By Donna Wells
Can you believe that another year is almost over? By the
time you read this, it will be November and SEMA time! Be sure to stop
by Window Film magazine’s booth (#12729) and say hello to the incredibly
hard-working staff! I hope that 2011 has been profitable for you. It has
been an interesting year for many film companies and I am sure we are
all looking forward to an even better 2012.
As we look ahead, I would like to tackle a difficult, yet very important
topic: business ethics. Does your business advertise a specific line of
film, but install a less expensive version? Many times we are tempted
to substitute less expensive counterparts for name brand products. You
might think to yourself, “Why does it matter? The client will never know
the difference!” Let’s look at this through the client’s eyes.
You may have watched your business expenses increase and your profit decrease
in the last few years. You are trying to decide where to cut costs and
how to improve your bottom line. You advertise that your company carries
product “A.” Today, there is a less expensive knock-off. It looks and
performs just like Product “A.” Your client believes that they have purchased
Product “A” and neither you (nor your sales team) disclosed that you will
be installing a different product. Is that fair to the client? How would
you feel if this happened to you? I would imagine that if someone pulled
the old “bait and switch” trick on you, you might not take it very well.
You might even think, “Is this company ethical? Why would they advertise
something that they are not installing and how do they stay in business?”
“Does your business
advertise a specific line of film, but install a less expensive version?
Many times we are tempted to substitute less expensive counterparts for
name brand products. You might think to yourself, ‘Why does it matter?
The client will never know the difference!’”
The key issue here is that “business ethics” is such a subjective term—what
is ethical to one person may not be to another. Therefore, the concept
of what is ethical is a constant variable. It is a moral code each of
us lives by. In my opinion, business ethics equals respect and truth.
If you are an ethical company and business owner, you are respectful of
the people around you. You strive to tell the truth, sell the truth and
not sell a substitute product.
Unfortunately, there are many business owners whose business ethics are
not set at a high standard. As an industry we need to confront this issue
on every level. Manufacturers who have had their films tested and certified
by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) have taken the first
step. This certification holds manufacturers to a standard that is good
for the industry. Individual companies need to develop their own business
ethics and implement them into their everyday business practices. Companies
need to hold their employees accountable for their actions and employees
need to understand the consequences if they do not abide by the ethics
established by the company. If we did this as an industry, we might begin
to receive the respect that we deserve. Perhaps our sister industries
such as architects, interior designers and glass companies would consider
our products more often. Perhaps we would be specified more often. Maybe
window film would not be looked upon as an alternative to today’s glass
technology, but the reverse would be true. I look forward to your comments.
Please feel free to respond to me directly or through the magazine by
sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donna Wells has worked in the window film industry since the 1980s and
is currently sole proprietor of Image Imagination in Huntington Beach,
Got a question for Donna?
Please email it to us at email@example.com.
Individual names and company names will be withheld upon request.
© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.