Take a look at this picture. What’s the message this business owner is sending to her customers?
I was leading a strategy session with a group of Iowa educators recently and stopped in to a local coffee shop for a quick cup. I was greeted by the signs on the door you see above. This one greeted me at the cash register:
I had some time to kill so I read the entire page, and basically it says, “I’m charging you extra for using your credit card because the big, bad credit card companies are too expensive.”
Two words: Boo hoo.
Credit card companies certainly don’t do small business owners any favors, but it’s also an amazing privilege in this country to let people pay for goods and services USING A PIECE OF FREAKING PLASTIC. (I think the benefits were lost on this business owner, though.)
She could take a number of steps to limit her risk and improve the in-store experience for her customers. (Dwolla, anyone? Or, as some of my Instagram followers suggested, why not just get a new door?)
But instead, she chose to put a legal-briefing-sized memo on the front counter of her shop and treat her customers like they belong at the Midvale School for the Gifted.
Ultimately, what you have is a frustrated business owner blaming people “out there” for her problems rather than taking responsibility herself.
I imagine her thinking being something like this:
- If only the credit card companies “out there” would stop charging me so much, then I could be profitable…
- If only people “out there” would be able to figure out our door, then I wouldn’t have to put signs up…
- If only we had more customers, then I wouldn’t have to charge such a high prices…
I left the coffee shop knowing, without a doubt, I wouldn’t be back if I stopped in that town again. I don’t like getting yelled at, whether it’s in-person or through signs.
But I struggle with this often as well. Blaming others for business problems that are no one’s fault but my own:
- If only Facebook would stop charging me to reach my fans, then I could get the traffic I need…
- If only my payment processor would deposit funds into my bank account quicker, then I’d have cash to spend on other opportunities…
- If only I had more time in the day to get some of this stuff done…
If only, if only, if only, if only.
Maybe Facebook, my payment processor, and hours in the day aren’t the problem. The problem, in most cases, is me.
No one is forcing me to use Facebook. No one is forcing me to use PowerPay. No one is telling me how to spend my time. They are all choices I make. Period.
The “If-Only” mentality is lethal because it’s so subtle. It can go undetected for years—decades, even. It takes allowing trusted advisors, friends, and mentors into our lives to root out eliminate the “If-Only’s.” (I know I’d still be suffering with mine if it weren’t for people like my wife, my business coach, and my mentor.)
I’m working with a few, select individuals who want to stop making excuses and build a new reality for themselves. We call it the Think Digital Masters Class, and it’s designed to help you craft the life you want. We’re taking applications through the end of the month. If you’re interested, click here.