Do You Know Right from Wrong? How Business Ethics Can Change Your Life

By Alyssa Gregory

There really isn’t a deep separation between business and personal ethics. In my experience, you either act ethically in your life, or you don’t. And many times, we don’t really think about ethics and the consequences of how we act until we are in business, when the impact goes beyond simply identifying right from wrong.

Developing a strong base of values and ethics in your business can help you build a positive reputation and present an image of integrity. But, the principles you follow in your business can also be followed in your day-to-day life and have very positive results.

Here is an overview of some universal principles of ethics and how they can translate into guiding you toward a more enriched and conscious personal life.

Reputational Compliance

Reputational Compliance


In Business: Trustworthiness is a core principle of business ethics. Your clients want to work with people they trust, and this trust can be the foundation for a number of other ethical principles.

In Life: It’s a simple concept in life – most people don’t like to have relationships with people that are dishonest or disloyal. Being trustworthy and honest can strengthen your relationships.


In Business: In the business world, having objectivity in all of your relationships is vital. There are many situations when you may be faced with a conflict and can reach a fair solution only through neutrality.

In Life: On a personal level, maintaining an open mind can lead to richer experiences and increased personal depth. You can also develop stronger personal relationships by being willing to listen to opposing viewpoints and impartially consider the opinions of others.


In Business: Providing full disclosure in your business – through your accounting practices, policies and in possible cases of conflict of interest – will make your business reputation stronger and more appealing to new clients.

In Life: Friends and family appreciate directness and sincerity in personal relationships. By consistently being candid, open and approachable you can develop better relationships with the most important people in your life.


In Business and Life: Respect is a core principle that has mirrored impact in both business and personal lives. If you treat others with respect, and value the individual worth of each person you encounter, you will get that respect back in all aspects of your life.


In Business: Ethical companies follow the accepted rules and regulations in business, whether it’s adhering to confidentiality requirements or following environmental policies.

In Life: There are certain activities that include compliance with the law, civil, and environmental expectations that will make you a more socially responsible individual, which can enrich your life.

Community Involvement

In Business: Giving back to the community (local, industry and online) can be a valuable way to advance your business, improve your reputation, and help you become more directly involved in the advancement of others.

In Life: Living a life of benevolence, whether through structured volunteering or just consistently doing good, can make you more emotionally prosperous. Plus, it just feels good to help others without expecting anything in return!

What other principles of business ethics apply to your personal life?


Alyssa Gregory is a small business collaborator and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire, a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.


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