It is not unusual to see makers criticize large, successful companies. They criticize the product line, the ingredient list and more. Because the company is large, they feel free to heap criticism, and everyone feels free to add another snarky comment.
Let’s take a look at this phenomenon. It is not relegated, of course, to our industry. We see it all the time directed toward famous individuals and larger businesses or corporations.
This begs the question why do we do it?
First of all, anonymity is a very powerful force. The speaker attacks a faceless corporation and feels free to unleash any negative thought that comes to mind. These corporations, of course, will never hear it and the commenters will never be called to justify their words.
As if that is not enough, the format of some types of social media create the perfect setting for everybody to offer another bit of criticism, repeated many times over.
The phenomenon of group behavior, or getting caught up in what the group is doing encourages individuals to speak up who would not otherwise. They feel part of the group and justified in their behavior.
The final reason, I believe, is jealousy. Makers are jealous of success and belittle that success to feel better about themselves.
Ouch. It isn’t pretty, is it? The worse part is, few of us can say we have never been part of these types of incidents. This kind of behavior is negative and pointless. Even if no individual is hurt by the comments, it does nothing constructive. Such talk does not build our businesses or our skills. It just offers a fleeting, impotent sense of power.
Large corporations or businesses, on the other hand, did not get where they are by taking time to nitpick other companies; they are too busy building their businesses. They know when to listen to criticism and when to ignore it. They follow sound practices of good planning and business practices, a growth mentality and a lot of hard work. And, let’s not forget, most started out as small businesses.
Instead of criticism, we should study what companies do well. How did they start and how did they get where they are? It is true that most of us have no desire to become a mega-corporation, yet learning how they began and how they got where they are today is instructive, even for small business.
We can do better. Instead of taking the time to concentrate on the negative, scroll on to find the bits of wisdom others offer. Set goals and study how others got there and use that as a roadmap for success.
Sure, unethical companies will always exist and so will differences in standard practices and opinion. Unfortunately, critics will always exist, as well. Rise above it to take care of your own. Conduct your business in a way that allows you to sleep at night and let others do the same. Everybody will be better off for it.
Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
Beth Byrne, Making Soap Cosmetics & Candles Magazine