Greed – The Business Enemy

Do you know, in life (not just in business), people we’ve met will always have something to teach us. If you notice it, there will always be someone (either you knew the person or a stranger) came across your path and shared something useful to your life. It happened to me and it happened to everyone around me. And today I would love to share a story about a middle-age man who have shared his priceless advise about business.

I don’t know this man and I never meet him before. I’ve got to know his name through my ex-boss. One day, we agreed to meet this man to discuss about business. He reached exactly on same time as ours. He wore a plain T-shirt and he carried a Management Diary with him. With his glasses and wrinkles on his face, he looked like a man who has countless experiences in life.

After I introduced myself, I’ve got to know that this man is a best friend to my ex-boss. Birds of a feather flock together, so I told myself. After few moments and during our business conversation, he asked if I love doing business. My respond was simple. I love to experience it. Then he looked at me with a pair of honest eyes and he said:

“Always remember this, in business never get greedy. Once you have the greed, you ruin your business. Take only what is yours”

He smiled and I nodded.

The Lesson

Everyone knows that one of the reason people get into business is to make more money. What people don’t really know is how much more is more?  Is more means greed? When he gave me his piece of advice about greed, it made me think that no one can define ‘more’ in exact numbers.

If that is the case, how do we know if we got greed? After gave myself some thoughts, these was what I have in my mind.

1) When you are charging your customer more than you should. To charge your customer more is not greed yet but the next words will ensure you are being greedy. It is when your extra charges are squeezing your customer to bleed.

2) It is when you live on the profit like a king but your employees suffer like a poor man. It is when you benefit 100% of your profit but your staffs are getting nothing. No bonuses. No allowance.

3)  It is when you feel what you have earned has nothing to do with anything in this world. Therefore you refuse to give back to the society.

4) When you choose to destroy your competitors politically rather than promote healthy competitions so you could have more.

In business, greed is an enemy. It takes many ways to ruin your business. It kills healthy competition. It kills relationship between you and your customers. It certainly kills your relationship with your staffs. It makes your competitors lose respect on you. It may not kill your business overnight but it will in a long run.

Before I left, I gave him many thanks for the advise he gave me.  It was a simple advise. Everyone would have known it. Nothing might sound special about it. But when it comes to you in unexpected moment, you got to take it into your brain because teacher like this only present in unorthodox moment…and most probably only once in your life time.

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