the-5-second-rule-and-other-small-business-fallaciesSometimes we hear things stated often and loud enough that we assume they’re true without verifying the authenticity. The “5 second rule” is one of these statements. Drop food on the floor and someone will say, “5 second rule”.  And many people have believed and followed this statement as fact.  A new study indicates that this rule is a fallacy (1).   Small business owners can’t afford to make the mistake of putting faith in ideas that are really fallacies.  We would like to cover a few of these common misunderstood concepts.

  1. The customer is always right.  This is possibly the most often quoted business principle.  The customers’ opinions and feedback are valuable, and as business owners we need to listen.  Sometimes it is just the information we need to make a better decision.  But sometimes customers’ ideas are formed on a misunderstanding of your product or service.  Other times it might be an opportunity to help a client to look at internal business processes.  And still other times the customer needs might not fit the business’ direction.   In any situation the business can learn from the customer interaction.  It is a vital piece to keep the business on track.
  2. Buy low, sell high.  This is a solid investment concept, but often misused by service oriented businesses.  Vendors are needed for supplies or services, and business owners will often seek out the least expensive ones to keep expenses low and profits high.  Your reputation is built on all of its components and parts.  Any weakness is a potential threat to its foundation., But highest price doesn’t mean highest quality either.  Seek vendors that provide high quality at a great value.  We elaborate in more detail on this topic in our blog post entitled, Building a Business: Choosing Vendor Partners.
  3. Nice guys finish last.  We know firsthand that this statement is a fallacy.  The owner of Chronotek is the nicest man you will ever meet, but “nice” doesn’t equal “pushover”.  It’s possible to be nice, yet fair and demand high standards.  A great leader will clearly communicate his high expectations and then fairly hold everyone accountable. Employees who refuse to meet these expectations are solely responsible for the consequences.  The result is that everyone who works hard will enjoy the success and fruits of their labors – because the small business owner is nice. Our remote employee management and timekeeping solution is a great business practice to implement for accountability.  Beyond capturing accurate time, the system has tools that will help business owners distinguish the great employees from the bad ones.  To read more about our thoughts on this topic, please see our blog post, Building a Business: The Golden Rule.

We hope this article helps you to challenge conventional business wisdom.  Building a successful, sustainable business is definitely not conventional in today’s world. Stay tuned and stay in touch by following us on Facebook.

(1) “The ‘five-second rule’ for eating food? Scientists just demonstrated how gross it is.” Ben Guarino, The Washington Post, September 13, 2016.