Transparency – Saving the World from Mediocre Businesses

Election Day is upon us. Time to vote. The nation makes a very big decision, but a very difficult one. Probably like me, you can’t see the wood for the trees. As the media is pummelling us with facts and information, it makes it harder to distinguish what’s true and what’s not. So to avoid media manipulation, I went direct to each party and read their manifestos, without the refraction of the media’s skew. But it’s so hard to trust what is being said, because these political parties have a severe reputation for not keeping their word, distorting facts and basically lying. I just wish everyone could see a true representation of each party without all the hidden bullshit. I suppose it’s best to go with your gut feeling. It almost reminds me of choosing a tariff with your mobile phone contact, it’s never perfect for what you want, but you have to choose something.

For a while I’ve been pondering with the thought of Transparency. I’m really into the idea of honesty, integrity and complete exposure in business. Balls out; unlike our cowardly politicians, who only expose their genitals when prostitutes and cocaine are involved.

Perhaps to many business owners transparency is a scary thought, but to me it’s exciting and I hope it excites and inspires other people. But the main goal is trust. If a customer trusts a business, then their experience is heightened in a positive way. They will ultimately form a better relationship with the company, with their loyalty and return custom.  This is particularly important in the food industry as it has a shady reputation for large profit margins, up selling, loss leaders, questionable hygiene standards and exploited staff that are over worked and under paid.

Transparency helps customers understand our industry and our pricing structure. This can be done on a basic level, for example a break down of a cup of coffee. I’m more than happy to tell people how much our coffee cost and our profit margin on the cup.

To be really transparent and open, I’d say Transparency is a form of marketing, similar to informing customers to what ingredients you use; it is a promotion of the product. But it’s also a double-edged sword, and certainly wouldn’t work for every company, although even

McDonald’s are using this form of marketing, albeit best taken it with a pinch of salt.

But I honestly believe this transparent marketing could be used to the advantage of many businesses; for example, High St coffee chains could release information about their extortionate rent and rates and this could help customers understand their pricing and why they can’t use expensive, high-grade coffee.

Things are definitely moving in the right direction. It was only 10 years ago that restaurants started revealing the source of their ingredients with information about food miles etc. Soon they may reveal how much the ingredients cost and the margins they make on each dish. Would you choose differently if this information was presented to you?