Balancing business needs with the needs customers

Balancing of business needs

How should a for-profit corporation balance its business needs with the needs of its customers?
Companies are formed to meet specific needs within a market. For profit-making organizations, the intention is to meet stakeholder expectations through increased and continued profitability. However, customers, as stakeholders, are also vital to the approaches used to achieve the organization’s goals. According to Kiessling, Isaksonn, and Yasar (2016), this is because customer needs continue to evolve and thus, companies also have an obligation to grow and improve over time – to meet the changing customer needs. In the Samsung and Apple Case by Kubasek et al. (2016), the intellectual property (IP) proves to be a critical element in ensuring companies achieve their goals amidst growing competition. By taking a patent on a product, process or system, a company can continue providing quality and competitive advantage that guarantees profitability. An IP is also a critical representation of the societal policies on fair practices in competitive markets. While it may be defined as a tool that protects innovators and inventors, it also serves a dual role of ensuring a company’s profitability and customer satisfaction.

Balancing business by use of patents

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Critically, the use of patents can also be considered as an approach toward balancing business and customer needs. This is because patents covered represent intellectually developed products or systems designed through creative thinking and advanced educational skills (Kubasek et al., 2016). While some of these IP protections may be considered adverse or unfair, for instance when they focus on aspects that may be regarded as unnecessary such as the shape of a phone, they are critical towards ensuring the customer is provided with a quality product that will cause them to prefer the brand and return in future. Customers returning for a product offered by the company are also called loyal customers. According to Chen (2015), loyal customers are generally proud to be associated with the brand for its reliability and guaranteed quality. Such a brand is analogous of the honest house described in Deuteronomy 25: 13-15 whose owners are guaranteed to live long for their fair and ethical practices. Consequently, creating a good brand requires the ability to building a lasting relationship with customers through multiple approaches such as innovation and seeking patents.

Large profits

Finally, some for-profit companies have also been characterized by large profits while their companies have had no impact on their societies. Kotz (2015) believes that this is mainly common in capitalist markets where companies are allowed to charge more to target their preferred customers. The approach is primarily used by luxury brands. However, over time, the companies may lose their reputation within society as the customers realize that their money is only supporting the company and its stakeholders. Although companies operate to satisfy stakeholder’s needs, they also have a responsibility to society. This is corporate citizenship and is founded on the need for companies to fulfill their duties as citizens by engaging in socially productive initiatives in their environments. By fulfilling these goals, the company will have created a balance between its need for profits and the needs of its customers.
Do companies whose mission is primarily to create products on which lives depend have a greater responsibility to tip the balance toward the consumer more than toward themselves?

Companies whose products are critical to livelihoods, such as pharmaceutical companies are highly perceived to be indebted to the populations they serve. To some extent, it is argued that they have a higher responsibility to their customers than to themselves. Conversely, as long as it is a for-profit organization, the company has to be able to balance its needs to those of its customers. Its needs in such a case include the ability to generate competitive profits for its stakeholders. Furthermore, these companies will also be under further scrutiny from customers towards determining whether they can reduce their prices – as this is considered the best illustration of the company’s concern for their consumers (Kubasek et al., 2016).
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to guarantee these low prices as these businesses also incur high costs in their quest to ensure they produce the best quality products. In the US, for instance, pharmaceutical companies admit that drug prices in the country are higher than in many other countries but, this is due to numerous factors such as research and development, continued innovation and the cost of patents (Frank & Ginsburg, 2017). These factors are equally important towards supporting the development of quality and effective drugs that would also ensure they fulfill customer needs better. In this regard, pharmaceutical corporations have to ensure a balance in their responsibilities by engaging in additional practices such as corporate social responsibilities. This ensures that while the business strategies such as continued research and development are adequately rewarded through high profits, the profits meet stakeholder expectations but also support other social needs in societies.
Through social initiatives, pharmaceutical companies not only benefit the consumers but also the companies themselves. Chale (2018) posits that one such benefit is the ability to expand their networks as noted through Astellas pharmaceutical company, which through being a member of Access Accelerated, shares resources in implementing social initiatives globally. Access Accelerated conducts research and through pooled funds, ensures increased access to healthcare within different parts of the world. Although Astellas would have had to finance all its operations such as the social initiatives and research, its participation through the network ensures that it can also gain access to additional resources that would support its strategies such as research and development. For a pharmaceutical company or any other which deals in products that are highly critical to human life, engagement in social initiatives can lead to additional advantages.
Response Based on Biblical Worldview

As a for-profit company, I will seek to continue promoting my company’s quest to meet its set standards. However, I will also be careful not to misuse this opportunity as I have a mandate to both my stakeholders and customers. Therefore, I will evaluate my company and identify ways in which I can enhance the company’s ability to meet customer needs in my environment. My assertions in the process of fulfilling these mandates will be guided by the biblical excerpt of Amos 5: 14 to 15 which not only recommends doing good but also administering one’s mandate in a just way. Based on this message, I will seek to enhance profits for my stakeholders but comply with any local regulations and policies regarding my company’s operations. I will also avoid any unfair competitive practices by seeking legal patents for all my innovations and avoid copying other patented innovations from other companies.

In any business environment, the intention will be to find a balance that will foster sustainable practices. Kubasek et al., (2016) acknowledges that through the incorporation of biblical lessons, leaders with religious backgrounds can find appropriate solutions for their companies in regards to solving different challenges within these environments. Generally, Kabusek and his colleagues found out that while creativity supports the ability to solve problems, Christians can get a moral guide from biblical teachings leading to long-term solutions. Notably, the approach has proved useful in the development of the solution proposed.

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