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Business ethics is sometimes thought to be one of the top oxymoron’s out there. For anyone in business you know this isn’t the case most of the time. There are sharks and there are dolphins out in the world of business. Having an ethical standpoint as an entrepreneur not only makes you feel good but it also may help your business out exponentially. Recently the trend of social consciousnesses is everywhere you look and being both an ethical person and having ethical rules you follow in business goes perfectly with the recent changes. While business can’t always be an ethical place, there are those with some ethical rules they stick by no matter what. Below we asked several entrepreneurs what their most important ethical rules were.
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Photo Credit: Ankur Agarwal
Doing what you said, by the time you said you would do it
We give utmost importance to Integrity in our business. Integrity can be simply defined as ‘doing what you said, by the time you said you would do it’. We practice this both internally and externally. We believe impeccable Integrity is the most powerful way to exist and we take it very seriously as a company. We demand high levels of integrity from our people, this means even taking up responsibility for expectations that were built up even without one committing to a task. This single value has ensured that we earn respect from our customers, media and at the same time build a strong close-knit team.
Thanks to Ankur Agarwal, PriceBaba
Photo Credit: Tomasz Smykowski
Evangelize our clients about business ethics in a practical way
I run a small social media marketing agency. Marketing is an area where nowadays ethics plays a very important role. Many companies are despaired to get new customers on high competition markets in an age of recession and use risky solutions like spamming, using aggressive marketing and so on. We felt from beginning that social media marketing is a new way that enables companies to gain new clients in a honest and upright way. So we choose carefully from all possible solutions for our clients those, that will benefit not only for short term sales, but also will show our clients as trustworthy and safe companies. It is sometimes hard to influence client to step back from some risky campaigns, but it’s worth it, especially when clients see long term benefits of this approach. So my most important ethics rule is to evangelise our clients about business ethics in a practical way.
Thanks to Tomasz Smykowski, Websoul
Photo Credit: Harry Schuhmacher
Always answer all calls and emails in a timely fashion
Our most important ethical rule is to always answer all calls and emails from clients in a timely manner. When you have a paying client, you have a de facto obligation to answer their questions or help resolve their problems. It is not always easy, particularly as a small niche publisher with thousands of readers. With may 10% of them needing help or asking a question at any given time, we sometimes get hundreds of calls and/ emails a day and it can become chaos. But we all chip in — in including the editors and myself if we have to — to make sure our customers are taken care of. It’s the right thing to do.
Thanks to Harry Schuhmacher, BeerNet
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No cheating, lying or stealing to get ahead
The most important thing in business is to always do the right thing. That means never cheating, lying, or stealing to get ahead. There are always opportunities to do the wrong thing because it might speed up growth or put more money into your pocket, but you must always do what’s right and be HONEST.
Thanks to Tyler McGauley, Dealetin
Photo Credit: Bob Fiacco
Ask yourself if anyone is getting hurt by this
To me, and my simple-mind, it boils down to this: is anyone getting hurt unjustly by what is being done? In my world, a fast talking, “slickster” can get anyone to sign anything, if the timing is right. The ramifications of signing can destroy an innocent person or family but it can be perfectly legal. Looking at morality, the hardest issue to deal with is the fact that morality lies in the heart and soul of each man and woman. Morality is not something you and I can easily control within another person. Sadly, all moral or legal issues, at their core, stem from want (greed). Revenge, money, love, possessions, or the desire of one to posses something that another has, are things that can lead one to either break the law or ignore social morality. But as Miller said “peace is found in being not having”. Crimes of greed are all too common in the world today, and we can see and hear them at anytime on the national news. But, what truly pains my soul is to see morally bankrupt individuals who can hide behind the law and destroy others with a clear conscious. It is this simple, in any decision. Ask this one simple question “is anyone getting hurt by what I do?” If you do this and then follow your moral compass, you will find peace.
Thanks to Bob Fiacco
Photo Credit: Masroor Ahmed
Be honest about your skills
As an experienced conversion optimization analyst and web developer I always make sure to be honest about my skills and explain them clearly to my prospective clients. If you aren’t good at something or cannot meet your client’s needs. Don’t hide it and recommend them a better provider for their requirements. They will definitely appreciate your honesty and transparency and will contact you or recommend you to someone in their network if they get something new for you in future.
Thanks to Masroor Ahmed, Invesp
Related Post: The Right Time to Ask for Help and Hire a Consultant
Photo Credit: Richard O’Malley
Deliver on your promises
For me this one is easy. Prior to starting my own company, I was hired by a prop and furniture rental house to run their sales and operations departments. This company hired me, in part, for my sterling reputation, because theirs had been eroded thru poor service. After immediate changes to policies, training and culture, or service improved and our sales were up. We also were able to get former customers to return. Until our owner started to “double book” rental items and send different items to our clients as a “mistake”. The first time, I even treated it as such, the second time, I realized she was causing these mistakes by design and the 3rd time she had my letter of resignation on her desk. My mantra, “Just deliver on your promises”. Once I realized she would not change, I had to walk away from a 6 figure salary and a generous bonus structure. My word is not for sale.
Thanks to Richard O’Malley, The O’Malley Project
Photo Credit: Jeremy Kingsley
Rule #1 – INTEGRITY Integrity matters to all of us. People in positions of authority-government officials, teachers, parents, and the boss at work-are especially on the hot seat. They are constantly observed and analyzed by the people around them. If they display deception, dishonesty, and selfishness, the men, women, and children they hope to influence will instead turn away. No one trusts a cheater and liar. No one wants to give their all for a person who is only about himself. A leader of integrity, however, is a different story. The man or woman who not only talks a good game but also lives it out earns our admiration and respect. This is someone we want to be around. This is someone we can learn from. This is someone we will invest in.. At the corporate level and in your individual interactions with your team, integrity is everything. Your people will follow you anywhere if they know you are honest and trustworthy. They will produce because they believe in who you are as a person. Human beings can usually tell instinctively whether someone is open and genuine or deceptive and inauthentic. Our senses warn us when someone has a personal agenda that he or she is trying to hide. When that person is our boss, we hardly feel inspired to go the extra mile, to stay the extra hours needed to make projects truly excellent. That’s why, as a leader, it’s so important for you to cultivate an attitude of honesty and openness. There’s an undeniable link between truth, transparency, integrity, and trust. If your team sees you leaving out one of these traits in your interactions at work, the chain is broken. They’ll turn away-or maybe even turn on you. Candid speech and transparent actions, on the other hand, are inspiring. They unlock commitment and creativity, bringing out the best in the people around you. Integrity is especially critical during your company’s worst moments. Every organization faces crisis sooner or later, but some seem to avoid catastrophes more easily than others. People don’t quit on organizations. They quit on people. If you are deceptive and dishonest in your dealings with your staff, expect them to move on quickly. On the other hand, if you display integrity in every interaction with your team, they’ll be motivated to earn your praise and respect.
Thanks to Jeremy Kingsley
The Golden Rule
The most important ethical rule has always been The Golden Rule – to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you will treat clients and potential clients with kindness, patience, respect, as if their time is important, and be honest and fair in all your dealings, they will want to do business with you.
Thanks to René Girard, Hesed Insurance Solutions
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Photo Credit: Melissa Picoli
Being adamant in our transparency
I have worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, and it is riddled with unethical behaviors which depend on women’s ancient desire to look their best. Marketing claims based on fluff, ingredient labels distorted and, worst of all, damaging ingredients hidden amongst “natural” ingredients. BijaBody is adamant about transparency, which in this industry, is increasingly difficult. Among the sea of beauty products at our disposal, there are a few handfuls of great ones, created by true product lovers and beauty experts such as estheticians. It makes our marketing efforts more difficult, but worthwhile, because our ultimate goal, our backbone, is great beauty products, ethical ingredient sourcing, and remembering that first and foremost, as an esthetician driven company, we are the client’s skin advocate, not just their product seller.
Thanks to Melissa Picoli, BijaBody