One of the more important attributes for small business success is practicing with carefully developed principles of high ethical standards. When practiced throughout the organization it becomes part of the image of the company and can be an important factor in overall success and how the community views the business.
In the research study, "Does Business Ethics Pay?" by The Institute of Business Ethics (IBE), it was found that companies displaying a "clear commitment to ethical conduct" consistently outperform companies that do not display ethical conduct.
The following are excerpts from that study that I believe merit consideration:
1. Be Trustful: Recognize customers want to do business with a company they can trust; when trust is at the core of a company, it's easy to recognize. Trust defined, is assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, and truth of a business.
2. Keep An Open Mind: For continuous improvement of a company, the leader of an organization must be open to new ideas. Ask for opinions and feedback from both customers and team members and your company will continue to grow.
3. Meet Obligations: Regardless of the circumstances, do everything in your power to gain the trust of past customers and clients, particularly if something has gone awry. Reclaim any lost business by honoring all commitments and obligations.
4. Have Clear Documents: Re-evaluate all print materials including small business advertising, brochures, and other business documents making sure they are clear, precise and professional. Most important, make sure they do not misrepresent or misinterpret.
5. Maintain Accounting Control: Take a hands-on approach to accounting and record keeping, not only as a means of gaining a better feel for the progress of your company, but as a resource for any "questionable” activities. Gaining control of accounting and record keeping allows you to end any dubious activities promptly.
6. Be Respectful: Treat others with the utmost of respect. Regardless of differences, positions, titles, ages, or other types of distinctions, always treat others with professional respect and courtesy.
Recognizing the significance of business ethics as a tool for achieving your desired outcome is only the beginning. A small business that instills a deep-seated theme of business ethics within its strategies and policies will be evident among customers. Its overall influence will lead to a profitable, successful company.
I believe there is merit in the values expressed in this study. Please let me know what you think.