Friday, September 17, 2010

Establish Your Business’s Ethics

After listening to some of the present-day television and radio talk show hosts, you may despair that any fair play or ethics in politics or business have become a thing of the past. That is the media. Ethics are still very important in how you conduct yourself in your business, as it relates to your customer relations and also the standards of your industry and-or profession. You may not realize it, but your business will reflect your standards, your philosophy, and your moral values. For example, Ellen, a professional organizer, does not take any gifts from clients. “They will say, ‘Here, you can have this glass vase or dish,’ as we are cleaning out their home,” she says. “Instead, I urge them to get a licensed appraiser to assess their items and then they can either sell them, give them to others (not me), or keep them with their estate.”

Here are some guidelines for establishing your business’s ethics:
*Be honest in your dealings with your customers and business associates. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, make reasonable amends, and then take steps to ensure it will not happen again.

*Be fair and treat all customers, subcontractors, and-or employees with equal respect. *Check to see if your trade industry recommends a code of ethics to follow. It will help legitimize your business. For example, the Direct Selling Association ( has an ethics code for its members.

*Follow your instincts, common sense, and the “Golden Rule.” As one woman entrepreneur says, “If a client or business associate requests I do something with which I am not comfortable, even if it appears to be potentially lucrative, I will not do it.”

*Exchange information freely with others in your industry. You never know what leads they may give back in return. You can also discuss how they have handled ethical problems.

Establish your business principles now to be your guide should you ever face a moral dilemma or problem.

Suggested Resources
*Book: Street-Smart Ethics: Succeeding in Business Without Selling Your Soul by Clinton W. McLemore
*Article: U. S. Small Business Administration’s “Business Planner,” article on writing your business’ ethics:

Next: Is your personality entrepreneurial?

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