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Home-based Business – The Four Bodies

In the grand tradition of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First” I’d like to present a business joke that seems to turn in on itself and may leave readers wondering if they are able to follow what’s actually being said. “This is the story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody should do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

Consequently, it wound up that Nobody told Anybody, so Everybody blamed Somebody.” I didn’t write the story above and I’ve heard it performed in other ways, but the main point to the somewhat humorous story is that while there may be multiple employees in a company it is possible there will be a significant amount of passing the buck with no clear indicator of who may ultimately be responsible for problems that may develop. In a home-based business this scenario cannot play out in the same way. Why? Because there is a strong likelihood that one person performs multiple roles in the small company. That person must own up to mistakes because there is no fall guy waiting to take the blame.

Customers won’t care about Everybody, Somebody, Anybody or Nobody. All they really care about is whether the person in charge is going to take care of their issues. The ultimate question is whether the owner stands behind the product sold or not. I have a friend who purchased a piece of exercise equipment. He lives in a remote area and accepted the extended service contract because it was pointed out that the service is in-home and anywhere within his home country. Within 24 hours of professional setup the machine was malfunctioning. In this case my friend waited for over two months to gain positive customer service. In each attempt to gain the promised service the telephone representative passed the buck. In the end, my friend insisted on visiting with a supervisor and promised that a complaint would be filed with the Better Business Bureau if there weren’t a plan of action within 10 days. It wasn’t long before Someone stepped up to the plate and made plans to have the equipment repaired.

While this reflects poorly on the manufacturer it should also serve as a cautionary tale for home-based businesses to do what you promise to do. Assume the responsibility required to place the customer first and take care of problems as they arise. You should also expect the unexpected. You can have the highest quality product or service and still wind up with certain failures that demand your attention in customer service. Remember Anybody could do it, Somebody should do it, Everybody thinks it should be dome, but in the end Nobody is the only one to show up – and he can’t do a thing. That just leaves – you.


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