DAVE RAMSEY

Dave Ramsay says: Don’t change your business principles on a customer’s whim

Jun 23, 2024, 5:00 AM

Business principles challenged by customer? What to do...

A listener asks Dave Ramsay what to do when a customer demands you betray your business principles. (Pexels photo)

(Pexels photo)

Dave,

My husband and I own a small business. We’ve been open for 12 years, and fortunately we’ve been very successful.

We made the decision when we first opened to run the business debt-free. Along with that, we only accept cash, checks and debit cards for payment.

Recently, we’ve had a client become very insistent that we start accepting credit cards. Our relationship with this client is becoming a little contentious over the issue.

How should we address the situation?

Debra


Should a small business owner change business principles to satisfy customer?

Debra,

Like we, as entrepreneurs, don’t have enough things to worry about every single day, right?

As you might imagine, I have a bunch of people who are mad at me all the time because I don’t accept credit cards.

But in my case, it’s not just a business decision. I teach people all the time not to use credit cards, and why they shouldn’t. So, I can’t very well go around encouraging folks to just swipe their credit cards when they buy from my company.

For starters, that client is way out of bounds. It’s not their place to tell you how to run your business. But you’re lucky to only have one person getting pushy about the whole credit card deal. Everything about the credit industry today is out of control. But even though your case is a little different than mine, you have every right to not accept credit cards — especially if you have a moral or values-related issue with the product.

As time goes by, you’ll probably have a few other people turn up their noses at the idea of not being able to pay with a credit card, but if you consistently offer great services or products at great prices, those experiences will only be a bump in the road.

You don’t want to be argumentative when things like this happen, so maybe you can just smile, and let them know you always appreciate input from your clients.

I’m sure you and your husband work hard to make your business the best it can be. The fact that you’re still around over a decade after opening up shop is proof of that.

You’ve probably realized, too, that being in business for yourself isn’t all sunshine and rainbows every day.

Regardless, no one has the right to get in your face over how your business is structured or try to push you into doing things differently.

Listening to, and evaluating, suggestions from clients only makes sense. It’s a smart thing for any business owner to do. But this one client is saying you should change long-standing business principles based on a whim—their whim.

And that’s not okay.

—Dave

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Dave Ramsay says: Don’t change your business principles on a customer’s whim