In our world of online business, many things have gone astray.
In fact, something has gone terribly wrong. In the chase for wealth and success, business ethics have been worn to shreds, trampled on, and burnt to ash. At one time, perhaps there was a loose form of rules and regulations that applied, but now there only exists different forms of chaos, greed, and hype. Perhaps your little corner of the Internet is not quite this bad, but for most — especially our prospective customers — this is a daily online occurrence.
And it is really unfortunate.
Business ethics require a high standard of integrity. Integrity refers to reliability, consistency, and wholeness. Ethical businesses take care of people with esteem, honesty, and integrity. They maintain their promises, and they honor their commitments no matter what the cost.
The global, international concept of business is primarily based on the tenet of competition for limited assets. This results in the routine of getting the most out of one’s gains at the expense of other people. This has the outcome of creating a class structure of those who “have,” and those who “have not.” This is really equal to “destroying the enemy” — effectively, other human beings. This could even be viewed as a form of suicide, if we take into account the old cartoon character, Pogo. He is famous for saying that the enemy is “Us.”
In some cases, Pogo was right.
A model of “ethics” is based essentially on moral principles. That is, the principles of right and wrong, as determined by the core human standards that we, as human beings, hold treasured in our hearts. These are underlying values of love, compassion, fairness, honesty, reverence, peace, joyfulness, success, harmony, beauty, and so many more of the greatest things in the experience of humankind.
Many of the ethical concerns that we may face are not clearly black or white. In actual fact, two people facing the same question could quite possibly make divergent decisions, while also judging that they each have made the best principled decision.
Because ethical judgements are established by one’s moral character. When it comes to honorable behavior, we each march to the beat of different drummers, and as such, will make different decisions that are miles apart on similar issues.
In our new millennium with its expanded technologies, no one would debate that business ethics are being dissected now more than ever. The Internet is not unaffected when it comes to the subject of ethics — security of personal data, spam, privacy, and general considerations of trust are all factors with which the genuine online marketer must learn to contend.
We need to begin by remembering that appropriate marketing ethics in the offline world also apply in the online world. For example, false advertising is still something that just shouldn’t be done. Simply put, never, ever attempt to deceive your customer, be prepared to support your claims, and always deliver on what you promote. That which you sell has got to have the exact qualities of what you claimed it to have.
Business ethics require a business plan. Without one, your promotions as well as your product, tend to be “loose as a goose.” A company’s ethics are built on its self image, its vision for the future, and its stance in the community. Business ethics do not take place in a vacuum. The more succinct the company’s plan is for profits and service, growth, and stability, the more tenacious its commitment is to ethical business practices.
As a business owner you must set your “acceptable level” for ethical behavior. Make integrity a mainstay value; be honest with your customers and employees; always follow the rules; never “bargain” with your principles; and remember — the “right” thing is not always the reverse of the “wrong” thing. Follow the things in this short paragraph, and your customers will respect you. Your employees will continue to be loyal. These are essential ingredients to a thriving business.
While we can point accusatory fingers at corporations, lawmakers, and those in political places… each of us also has a personal accountability to be part of the cause and solutions for the ethical fabric of our everyday lives. So, how can we support one another in these raging disputes? What can we do to assist each other so that we all can arrive at ethical decisions, and conduct ourselves in the best ethical manners?
Again, I’d like to repeat that there is never a compromise for good ethical standards. Not only is this important on an unseen, deeper level… it is also a basic component of long-term business or personal success. A breach of ethics does absolutely nothing to help a home-based business — small and therefore more vulnerable — but it does risk destroying what you’ve worked so hard to establish.
Every ethical business person should be encouraged, even challenged, to stand up and make your voice heard when you come in contact with unethical behavior.
You not only have the right to do this, you truly have the responsibility to do so.
Life is just too short for wasting time with people who are not trustworthy and believable in their actions.