13 August 2010


How many ANTI-BUSINESSES do you encounter every week?

I spend a lot of time observing businesses, specifically I look for both the good and the bad and hopefully I can learn from these observations and even share my findings with people like you. Well after much research and even more pondering, I have discovered that there are 10 types of really bad businesses out there, or as I like to call them, ANTI-BUSINESSES.

Now, I am sure that non of my thousands of subscribers would fit into any of these categories but it is a lot of fun to identify them and most of us can pick a business that fits the bill for most of these ANTI-BUSINESSES. So here goes –

1. The “I’m too busy to serve you” business.

These are the businesses where you walk in and get completely ignored whilst the staff (and often the business owner) are extremely busy doing other really important things (like chat to their friends on the phone). Generally they don’t acknowledge you with so much as a nod of the head, or a simple smile, instead you have to stand there, waiting to be blessed by their presence.

2. The “no, no, no” business.

These businesses are soooooo frustrating. The standard response to every question is “NO”. Do you have this? NO. Can you get one in? NO. Do you have something that could do the job? NO. Do you know where I could get something? NO. Do you give a damn? NO. And so on.

3. The “that’s our policy” business.

I just love these businesses. They have formed some policies (good on them) and now they are totally inflexible and just plain dumb when it comes to enforcing them. In other words we have a policy and we are not afraid to use it – always. A lot of BIG businesses fit into this category as well (hello Telstra). Logic is completely replaced by policy.

4. The “we hate our business so we hate you” business.

Some people have simply stayed in their business for way too long – and it shows. There is a wonderful Chinese saying that I use all the time – “Man without a smile should never open a shop” – unfortunately there are so many miserable bastards out there that do. These businesses are instant energy drains – you walk in and feel instantly depressed.

5. The “she’ll be right” business.

Whenever I hear these words I instantly panic. The reality with the “she’ll be right” business is that no, it wont be right, in fact it is just a nice way to say “bugger off” because I have no intention of getting this done. The words “she’ll be right” should send a shiver up your spine.

6. The “we’ll get right back to you” business.

So what does this mean? Well from my experience it means that you will never hear from them again. How many businesses do you have to stalk to get what you want out of them?

7. The “we just don’t care” business.

These are the businesses with a zero care factor and they go to great lengths to show it. Everything to do with the business reinforces this key message and the underlying overall philosophy of “we don’t care and it shows”.

8. The “smart arse” business.

These really bug me. You walk in and ask a pretty standard question and get a “smart arse” answer. OK, sometimes as customers we do ask dumb questions, but we don’t do it on purpose, we do it because we have a legitimate desire for more information. The “smart arse” business makes you feel stupid and embarrassed.

9. The “how can we make everything really complicated” business.

I think the people who run these businesses have special meetings on a regular basis to work out exactly how they can make every single encounter with their customers really difficult. From making it impossible to find them in the first place, to making it hard to give them money, to never carrying the right stock (or any stock) and so on.

10. The “we have no idea what we are doing” business.

Typically this business falls apart the minute one customer walks through the door. They can’t find anything, nothing seems to work, they don’t even have a pen. You leave feeling very certain that these guys have no idea at all about how to run a business let alone satisfy a customer.

So why have I shared these anecdotal ANTI-BUSINESSES with you? Well the better we get at identifying the ANTI-BUSINESS the more likely we are to make sure that we don’t make any of the same mistakes. Running a really successful business is as much about what we don’t do as what we do do – so to speak.

2 thoughts on “Defining ANTI-BUSINESSES”

  1. I just LOVE this article. One of the biggest frustrations of running a buisness is dealing with companies like these. I have even used one of my favorite lines “Ok, but how about this, I want to give you money. Is that ok? But to do that I would like you to do this for me.. do you thinks that’s possible ..” the answer … a short pause then …I’ll get back to you.” and yep you guessed it – the call never comes. Just Love it!

  2. Thanks Narelle. Great to get your feedback – and yes, predictable aren’t they!

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