Why Honesty and Good Business Ethics Pay Off
Honesty and good business ethics are important. In the small business world, news quickly gets around about business owners who value their customers and conduct themselves in an ethical way – the same holds true in a negative way for businesses that are not so ethical or honest.
I always remember a concept used during my marketing training: If a person loves your product or service they are likely to tell one friend; if they hate it they will tell eleven. Think about it and you’ll find it’s true. I personally broadcast more bad service, than I praise good. As a small business owner I would prefer to see/hear one good review than receive eleven bad.
I made an error today – it was small, and didn’t impact my client but it so easily could have. I used my error on Social Media to promote the fact that Virtuoso-PA is human and fallible. It was such a tiny mistake on my part; I forgot to order in replacement printer cartridges – while knowing that I had a hefty mail merge to print for a client. But, it was an error. Yes, even the experienced sometimes miss those tiny mistakes that can really put a massive bolder in the way of reaching a deadline.
Thankfully in my instance it was easily rectified, it just cost me financially. If it was an error on my part that had impacted my client, would I have let them know ~ the answer on my part is a resounding yes, of course. In a competitive world where small businesses need to stand out in order to survive, honesty is even more important.
So, here are my tips to running an ethical and honest business:
# Treat people with respect – You’ve probably been taught to treat people how you’d like to be treated. The same holds true in business. Customers will notice when they are being treated fairly and respectfully. If a customer has an issue or is upset, it’s even more important that we listen to them and ensure they are properly taken care of. Your customer’s reaction is simply a sign that they are frustrated and angry.
# Honesty is the best policy – Whether it comes down to a testimonial for your website or deciding what fee to charge for your service, it pays to be honest and fair in all you do. Misuse of information or a testimonial can come back and bite you hard on the backside, and it’s just not worth the hassle in the first instance. You can always start out with testimonials from family members or friends which are still honest.
When it comes to fees for services, it’s not to say you should undercharge for your services or necessarily use other businesses as a guide, but do think about your customers and whether or not you feel your fees are truly fair all around.
# Don’t cut corners – If a customer is paying good money for a set service then they will expect to receive that service to a high level. It’s important to maintain a high standard and not cut corners – whether it’s in regards to products or services. Taking shortcuts can lead to business disaster and a not so positive reputation.
# Give back – Not everyone will agree that all businesses inherently have a responsibility to their communities and those less fortunate, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if perhaps they did? Giving back to the community, even in the smallest of ways, can make a difference to all involved.
You don’t have to be a large business to give back; a little goes a long way. Donating to a book fund at your local school or helping to build a community garden, giving back can take ways in many forms and is beneficial to everyone. If financially it’s not viable for you to give back, how about offering an entrepreneurship to a local teen who would like to start a business? With a little thought, it’s easy to find a way to make a difference.
# Stick to your word – This is a fundamental part of good business ethics. Whether it’s meeting your deadlines or following through with a venture you agreed to, sticking to your word is always the best policy. People will come to respect you for your dependability and honesty. Customers are more likely to want to do business with someone they know they can rely on and you’ll feel better for accomplishing something that is often not easy for many.
Sometimes things happen and it’s difficult for us to follow through but wherever possibly try your best. It will pay dividends in the long run if you practice good business ethics. Not to mention it simply being the right thing to do.