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Fix Your Faux Pas

A few days ago, I received an email from a couple that revealed a horrible mistake they had made in their printing business, (I changed their names in order protect them from further embarrassment). Here's the email in part:

15 years ago, John and I had a printing business. Our very first "real" account was an established restaurant. They asked us to typeset and print a new menu for them.

We thought we had died and gone to heaven to have such a top-notch first printing account.

"If we do an exceptional job on their menu," we surmised, "they will give us more work and will refer others to us." So, we worked exceptionally hard and went the extra mile.

The draft of the menu turned out beautifully, better than expected. After proudly faxing the proof to the restaurant, they signed and returned it with their signature and "okay" to print.

Off it proudly went to press.

Some days after delivering the finished product, John and I decided to visit the restaurant as patrons. After all, we wanted to admire our finished work.

All smiles, we sat down at our table and opened the attractive menu. It looked even better in the restaurant setting.


As we perused the menu, it seemed we both saw it at the same moment. After all, it was glaring right at us. No words were exchanged as we stared at each other in horror.

Or faces turned two shades of red.

Our eyes did a quick scan of the other tables. Could others possibly be seeing what we were seeing?

John turned his menu toward me and pointed to a heading on the menu. I nodded that I had seen it, too.

There it was, a heading on the first page in large bolded type that read...


How in the world could we have missed it? It was so blazingly obvious!we left the restaurant as quickly as possible. It was just too painful to stay another minute... [end of email]

If you've been in business for any length of time, it's a fact there are mistakes you've made. Not intentional, of course, but it does happen. How you respond to your own mistakes is crucial to the future of your business reputation.

From my own experience, let me tell you how most businesses respond to their faux pas. They either hide, avoid, ignore or do nothing about it. Huge mistake!

When you screw up, it's an opportunity to shine like a bright star. You must fix the mistake. Be honest with your the client, admit your mistake. Hey, they know in their heart they're human, too, and prone to mistakes. Don't sit there doing nothing except hoping it will go away. It won't. There's two reasons why you should fix it, it's the right thing to do and it'll add to your business reputation.

Because most businesses refuse to fix their faux pas', you'll set yourself apart and above the rest of the pack. Your business reputation will increase at least 4.5 points on a scale of 10.

Face it, your business reputation is one of the most important aspects of your business. You don't create your it, your clients do. Your business reputation is what your clients say about you, not what you say about yourself.