A business could be doing extremely well financially, but if there are questionable practices within the organization, then true success has not been reached. Creating an ethically sound business means more than just overseeing the books and being honest to customers.
It also includes accepting some social responsibility and being certain that your obligations are met.
Below are some tips to keep in mind when considering the ethical health of your small business.
Review All Printed Materials
Every time your small business creates anything printed, copies should be kept permanently on file.
For as long as that material is being used, it should be reviewed on a regular basis. This is particularly true if it is common for your business to have changes, such as in pricing or services offered.
Even if your business remains fairly constant, a quick review of all printed materials in use will help ensure that no bad information is being put out there.
Once the materials are no longer in use, they should be moved to a separate file where they can be easily accessed should there ever be a question in the future about what was once advertised or claimed.
Pay the Bills – On Time
Being ethical with your customers is certainly of the utmost importance, but it’s just as important to maintain proper business ethics with your vendors.
It’s tough sometimes to meet financial obligations, especially when the business is just starting out. Even when it’s not easy, you should do everything in your power to pay bills on time.
But it’s not just about the money – it’s about doing what you said you’d do. Whether it’s paying bills as agreed, returning phone calls when promised or delivering goods by the contracted date, you must keep your word.
Ethics IN the Office
You’re the boss. That’s great, but some business owners and managers who interact perfectly with customers and people outside the office behave much differently inside the office walls. This is why business management ethics is so important.
Treating subordinates poorly is unacceptable. Aside from the fact that workers may be treated unfairly, such practices create an unpleasant work environment, and that is counterproductive to the success of your business in every way.
People within your organization – from the CEO to the receptionist – should all be treated with respect and consideration. This must be something that you demand not only of yourself but of your managers as well.
If you notice that this is a problem area, consider some business management ethics training to help correct the situation.
Remember an organization that is unhealthy inside cannot be healthy on the outside.
Business Social Responsibility
In the same way that individuals have a social responsibility within their communities, so do businesses. Find ways that your business can be a benefit to the community.
Ideas include holding food drives during the holiday or giving your employees a day off to take part in a Habitat for Humanity community service event or some other community project.
Practicing good corporate business ethics is a choice. There will be times when it will be easier to make a choice that is contrary to proper ethics, but you have the power to do the right thing even when it’s not easy.
Even if it’s inconvenient or costs a little more, doing the right thing will pay dividends that may not be evident right away, but it will last for years and will help your small business find true and total success.