Perceived Indifference Disease

A neighborhood restaurant we went to nearly every week for several years got a new partner, a long-time bar tender who bought into the business. We’d been spending at least $5,000 a year there, going mostly on their slower nights. We knew all the staff, and had chatty, comfortable conversations with them. We thought we were good customers.

I Don't Care SignSoon after taking over, the new partner changed the music to something I didn’t like. Loud and screechy, in my humble opinion. In a low-key manner I asked if he’d switched the playlist. After he said he did, I said — politely I think — that I thought the new music was not as good as what they had been playing. He responded, “Well other people like it,” and abruptly turned away.


He has every right to play whatever music he likes in his restaurant. But his comment and attitude said he didn’t care about me. I paid for the one drink I’d just ordered and left the restaurant without eating.

That conversation was in January and we haven’t been back. We simply disappeared from their list of customers.

I’ve told this story to incredulous friends who know how loyal we were, and they’ve moved birthday parties and dinners away from that restaurant to other spots in the neighborhood. So, the new partner’s interaction with me — and the restaurant’s failure to follow-up — has cost the business at least $7,500 in 2017 revenue.

I am not looking for sympathy or commiseration at being slighted. (Well maybe a little sympathy!) But, mainly I’m telling this story because it illustrates one of the dangers to your business that we explore with you in our business development sessions: Perceived Indifference Disease.

When your customers perceive that you don’t care about them, you’re in danger of losing them. You may never know why they stopped coming.

Our business consulting sessions help you uncover how your interactions with your clients may leave them feeling that you don’t care… even when you care very much!

If you are wondering why you’re not getting the repeat business you deserve, we can help you explore ways of assessing your customer’s feelings toward you and seeing if they feel loyal or repelled by perceived difference.

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Contact us to learn more about the business development options we offer in addition to our traditional accounting services.

How Your CPA Has Fun

Young  Business People
A Team Planning the Business’ Future

Too much of the time business owners and key employees are completely busy getting the day’s work done.  Filling orders, talking to customers, selling, ordering, and going to the bank can be all consuming.

In those situations, the business owners are working IN their business.  To be successful, they need to dedicate some time to work ON their business.

By working on their business, I mean that the owners and key personnel should reserve some hours to think strategically about what they want their company to look like in a year and in five years.  They should analyze what’s working in their business, what isn’t working, and what they know about their competition.

Geoffrey and I recently finished a strategic planning session with a business that included all of the key team members.  It was intense, illuminating, and very fun.

The chemistry in the client’s company was good.  That doesn’t mean that the business is perfect or that every employee loves every other employee. But, the key people were all dedicated to the business’ success. They had ideas.  They were invested.  The business is set to change for the better because of the time we spent together.

When we talk about “strategic planning” or “business development” too often we make the process sound like taking medicine.  It’s good for you, but not very pleasant.

But when they are conducted right, strategic planning sessions are meaningful, rewarding, and enjoyable.  Releasing the ideas that have been rattling around the back of your head feels good. Making decisions, creating action schedules, and sharing your vision with the people you work is real progress toward growing your business.

Geoffrey and I like conducting strategic planning sessions, too.  We get to learn about our clients, their motivations and personal goals.   Not that we don’t love spreadsheets and filling in tax forms, but helping people define their own version of financial success and helping make plans to attain it is simply better!

For more information on Sterck Kulik O’Neill’s Business Consulting and Strategic Plan Services, visit our website, or phone us at 415.433.4500.