Don’t Burn Bridges Too Quickly If You Want to Succeed in Business

Don't burn bridges if you want to succeed in businessI 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.

6 thoughts on “Don’t Burn Bridges Too Quickly If You Want to Succeed in Business

  1. Hi Eric,
    I also believe too many marketers burn their bridges online because they push too hard.
    This sure is one way to get into trouble with Google!
    Keep it natural guys!

    And “who you know” is also part of the traffic equation. The search engines love us to link out and back from high quality relevant websites.

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Eric, I completely agree with you and what a great post! I have heard of people in the past making full websites about a company that had upset them in the past. You might think that no-one would put the time in to do it, but it is possible and it has been done. I always take the time to look after my employees, employers and customers to ensure that everyone is happy. It makes for a much better business too!


  3. Exactly. I’ve always said that most techniques are fine as long as you use them in moderation. As soon as you try to use them to the extreme, almost all tactics will backfire on you.

  4. Hi Chij,

    I’m glad you liked them so much. Please do let us know specifically which ones you found most useful though.

  5. So true. I’ve seen those sites also. I plan to write a scathing review of ING Direct on my personal finance blog, but won’t go so far as to start a whole site to trash them…but at the same time, it is possible to deal with customers who are simply too much trouble. In those cases though, you need to make sure that you really did whatever you could to take care of them so you can defend yourself if the need arises.

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