Do you have 

business ethics?


Mark Coster

Founder of Pixooma

You hear the word ethics and ethical banded about a lot these days, as increasing numbers of businesses want to attract customers by demonstrating that they display the right kind of values, principles and behaviours. But what does it really mean and why should you strive to not only have good ethics, but be keen to demonstrate them at every opportunity?

Having business ethics are good in many ways. They can:

Provide a competitive advantage

Improve your reputation

Enable referrals and testimonials

Help you attract like-minded individuals to both work for you and work with you

Limit risk

Ever been chatting to someone who doesn’t appear to care about their customers, only their fees or how much more they can upsell?

Whilst I know what is good and bad and indeed morally right or wrong, it’s also important to me that when I engage with others, whether as clients or suppliers, that we have shared ethics. When this happens, business tends to work better with everyone happier as a result. Knowing where you and others stand when it comes to a moral compass, can make a relationship, however fleeting, a more positive experience.

Baffling secret formulas

I tend to find that networking tends to attract those with sound ethics and morals. Occasionally, however, you do meet some individuals without any scruples. What always amazes me is that instead of hiding their dubious behaviours, they seem keen to demonstrate them, either deliberately or sub-consciously.

For example, we’ve all been cornered by someone who wants to enlighten us about their latest somewhat shadowy get-rich-quick scheme. You know the type? They usually involve a loophole, dodgy scheme or ‘secret formula,’ that you are not privy to, which guarantees unrivalled success, but only if they are by your side raking in their cut! As soon as someone starts talking like this, I make a mental note never to collaborate with them or refer anyone to them.

Or you end up chatting to someone who doesn’t appear to care about their customers, only their fees or how much more they can upsell. And there there’s those on the lookout for the latest way to fleece someone by bragging about what they can do, when you know full well that they will be outsourcing the main part of the project to a third party and not telling the customer about it.

All above board!

Recently I came across a guy who wanted to introduce me to a company that could ‘clear’ my mortgage and credit cards legally for a very reasonable 10% fee. This piqued my interest as it sounded 'too good to be true' and on further investigation proved to be just so. In fact I'd go as far as to say it was morally negligent. When I asked where does the debt go, i.e effectively who ends up with the debt, the response was ‘I don’t know, and I don’t care.’ Not quite the sort of company that I want to get involved with. They gave me a website address to prove the legitimacy of the business, but having looked at it I was even more unsettled. Forget a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside a simulated reality, this company were reliving the Matrix daily and were literally awash with a plethora of conspiracy theories. Safe to say I stopped looking at the site as it was utter madness!

How do your business ethics stack up and do you trust businesses who don’t have any. And who you feel at the first sign of trouble, would not be around long enough to help?

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