next quarter” view. One is short-sighted and looking for a quick buck, the other is sustainable an takes a serious commitment to quality.
Now, I’m not saying it’s the only way to run a business, but one of the ways is about the immediate future, usually at the expense of the distant future, and the other is about the long-term viability of a decision. It’s about understanding the impact of that decision, and taking it seriously when staring down a pile of money. Could you say no?