I don’t care what kind of business you happen to be in though I’ll assume that it’s an online business since you’re reading a blog about SEO. The fact is though, that regardless of the kind of business you run, burning bridges with customers and or contacts is almost always going to be bad for business. Here’s what you need to know:
It’s All about Who You Know
The odds are good that you’ve heard the old saying, “it’s not so much what you know as who you know.” Well this is very true and is still true today. The fact is that contacts are the lifeblood of virtually any business you can think of – be they your customers, who will tell other customers about or potential suppliers who can get you things that you need for cheap.
Angry Customers Talk
I mentioned the other day that I was burned by ING Direct for having overdrafted my account by 29 cents (they closed my checking account over it). Now I’m just one blogger who happens to write for a number of fairly popular blogs and who will tell anyone who will listen why I think ING Direct sucks.
But imagine if I were a truly vindictive person and not simply trying to make a point to my readers. I could easily set up a website to talk about it, gather reports from others, use social media to spread the word and seriously damage their credibility.
For a big place like ING, they probably don’t care that much (though they should). However, if you run a smaller business, you really want to try to make sure you don’t end up with angry customers who take things too far.
You May Need Something Later
It’s also possible that you’ll need something later from someone you burned. I had a client once who ordered a lot of work from me and then disappeared when the time came to pay. He showed up about six months later and paid me for the work I did and asked me to do more. I told him I was busy (in reality, I wanted nothing to do with this crook).
This can happen to anyone who burns bridges in a business relationship and, unlike my situation, where I assume this thief found some other poor soul to rip off; you can’t easily replace the person in question.
It’s Bad Karma
Okay – I’m no Buddhist so maybe I shouldn’t be quoting this, however I do believe that the Buddhist philosophy of karma does apply. Whether it’s the universe sticking it to you for screwing someone else over or God, Allah, Jesus, Hashem or just plain dumb luck doing it, things really do come back to bite you when you burn bridges with others. So bottom line, if you want your online business to succeed, don’t be too quick to burn bridges with others. Ultimately, that will just cause more problems than it’s worth.