Imagine that you are an owner of a small content writing business. You have an order from a new customer who says that he will give you plenty of work if the first project exceeds his expectations. You go out of your way to make it brilliant. You are so anxious pushing the “send” button! Within hours, you learn that the “prospective” customer was actually one of your biggest rivals. He claims that you did not follow the guidelines. Some passages from your paper are misinterpreted and used for anti-advertising. The message quickly goes viral. You think that even the most radical countermeasures won’t work.
If you know the feeling, then you have been a victim of dirty business tactics. Dirty business tactics can be defined as the use of dishonest, deceptive, or manipulative strategies to win a strategic competitive advantage in the market. They are “dirty” not because they are illegal. Rather, they are unethical. Companies can be particularly creative designing “dirty” strategies to beat their rivals.
Dirty business tactics can take a myriad of forms. Some of them are a routine practice; some others are unusual and even sensational. It can be as simple as this – a company asking content writers to produce a series of sketches that describe another company in a negative light. It can be even simpler – spreading rumors of competitors’ low credibility and reliability because they lack certain (quite often, unnecessary) credentials. Many consumers will believe the news, at least because they have no time to dig deeper and evaluate the truthfulness of the message.
How many samples should you write for free to get a customer to place an order? Some customers are looking for “easy opportunities” to get the job done without paying anything for it.
They aren’t very creative, but they definitely interfere with your business. You can’t sue them for that, but you need to watch out, because once they make a mistake or fail a customer, they may also damage your reputation.
You will certainly want to read what customers write about you. Don’t be surprised if you see dozens of negative posts about your business from people who, obviously, never used your services. However, who cares? The public will “swallow” the message. You will have to be very creative trying to improve your reputation.
Dirty business tactics are acceptable in a world that treats money as the primary measure of success. Entrepreneurs may go great lengths just to preserve their position in the market. Paying employees a little bit above the minimum wage? Why not? Asking employees to take more responsibility without providing additional benefits or compensation? Not a problem. Sending letters to households with a false claim that they are in danger and desperately need sanitation services? Hundreds of people have gone through this. Dirty business tactics will vary, depending on circumstances. The question is why it is so important to avoid them.
The world is not as naïve as many business owners may think. Businesses that resort to dirty business tactics are in a weaker position than they can imagine. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light. Once the news of dirty tactics go public, even the most successful business will face hard times trying to restore its reputation.
Thus, the main reason why dirty tactics should be avoided by all means – they are extremely damaging to businesses, particularly from a long-term perspective. Businesses that resort to dirty business tactics typically display the symptoms of strategic short-sightedness. Their owners and managers cannot envision the strategic consequences of their misbalanced decisions and actions. They cannot weigh the pros and cons of being “dirty” in a world of transparency, communication, and information exchange. Today, only businesses that can act fairly and honestly have a good chance to survive the competition. Consumers value it above everything. They may even want to pay a higher price for the products and services offered by a company if they see how it fulfills its ethical and financial obligations.
Another question is how to avoid dirty business tactics. Well, it is not easy, but still possible.
Setting explicit priorities and establishing strong morals are the first steps a business should follow. It means that the company or a corporation will have a strong strategic vision and a realization of the difficult path ahead. Once the strategic path is set and approved by stakeholders, the task is not to step aside. The path should be followed meticulously, measuring each step and evaluating its long-term impacts.
Delivering excellent services no matter what – it will benefit you in the long run. Don’t pay too much attention to what others say. Do your job, and customers will return to you, asking for more.
A path to success is likely to be thorny. However, this certainly is not a reason to give up. To avoid dirty business tactics, companies and entrepreneurs may need to create a strong support base. It may come from any source – loyal customers, dedicated employees, devoted family members, and so on. It is never too late to ask for advice.
Customers and workers value any opportunity to participate in strategic corporate decisions. Looking at a problematic situation from a different perspective – what can be better when a crisis is unavoidable? After all, there are plenty of small and big ways for companies to act “cleanly”, in the best interests of their diverse and loyal stakeholders who are always there to support businesses even in the most difficult times.
Jenna Brandon is a blogger, content creator, and digital marketer at Writology Custom Writing Service. When she’s not busy writing or studying the latest marketing trends, she cooks pizza or goes hiking with her friends. Jenna is also an avid traveler, and she is secretly Italian at heart.