ACCORDING to Forbes Entrepreneurs, 90 per cent of business start-ups will fail. I imagine the troops at Ypres had a better chance of survival. It seems rather disheartening to write out your company’s obituary before it is born.
Running a business is akin to running a gauntlet. You set your hopes high, you invest, you set out your business plan and you work hard to make your business a success.
Facing hard times, many businesses resort to dishonest practices to survive. I believe ‘sloppiness’ at the till to be institutionalised robbery. Overcharging or failure to record a discount happens far too often for it to be an oversight.
I recall the Benidorm bar owner who advertised €1 pints. When the half-pint glasses were questioned, he replied: “These are Benidorm pints, señor.”
In another Costa resort, a large beer and baguette was advertised for just €4. It was irresistible but fool’s gold, as the baguette was the size of a finger. The assumption is that tourists are unlikely to return or remember. However, there is a drip-drip, toxic, effect on a resort’s reputation and also on the better-run businesses.
Thanks to the Internet and social media, people now enjoy a power to influence that a 1960s provincial newspaper editor could only dream of. A resort’s prosperity can be damaged irreparably by a few letters in a national newspaper, a poor news report or negative comments in social media.
Tourism thrives or fails on visitor experiences. It is not hard to imagine the negative outcome if tourists, returning to their home countries, slate a country or resort. Yet the solution is simple.
It would take only a couple of tourist office staff to invite complaints and patrol tourist areas looking out for evidence of sharp practice. Those businesses resorting to cheating should be shown a ‘red card’ and their trading licence removed if they are repeat offenders.
This simple solution would help to launder a resort’s image and all legitimate businesses would benefit as a result. Who knows, it may well reduce the number of failed businesses.