[Rant] So you want to run a company, huh?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussion' started by ShelLuser, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Disclaimer: This is a rant guys but please note that its not directed against specific individuals, in-game companies and/or organizations and not even towards the staff (which seems to be a hip thing to do as of late ;)). However, I will admit that recent events have triggered me to write this up.

    There are players who run shops, and there are some pretty cool shops present. However, sometimes it can happen when another player really needs a certain item (for example for building, stuff like hardened clay) and desperately tries to find everything he can. Including from that one particular shop of which its owner didn't like to be bought out. As such: the player is banned from the residence.

    Then there are players who run organizations. They actually try to get more players involved and try to set things up where more players help them achieve the same goal; usually earning rupees. And here we sometimes see the same behavior: "I'm not going to help that guy, I don't like him".

    Now... It's all fair game because lets not forget that in the end all of this is a game in the first place. However... Some of you guys are really trying hard to mimic the real world. Pretending to run real world companies which have staff and employee's and such. Penthouse offices, storage facilities, shops, the works. I've seen some of those (impressive!) set ups.


    Let me tell you something about real world companies...

    I'd like to start with:
    • De klant is koning.
    • Oka sama wa, kami sama desu.
      • (I hope I got this right, I can only really pronounce it).
    • The customer is king.
      • and/or: The customer is always right.
    Three different areas across all parts of the globe where the same golden rule exists: the customer has a very important role in your company. Without customers you wouldn't be making money, as such you'd better treat them right.

    Another golden rule about running a company is:
    • Some things are strictly business, whereas others are personal; business comes first.
    Let's dive into these things a bit more....

    The customer is always right

    Running a business isn't only about helping customers and then getting paid for it. It's also about keeping your customers happy. Why? Simple: A happy customer is more inclined to come back to your company again and spend more money, whereas an unhappy customer might never want to deal with you again.

    Worse yet: A happy customer will take your business for granted. He's pleased with your services, he knows he can rely on you and as such your company becomes second nature to him. He won't complain about you, he probably won't praise you but he will come back the moment he needs you.

    An unhappy customer on the other hand is different. He will most likely feel wronged, treated unfairly and will feel the urge to spread the word amongst all his friends to show exactly what kind of a rotten business you have.

    And yes, I know what some of you might be thinking but trust me: this is a proven fact, this is what you'll learn the very moment you're going to study on how to set up and run a business. It's a given, human nature.

    SO one of the most important things in running a real company is to make sure that you keep your customers happy. Even if you have some bad news to share with them it's important that you bring it as gently as possible.

    "Sorry, can't help you with that, goodbye. Next!"


    "Sorry, we can't help you with that. But maybe you could try the store across the street? Next customer please!".

    Response 1 is a sure way to tick of your customer in a way where they probably won't be coming back, response two on the other hand is much more likely to get him to come back. After all: even though you can't help him you're still trying to as best as you can. That's good service!

    And honestly... it doesn't matter if we're talking about a simple grocery store or an IT firm. These (unwritten) rules exist, and if you want to make a living then you'd better acknowledge & live by them.

    Business before pleasure: don't make it personal!

    Now, this is a tough one. One which some people simply cannot handle. And even if you think you can then it's usually still a rough ride.

    Put shortly: your business interests comes first, and you always need to keep that in mind. And when your business is in play then that pesky rule about "the customer is always right" also automatically surfaces.

    What this means is that you may come into contact with people you might not like, not at all. But those people are still customers, and those are the kinds of people to keep happy. You may not like them, but you still got to respect them. So unless these people violate any specific rules then the most important thing to do is to put aside any personal bias or disdain you might have and conduct your business as usual.

    Of course, optionally, you could try to steer them away if you really want to (though this could hurt your business, less customers means less income) but only as long as you try to keep 'm happy.

    There are rules

    This is also a very important part. There are rules to play by and if you ignore those rules then you
    might find yourself in a whole heap of trouble. When a customer pays you then you'd better deliver the goods or service he expects from you, otherwise you risk losing him because he might want to conduct his business somewhere else.

    Or worse...

    If he feels that you treated him unfairly, or maybe even tricked or swindled him then rest assure that he could bring law enforcement into play. And that can destroy your reputation really quick.

    A real world example...

    Now, I'm not going to talk in-depth about my personal nor business issues here but let me share some vague yet real examples. For those unaware I actually do run a small IT company "for real". One man operation though I sometimes also hire help whenever I need to take on something which is simply too big for one person.

    Main activities are systems administration for some companies (read: helping them to keep their servers running and make sure they stay in good health), telephone support (read: waiting for someone to call with a question or problem, then trying to help them out best as possible), software development and website hosting / domain registration (though the latter is not something I try to expand on. Need a domain? Then there are much better options).

    And yes: sometimes what you see on TV is true. There are moments when I look out the window, see a nice warm sunny day and think to myself: "Meh, I don't feel like working today, I'm off!". The good life, right?

    But just because I run my own stuff doesn't mean I get to do whatever I like. If I pull such a stunt while I know that I'm expected to run telephone support for the coming 5 hours then trust me that I will run into some serious problems the very moment someone tries to call me and I can't help them out.

    Cellphone you say? Yeah, that's going to work great: "Sorry, I can't look up your details right now but could I call you back tomorrow?". Thing is: they pay me because I can help them out during odd times (odd times for them, timezones FTW). They also pay me for a short response time, "calling you back tomorrow" is not an option.

    Remember what I said about business and personal stuff?

    There are some people who I'd rather not talk to. If I can keep their support calls to 1 minute or less then I'm a happy man. But honestly: I can't simply say "yes, k, bye!" and hang up. Business comes first.

    And there are also rules involved. A SLA to be precise: A Service Level Agreement. Basically a contract in which the other company and mine have decided on how to run our business. What they can expect from me and what I can expect from them. But the moment when we don't honor our agreement then trust me that there will be (legal) hell to pay. And "I just don't like that guy" is not a valid nor acceptable excuse.

    Remember my comment about happy customers? It doesn't matter if you're dealing with people who come to visit a shop or with other companies. Even when dealing with other companies the golden rule of "the customer is always right" still applies. A company usually does business with other companies, and if you're on their good side then there are always chances that you might come into contact with others thanks to them.

    So yeah...


    You want to play business? You want to run a REAL company? Then think about this story the very moment you discover that someone bought all your stuff, preferably before you hit /res pset <name> move f and reconsider.

    And try to remember this when you pretend to run a business and operate on behalf of that business, then suddenly try to cut ties with someone because "you don't like them".

    In the real world... That's not how we do business.
  2. Nice guide!
    BlinkyBinky and ShelLuser like this.
  3. Version 2 is. For some reason the formatting got all messed up making this a disaster to read, but I think I fixed it.

    Alas: "weekend rant: check!" :p
    607, Abele, Gawadrolt and 2 others like this.
  4. Right on man!
    ShelLuser likes this.
  5. Whenever someone asks me if I have an item and I don't, I say that I'll have the item soon but maybe try, 1033, 2000, or /v +bulk. Or Gweedz for books. Good to know im doing it the right way :)
  6. Businesses don't work well on EMC because there is no contract law.
  7. *shudders* contract law is not conducive to a healthy economic atmosphere or a smooth running business. I mean... look around you. You see any flying cars? You see free wireless energy?

    I love the OP. very good write up. I will be first to testify that danial absolutely does treat his customers fairly. I have enjoyed every time I have visited him.

    As for the bulk buyers, I have never understood keeping people from buying you out... if you want backstock, keep backstock. banning your best customers from your store is beyond counter-intuitive. Even if they are reselling for a margin profit. If that's what they are doing, especially if they are on the same smp, then they WILL take a loss on that when no one else is buying that product from them and only from you and their chest shop stays full. Most malls only stock a DC worth of stuff and there isn't a whole lot of items that it's difficult to collect a DC of... especially if they just gave you the money to restock whatever you don't want to go out and collect through personal labor....
    JesusPower2 and DanialBuchinger like this.
  8. And thats aother thing most people buy their stock and theres only a handful of people that stock their own stuff i.e. me,crim, merenary crow, gawa ect.. Were all gaining 100% profit whn most are gaining very little. Another tip for this post lol.
  9. I'm kinda glad you chose owning your own IT company as an example, I'd like to add my own insight into this:

    The customer is *not* always right. One of the joys of owning your own business, specifically IT, is that you can choose who you do and do not service. I've fired clients before for being incredibly difficult to work with, disagreeable, or otherwise refusing to admit they are wrong and making my life miserable for it. You CAN choose your customers, and you can remove those who negatively impact your business *or* that you personally don't get along with. Being locked into a SLA is different, but I choose not to work with those particular type of clients since in the past I've had difficulties with them.

    What I get out of this: They are absolutely are well within their rights to choose who they want to business with for (almost) any reason, and it is entirely legit to ban people from your residences for doing things you don't like (buying your stuff in bulk). Back to the real world example, if I decide I don't want to take clients who work outside the hours of 9-5, then yes, I'll lose business, but I can still do it. You (the seller) are providing a service, not a guarantee of service (That'd be a SLA, which doesn't exist in EMC thankfully).

    I don't expect you to agree or be happy with it (the clients I fire never are), but that's business: you can't make everyone happy. If I annoy enough people, the community will stop buying from me and I'll be out of luck. That's how the market works.

    That being said, I don't ban people for buying in bulk, nor do I do business with places that have that rule, but I don't begrudge them for having it.

    I hope this post came across as lighthearted as I intended it. Just hoping to lighten up the dark side :)
    Gawadrolt likes this.
  10. Excellent OP, Shel. :D

    Another important thing to remember with running a business is service/punctuality. And often times, the employee/business-owner that puts in the 'overtime' for the operation tends to be much more successful in the long run. (Of course, a word of caution from my own experiences: don't over-do your professional time, work-life imbalances is a real issue. If you can't get meals and wash your dirty socks--then you may have a time issue... :))
    607 likes this.
  11. Nicely done! :)
  12. Very nice post. I have one thing to add, though, and not everybody does this, but it's very annoying whenever I see it.

    "The customer is king."
    E Seller: Selling vault voucher on [other smp]! Two left!
    E Buyer: How much?
    E Seller: Come and see xD

    If someone asks a question about a product or service, please answer them. It's annoying to the potential buyer and you're probably turning down a customer if you do this. Even if you want to PM a price, it's better than no answer or that answer.

    And when you advertise, it does help to stay on the server for 10-15 seconds after you do so, just in case another player needs anything clarified. :)
  13. Advice taken :), ive always just advertized "Selling cheap marlix armor at 1547!" So nextime ill post a price lol
  14. Just not listing a price is fine in my eyes. Saying 'cheap' isn't a bad idea anyway... it could attract more people than listing a price.
    ShelLuser and 607 like this.
  15. It's no problem to be a bit vague with advertising, as long as you clearly answer any questions. (so saying "cheap marlix armor" would be good in my opinion, as long as you have the price ready for when anyone asks for it)
    ShelLuser likes this.
  16. I don't know how other companies run their stuff. But i can tell you that's not how companies are run in iceland.
    The saying is the customer is king yes..
    But the king is a child.. it's naive silly and knows nothing.. that's why the customer needs your service. Needs your advice and help to navigate your store. The customer knows nothing.. but you know everything.. that's why the customer needs you to tell them what they want to know.. and answer questions. The king is a child.. and sometimes children take a tantrum in your store. And you have to deal with them.. that does not mean the customer is right.. just that they are going to push you in every single buttons in hopes you will give in to their demands against all rules of the company.

    But you always treat your customer.. not as your best friend cause that's false... you treat them with respect and honour.

    Why do i say this??
    Why on earth am i calling customers children?
    Think about it..

    I have worked in the service business for over 20 years now. I am a trained waiter. I have degrees that lets me run my own shop. And i have taken a few seminars on how to deal with that pesky angry hard to deal with customer.
    I have gone through numerous sales seminars
    And they all go in the same direction.. you deal with customers they way you deal with a child.. except the baby voice ofc.. use that and you just might get a knuckle sandwich

    How a store runs.. is really different in each country. And it flows with the culture. I don't agree with you shel..
    I know the customer is not always right.. cause why would he have to ask me questions if he's always right? And if he calls me names.. is he still right? No in my country the customer HAS rights.. but is usually never right.
  17. Words to live by shell. Well said! :)
  18. Companies are for try-hards.

    Gawadrolt likes this.
  19. Hmm, interesting thread I stumbled upon. I started 3 attempts to reply to this. And the only thing that got clearer to me every time I was trying was:

    It's hard to give advice. Mostly its better to let people fail in a safe environment.

    Playing will show us how its done ;)

    (Wow that was MUCH shorter than my original attempts :D)
    SSRCMegaMall and 607 like this.
  20. Can you add color to the subtitles to make them stand out more?

    My favorite subtitle color is orange.
    ChamelonNYC likes this.