The recent developments in the world have forced most of us to rethink many of our habits and processes. We are re-evaluating the way we do almost everything. This has been dramatic across the board, and we can all relate to the stress something like this can cause. That being said, I want to look for the silver lining. How might this be beneficial to those of us who are willing to stop and think about it?

As a shop owner myself I realize that I have become apathetic in many ways. For example, there are the relationships I have built with vendors. In business we strive to establish systems that run as automatically as possible. We want to be able to set things up and let them run so we can turn our attention to other, more important things. We only focus on details as they become issues for some reason. Vendor relationships work this way to a large degree. Once we find the vendor that delivers the way we like, ie. price, schedule, quality, and service―we rarely change. 

Now that things have been shaken up a bit, I’ve been scrutinizing the companies we’re associated with, especially those we purchase from. There was one company in particular that needed to be replaced. There have been some changes in the way they do business that I am not OK with. The decline has been so subtle that it was easy not to notice. They had been providing products and services to us for about 15 years. I came to realize that their company culture had changed. They no longer really knew us or cared about our satisfaction. Fortunately, their products and services were fairly easy to replace, and so we replaced them.

There are a number of great reasons to change old business relationships. This particular experience made me look at how we are interacting with our own clients and customers and the way we provide products and services to them. It’s important to us that the companies and individuals we work with have similar business models. This can’t be controlled 100 percent, but I think it can be to a large degree. What do you think? Are you having similar experiences right now? I’d like to hear about them.