Here are 5 arguments business owners should avoid
We've had 32 years of a business partnership, and started more than one company together. Looking back at the many fights - er, healthy debates - we've had over three decades, one stands out from all the rest. And that's one we had with each other. Here's a short list of fights we wish we never had.
Don't fight with Santa.
You read that right. Early in our days running Aigner/Prensky Marketing Group, we hired a Santa for a holiday event for a large hotel client. It quickly became apparent that Santa had enjoyed a lot of eggnog - the good kind-before suiting up for work that day. We fired him. He sued us! We can't lose, we thought, so we made a key mistake: We went to court when it could have been avoided. When we arrived, Santa was already seated at the table, sober, and, for good measure, reading from the Bible. He won, and was paid for his time after all. The lesson? Cut ties, pay fees or salaries even if you are disappointed, and move on. Take it from us. We were beat by a guy who doesn't even really exist-depending on who you ask.
Don't fight with the client. (And don't talk about them in elevators)
We feel our greatest value to clients is our counsel. But let's face it, the last thing a client wants is a full-on battle. If they say "Let's just get it done and not worry about it", then you need to do just that. Let it go. And do not discuss what just happened in the elevator as you leave. Wait until you're in the car to speak. Period. (This lesson is so important it shouldn't be in parentheses. But we don't want to waste time fighting about it.)
Don't fight in front of the client.
You know that moment when someone on your team says something you know is a bad idea? What to do in that situation? Say this: "Why don't we come back to you with a written recommendation tomorrow after we've digested everything and discussed it with the entire team?" Then you can duke it out and come to agreement on the best approach. Fighting in front of a client is amateur hour. Just don't do it.
Don't fight City Hall.
Literally. Our company Food Truck Festivals of America deals with municipalities around the country. Some are enthusiastic, progressive and eager to work with us. They want to be a partner and help us with licensing, event production and traffic management. Others, not so much. We used to spend our time debating the merits of our business with various city officials, some of whom never liked the idea of an outdoor food festival to start with. We've learned that it's futile. And why bother? If the locals really don't want you around, look for new territory.
And now for the big fight, the epic battle, the one our spouse and hairdresser heard about for days, weeks - or years. The one that almost split you up. Here's ours:
Don't fight for long.
We'd worked together for 10 years when one of us got an offer that was difficult to refuse - become the first female sports radio talk show host in Boston. One of us encouraged the other. "Take it" she said, trying to be a good friend. "It's such a great opportunity.'' Then things unraveled. Turns out the supportive friend was angry from the outset, and not able to say so at the time. Would it have changed things? I don't know, but I do know we didn't speak for an entire year. The radio gig didn't work out after all. And we got very lucky because our business has flourished ever since. If you're in a true business partnership, you know this is just the sort of thing that can wind up killing your spirit - and your business. A year is too long to stay angry. Tell your business partner straight out what's bothering you, even if they can't or don't take steps to change it.
This post is sponsored by Carbonite. Content written and provided by Aigner/Prensky Marketing Group.
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