In the small business software marketplace, especially in vertical niches such as those in which we play, credibility is a key selling feature. We’ve found that openness pays on many ways. On our website you can see how many employees we have, read their names and see their photos in all their glory. You can red the detail of our software updates. Find out about bugs. Read our user advice sheets and check the latest fixes. There isn’t any part of our website hidden for registered users.
Such openness is an approach we have followed for more than 10 years. It’s something I first came across when I met Jack Stack from the Springfield Remanufacturing Company and author of The Great Game of Business. While this book and the Stack message is about complete openness with employees; business education; business literacy; we pointed outwards and became open about things companies often keep secret, software companies especially.
We’re only human. Of course we make mistakes. By being up front about our mistakes we’re finding that our customers trust us more. It’s common sense really. Yet it’s amazing how many competitors try and use our openness against us. Occasionally they can dupe someone into believing that our software has bugs and theirs doesn’t but that’s rare. We’re only human. We make mistakes and they do too.
As Jack Stack advocates, we see business as a game and while we’re not as open internally in some areas as we might be – due to time and cost constraints – we’re more than open in other areas and this creates for, we hope, a work environment which is more enjoyable and appreciated than most.
As well as a policy of openness is a policy of no spin. Tell it like it us. Sugar only gets in the way of what you’re trying to say and will dull the potential of the message.