Expensive To Argue

The Cost of Argument in Business



The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word “argue” as to put forth reasons for or against; to attempt to prove by reasoning; and to persuade or influence by presenting reasons.


To argue, per se, may not be as bad as it seems because it is a way to voice out reasons or opinions. It only seems to bring negative results due to its contradicting nature. This is especially true when an argument takes place in business.


Getting into an argument is never a win-win situation. Winning an argument does not represent total victory as the loser will never be convinced and will never admit he is wrong, even though it may already be evident. What is terrifying is the constant threat of vengeance coming from the loser who will stage a “comeback” just to salvage his reputation or prove his point.  


It is expensive to argue in business. You need to spend so much energy and time to defend your position.  In business, time represents money.


If you are a businessperson, consider the cost of salary you pay your employees and the equivalent man-hours they spend in arguing. This does not even take into account the potential lost customers and prospects. Whatever is gained from arguing may not be enough to cover the time lost which could have been devoted to productive endeavors.


People oftentimes overlook one important effect of arguments. An argument often results to stained or damaged reputations. Please take note that in any network, bad news travels fast. If lady luck is not on your side, it may even affect your business to a magnitude you never thought possible.


The sad part about stained reputations is that it can ruin the business, as it is extremely difficult to remove the stain. Somehow, people always remember the bad reputation than the effort exerted to cleanse the image.


If you are the head of a business enterprise and you come across situations that might lead to an intense argument with a client, compose yourself.  Think wisely and promptly. Think outside the box if you have to. If the cost of giving in to a customer’s request does not overwhelmingly exceed the cost of arguing, give in to the request. Do it immediately and ask no further questions.


This kind of attitude led to the popularity of one mantra used by businesspersons: “The customer is always right.” Although, some people tend to attach a different meaning to this rather simple motto, it remains a cornerstone to excellent business relationships.


Please take note that most businesses prosper when this motto is followed. Although the motto is not displayed in business places, it remains to be enforced in almost all kinds of businesses, be it in the manufacturing, retail, service and other industries.


Arguments, per se, are not naturally bad. What makes it devastating is the long-term effect on the parties involved, if the arguments go out of control.