When Smiley Dog began, it was just a cool thing to do on the side. I was gainfully employed in a profession I loved. I had no business background. Starting a business meant abandoning my training, career, and financial security. Why do that?
Simply to prove that integrity still exists in this world.
Despite what is seen as increasing cynicism, there are those who still recognize and appreciate integrity as an essential value. It is at the core of who we are as individuals and is the philosophy which guides us through changing times.
Remaining true to three simple principles keeps Smiley Dog grounded in both good times and bad. It also allows us to welcome those who share these same principles.
Assistance over $ales
We’ve all listened to the salesperson who steers you towards the most expensive item in order to boost numbers or earn a fat commission. We frown on this type of instant gratification and short-sighted approach.
Sure, we’d love to deliver the most expensive, high-profit bag of food to your door. But what sense does that make if the product doesn’t meet your needs, regardless of cost or profit?
It makes far more sense to help you thoughtfully consider some options and make an informed choice. This may mean a smaller sale. But it also means a better choice.
Why is this a better choice? Because when you understand why a food may be suitable, you’ll be far better positioned to monitor your pet’s health and the performance of the food over time. You’ll understand how small changes can often result in large improvements.
And of course, if you’d prefer those decisions to be made for you made without delving into the “why,” that’s easily accomplished as well. Which brings us to the next core value which won’t be compromised.
Respect over indifference
Have you been ignored by an apathetic clerk or caught in the endless loop of a phone tree? Been dismissed as ignorant by a so-called expert when a difference of opinion arises?
Perhaps you’ve found yourself waiting patiently for a personal conversation to end before being acknowledged or been confronted by an empty shelf where you expected to find your product.
We’ve become far too accepting of this type of disrespect in our business dealings. It’s become common to expect disappointment and to be surprised when a promise is kept.
That’s not the Smiley Dog way.
It’s a simple distinction, but we believe your time should be respected. Yes, you’ll get voicemail when you call, which is an unfortunate reality of running a small business. But bear with this initial inconvenience and you’ll find it to be well worth the small effort.
There are humans behind the website. You won’t find automated replies or stock answers that ignore your concerns. Your calls, emails, and inquiries are promptly handled with respect.
Which leads to the final guiding principle for Smiley Dog.
Reliability over complacency
We often get what I consider to be a disappointing compliment. It’s not the compliment itself that disappoints. It’s more the underlying premise that continues to surprise me.
How can a compliment be disappointing? When it results from the simple act of keeping a promise.
“Thanks- I didn’t really expect you to show up when you said you would.”
“It worked just like you said it would.”
Is this really how low our expectations have fallen? Promises should not be made lightly. And promises should not be broken. This is a basic premise, not something that should come as a surprise.
We all understand the difference between unforeseen circumstances and broken promises. How each is handled makes all the difference between whether either is acceptable or offensive.
Dependability should be expected, common, and not at all surprising. Along with assistance and respect, reliability rounds out the principles of integrity we strive to uphold daily.
The idea of integrity is not new
It’s a way of living and operating a small business that reflects conscious choices. These choices acknowledge we all deserve help when requested, respect as individuals and that promises made are promises kept.
Integrity instills confidence and peace of mind. It offers a small refuge where we can take comfort in knowing that things still work the way they should.
So you see, I really don’t know anything about starting a business. I certainly never thought that it would be a reflection of the world we want to inhabit.
Care to join in?