By R. Christopher Haines, Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer

Do you ever ask yourself that question when working with a vendor partner? Does the vendor really value your relationship and the opportunity to work for your organization? Or is it strictly about the money they can charge you?

There are too many organizations for which everything is about the numbers. Revenue, profit, customer count, new accounts added, and things such as this. And in many of these organizations, nothing else really matters. Everything is a means to an end.

I get that if you don’t make a profit, you’re not going to be in business for long. So all companies need to operate in ways that make money. But should money be the only driver? Do you need to make your customers and employees feel like they’re being exploited just to make a buck? There has to be a balance.

Taking care of customers and employees is the best way drive revenue. You can’t give things away. But you can price fairly. You don’t have to nickel and dime every possible thing. Don’t hook them in with some pricing that looks incredible to them, only to have a whole list of items that conveniently aren’t included and will cost them more later. And check the way you treat them and their employees. Do you treat them like friends or like someone you couldn’t care less about? No matter what you think about your company and your knowledge, you aren’t superior to these people. Treat them like they matter. After all, they are buying something from you.

There are times that I would give our employees the world if I could, but it is still a business. Give them what you can financially, but treating them with honesty and respect will go a long way. Communicate with them. Support them as they learn and grow. Consider talking to them about a sensitive issue on Monday morning instead of right before they walk out for the weekend on Friday afternoon. Think long and hard about sending that email Saturday morning or while they are on vacation that might upset them. Talk to them face to face without hiding behind email. Your employees’ number one job isn’t just to make you money. They are a part of the image, the brand and the reputation of your company.

We all know those companies in which profits drive everything. Is yours one of them? This only lasts so long and these companies only go so far.

If you want to add to the longevity of your organization, you might want to consider making something else the driver.