For a lot of people, business is just a method of making money, and running a business is a means of doing so while remaining autonomous. However, this kind of simplistic approach completely eliminates all the ethical dilemmas that an aspiring entrepreneur encounters on a regular basis.
Contrary to popular belief and conspiracy theories, running an ethical business pays off in the long run. Here’s how to make sure your business approach is ethical and how you can benefit from this practice.
Treating Your Employees Right
Harassment of your employees is never a smart idea. Even if it weren’t a violation of the ethical code and something that you can legally answer for, it lowers the staff morale. Sure, some entrepreneurs and business coaches hide behind the idea that “tough love” can be a powerful motivator. Still, even the tough-love approach can be used in a non-abusive manner.
Being a bit stricter with your employees is fine as long as you’re not:
- Humiliating them.
- Doing this with the intent of doing them harm.
- Asking them to do things that are not in their job description.
- Treating different employees in your company differently.
Just remember that there’s the time to be strict and the time to be generous (even inspiring). You shouldn’t go for one without the other.
Producing Quality Product
Producing a quality product is one of the essential parts of your corporate code of ethics. Why? Well, because, through advertising, you’re making certain promises to your customers. By failing to deliver, you will be punished severely.
- First, your reputation will take a massive hit.
- Second, you might even become liable for false advertising.
- Third, once you start slackening standards, things will most likely continue in this manner.
- Fourth, some products are potentially dangerous when not done right. For instance, without a proper vaccine refrigerator, it is impossible to guarantee the safety of the product.
The main reason why people allow their product standards to fall is that they want to save money on materials. This also happens when they decide to lower their recruitment/training standards. The problem is that these practices sound like something that saves money, although there’s nothing further from the truth.
Being Honest and Transparent
Lying to your employees is a trick that only works once. Sure, the first time you promise them a bonus and then fail to pay, it will seem like you’ve done something awfully clever. The problem is that it won’t work the next time. Chances are that even if you do pay up the next time, this won’t be enough to earn back their trust. It will remain a blemish on your character and authority. The same goes for any employee promises you fail to deliver.
Deceiving your clients can be just as bad. This is the quickest way for you to lose a positive reputation in the business world, earn negative reviews, and even get sued. Also, keep in mind that return business is incredibly profitable. So, you’re not just losing a potential client – you’re losing them relatively early in their customer lifecycle.
Consistency and Fairness
Whatever you do, it’s important that you’re both consistent and fair. This is one of the essential requirements for running a business in any industry. Pulling a massive project once doesn’t mean as much in the long run if you can’t do the same thing in the future. Honoring your clients once doesn’t mean much if you let them down the next time.
Also, you need to be consistent and true to your own principles. By treating your smallest client like if they were a multi-billion-dollar business, you will earn their respect and loyalty. Remember that a long-term partnership pays itself off in many different ways. A valuable person in your network of contacts goes a long way.
The main reason why fraternizing with employees is bad is because it will lead to accusations of favoritism (even if there is none). First of all, it is natural for a person to treat better people that they like. Still, as an employer, this is a luxury that you can’t afford. Second, sometimes you don’t even have to do anything of the sort – it’s enough that you are merely accused of this for the damage to be done.
Treating your employees badly will make them leave; making low-quality products will make you lose money; etc. For some people, it doesn’t take much to understand why being ethical in your business practices is so important. However, even those who aren’t too concerned about their ability to be ethical need to understand just how important it is to play by these rules. As you can see, there is such a thing as instant karma in the business world and if you behave badly, bad things will happen to your business.