Sometimes, a business gets to a crossroads where you have to decide between doing what’s right and embracing a practice that will put the business at an advantage. Do you adopt the philosophy of honesty being the best policy or do you do what needs to get done? Ethics are an important aspect of any business and can often dictate whether it becomes successful or not. While not laid down in law, ethical practices form the lenses through which your business is judged within the area they operate in. Here are five ethical practices that should be an integral part of the operations of a small business.
Try honesty and openness
Embracing honesty and openness when communicating with your stakeholders is empirical to the success of the business. Employees need to know what is going on and why they do what they are assigned to do. Hiding information from them only works in the short-term before everything implodes. You also need to practice honesty with your clients when it comes to products and services provided to them.
Give integrity in exchange for trust
Apart from honesty, you need to practice integrity too. This can be especially difficult in the online world where there are tools that can easily manipulate processes without anyone noticing. For example, Facebook has options that allow you to backdate posts which can be used to beat missed deadlines. Integrity breeds trust. The Small Business Support Network has management tips to help leaders in small businesses get the best out of their teams.
Practice fairness in all dealings
When you are in a position to make decisions on the business, you usually have power and control in your hands. This can often be tempting to manipulate to your liking. You should however exercise such control within the laid-down boundaries and business policies. The business is a separate entity from yourself, even if you are the owner. Let no one- whether an employee or a customer- feel they are being discriminated against or being given preferential treatment.
In the line of duty, as long as your security and health is not at stake, the interests of the business supersede yours. You stay loyal to the goals and aspirations of the business. When faced with a conflict of interest, make sure you let the business know of it and if possible, let others handle the task.
You should also be loyal to other people interacting with the business and not put them at a compromise. However, do not let your loyalty to a given member of the team make you abandon other ethical practices.
Play by the law
Being law abiding doesn’t mean being seen to respect the rule of law. It means not finding ways to go around the laws. It is important to observe the laid-down laws and regulations regarding the business. Do not trample on other people’s rights while safeguarding your own rights. Most businesses find it difficult to play by law especially when it comes to competition. If the business can, it should keep a lawyer on a retainer to always ensure the legal framework is abided by.