An open letter to Sri Lankan entrepreneurs on exploiting consumers in desperate times
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An open letter to Sri Lankan entrepreneurs on exploiting consumers in desperate times

The entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka, as elsewhere, owe their gratitude to the people , their customers.

These entrepreneurs became successful not only because of their talent or capability but primarily because the consumer of Sri Lanka, trusted them enough to invest in their products or service.

As Sri Lanka, alongside the entire world, is staring at a deadly pandemic that respects no man-made boundaries of wealth, power and or status, it is time for the true entrepreneur spirit to emerge, head held high, conscious of not just profit but social obligation and serving the community, the consumers who made the entrepreneur successful.

Instead, what do we see today when we look around?

E commerce entrepreneurs trying to fleece consumers – more so those who preached on entrepreneurship to the rest of us.

Entrepreneurs who are thinking of ways to make a fast buck and are entering business areas they are clueless about – and in the process, delivering rotten vegetables.

Entrepreneurs who are promising the sky but unable to deliver and hence becoming idiots in the eyes of consumers hungry for normalcy to return.

Of course,  there are others who have indeed risen to the challenge in upholding he true spirit of social entrepreneurship and have enhanced their services, gone the extra mile and done whatever they can for the community.

They are to be commended – their grateful consumers will undoubtedly remain loyal to them, once this crisis passes.

But for those who deliberately and shamelessly broke the trust Sri Lankan consumers all over the world, placed in them, it is time to come clean.

You know what would have been good?

A solid apology –

instead of trying to justify your cheapskate action when confronted by the authorities.

An apology, sincerely uttered, gives the consumer the assurance that maybe, just maybe, this guy means it and maybe, I can trust him once again – once he gets his systems in order.

An apology not just for over-pricing deliberately but also for the other shortcomings consumers in their hundreds posted on social media – melted cakes, wilted flowers and delayed deliveries.

An apology gives you the opportunity to show the world – and your consumers that you have some shame left and are willing to put things right.

An opportunity –

In fact, a downfall that comes on the heels of unprecedented success is sometimes good for entrepreneurship.

World is full of such stories.

A downfall helps you re-align your focus – and helps to bring you down from your high horse.

It also gives you the opportunity to find out where you went wrong and put things right. If you are willing to learn, of course.

It is an opportunity to re-caliberate your systems, find out what the shortcomings have been and put things right.

But then, arrogance and self-righteousness wouldn’t fix this one unless you are humble enough to acknowledge where your business went wrong and be willing to start all over again.

Re-align your priorities –

As an entrepreneur, your priority is not merely making money ; you make money when you provide a service or a product that satisfies consumer needs.

In fact, exceeds consumer expectations as those of us who studied marketing, understand the parlance.

So you should ideally be able to re-align your priorities and go back to seeking consumer satisfaction instead of exploiting the occasion to make a fast buck.

Maybe you need to re-focus on what made you start out in the first place – how you built your customer base and what you did to become successful.

Let’s get one thing straight -unless and until you are willing to acknowledge that your customers are your priority, you will continue the downfall at multiple levels.

Give back to the community that placed its trust in you –

Your community placed its trust and invested its money in you.

And you let them down – when they needed you most, as the old Randy Vanwarmer hit went.

Clearly, it is time for you to give something back to the community whom you exploited.

Help them to once again perhaps, even at a later time, for them to find the trust they placed in you.

Give back to them by choosing to share a pack of goodies with families that need it most – there are many hungry families in the community who are daily wage earners.

They would benefit from your gesture much more than you could imagine.

Maybe it could redeem the reputation you lost.

There are lessons for all entrepreneurs to learn from this – here’s to hoping they will.










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