Originally published in the startup business column for “startup right with Harmony” in the Business & Financial Times Newspaper
What does it take to be an ethical business?
Truthfully, it takes a lot. Ethics are linked to individual principles. Businesses are build or established by individuals. And if these individuals; called entrepreneurs have basic individual high ethics, obviously it would be transmitted into their businesses. There’s no doubt that a crook would not establish his or her business on ethical foundations. Entrepreneurs with ethics will make sure their business foundations are built on the ethics they uphold high. So you get to read some companies codes of ethics or core values as “ company’s core values and ethics are built on founders ethics blahblah. Do you get the link?
Responsible entrepreneurs build responsible businesses, it’s that simple.
An ethical business is one that considers the impact of its actions on products and services, it’s immediate environment and people. This must include the end product or service, its origins, how it’s manufactured and its distribution.
This is a basic choice every startup business should make, YES!; but frankly, it’s not that easy.
This does not limit us to “morals or conscience” Business ethics is far stretched to being socially responsible within the environment you operate your business ( social responsibility), employee wages and compensation fairness, adhering to product manufacturing regulations, consumer safety and regrading your country’s business laws and regulations in every way.
How do startup businesses do that?
GET A CODE OF ETHICS
As I have explained above, you as a startup entrepreneur need to adopt ethical operational standards. You need to write down these things that guides how the business must be run. What rules binds employees, what values are important to your business, policies and procedures. Every business runs on these ethics. Get one. Don’t only get one but use it. Implement them in every aspect of your business; from management, operations, production, to consumers. These valuable ethics would not only earn a reputation in the long term but also serve as the basic principles that would increase your profitability and growth.
DON’T CHOOSE THE BILLIONS AT THE COST OF ETHICS
Business profitability is a core focus and very important to business sustainability; but a good business reputation and ethics is what earns and increase the profits. Don’t be deceived. Bad businesses do not last a day. Business ethics are the foundations of your profitability and business wealth.
ADAPT SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (GET YOUR COMPANY ENGAGED IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT )
Without the community, there wouldn’t be a place for business and perhaps no problems or needs to provide solutions to. It is very important to protect the environment and the community you operate as much as you do with your business. Social responsibilities, help build the communities. Engage your business with the community. Have plans in your business plan for them. Practicing social responsibility as part of business ethics earns your business a good social standing (reputation) with the community.
Integrity is one most important element and characteristics of every entrepreneur. In my opinion, business ethics are related to the individual entrepreneur’s ethics. What they believe in, what drives them, what serves as their benchmarks and what they value are very important to the businesses they build. Imagine how many reputable startup businesses our economy would have, if 8 out of 10 every rising startup entrepreneur has some “integrity” that drives the foundation of their businesses? – Big growth, consumer fairness, investment opportunities, enhanced communities, happy employees and the list goes on.