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Great Entrepreneurs Apologize When Needed

December 17, 2015

Business advice for women entrepreneurs and small businesses


I couldn’t help but notice the full page letter in this morning’s Syracuse Post Standard from Chipotle Founder Steve Ellis apologizing for the recent E. coli outbreaks that sickened 140 people in a Boston restaurant. I paid extra attention to the story because I am positive my son who was a Boston College Basketball Manager two years ago would have eaten there with the team who got sick in the outbreak if he didn’t graduate a year ago.

chipotleapology Last week I also happened to catch Steve Ellis’ interview on Today Show. I applaud him for is his honest approach to rectifying this major incident and his sincere apology seen on air and in print. I am sure the Syracuse newspaper isn’t the only place this full page ad appears across the nation.

Women entrepreneurs and small business owners can take a lesson from Mr. Ellis. First of all, we must be willing to recognize when we make a mistake that affects our customers and be forthright and honest in addressing this issue. We must then find an immediate solution. We must be strong enough to apologize for our company’s errors because as the CEO of an enterprise we hold ultimate responsibility for any negative that occurs.

Although I have not eaten at a Chipotle Restaurant Steve’s apology, his commitment to making his restaurant chain the safest in the industry by implementing superior improvements to ensure this doesn’t happen again and then spending advertising dollars to share the information with consumers, makes me willing to eat at his restaurant in the future.

Business owners should never forget public relations is an essential tool when trouble arises. We must be educated in when and how to deliver important media statements when needed. We must be willing to communicate honestly with our valued clients. We need to deliver an apology when it is necessary because it will counter act anything bad that occurred under our watch and because it is the right thing to do.

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