Saturday, September 10, 2011

Business of Best, Invest in Ethics

Strong marketing and advertising plan?  Check.  Front and center product placement? Check.  Good cash flow? Got it.  Employees that work hard and understand your vision? You betcha.  Unwavering ethics and solid underlying principles guiding your business?  Wait just a second. 

Across the business world, there is a general focus on the product, the plan, and the business.  Most managers and CEO’s feel if we have a good product, a smart plan, and a quality business, we will inevitably succeed and achieve dividends for our stakeholders. 

But the power of investing in good business ethics cannot be understated.  Great companies have strong visions and ethical practices.  They give back, remain focused on the customer, and do not cut corners at the expense of society as a whole.  The platform that successful businesses have is compelling and influential.  They have the medium to reach people and make a difference in society as a whole.   

In general, people want to do business with companies that have a positive influence and quality morals.  At the end of the day, we are who we do business with.  If a company is found to be unethical or dishonest, it may never recover.  We never want to be stuck on that sinking ship because it will go down quickly and be forgotten forever.  Good businesses build success through strong ethical considerations.  One way is by giving back to the community.  A strong business understands the concept that when we uplift the surrounding community, we uplift our company.   The late Ray Anderson of Interface is a perfect example of this mentality.

Good ethics come in many different shapes and sizes, and shine a light on the same general values.  It can be the company that supports the local community, the one that is a good steward of the environment, the one that backs numerous philanthropic endeavors, or even the one that is honest and forthcoming with the general public, and focuses on morals and principles, not just dollars and cents.            

Far too often businesses forget to value the vitality of ethics.  They sweep them under the rug, or focus little time or energy on them.  Our vision and morals should be just as clear to consumers as our products.  Think Apple and Steve Jobs as the ultimate example of communicating “vision and morals”.  Think Chick-fil-A--they do more business in six days than most of their competitors do in seven days.  Not only do customers enjoy their product, but they are also catapulted by their clearly articulated ethics and vision.  People should not only know what we sell or offer, but also, what we believe in and what kind of character we have.   When value propositions are equal, clients and consumers will do business with those that they respect, relate to, and admire.  

We are all in the business of being the best and it is crucial to implement strong ethics and morals to help maximize success.  As our business grows, so will the opportunity and the platform to infuse our environment with quality ethics.  Sometimes it costs more and takes more time to do the right thing, but the time and money will pale in comparison if people do not trust our business or if you are caught doing the wrong thing.  I always say their are similarities in the way we should grow our businesses and the way we raise our children.  Teach right from wrong, instill fundamental ethics that are relatable, promote honesty and integrity, and educate on values, character and morals.  Once we take those steps, we will notice changes.  Our business will blossom and grow, consumers will be more welcoming and embrace our brand, and we will inevitably see greater success.    

Ethics and being in the business of the best go hand in hand. 

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