In today's fast-paced world where time is money, you'd hardly find a business which is not driven by profit. Since most businesses are financially driven, the focus is to earn as much money as possible, without regard of how the company's decisions will affect the people, environment, and community.
So if you're aiming to make an impact through your small business, you know you're in for a challenge. More often than not, ethics is sacrificed in favor of success but if you're committed to making a difference, you can make it happen. Here are five rules to live by so you can be an ethical and successful small business owner.
1. Respect your employees.
Yes, you own the business and your employees wouldn't be there if you didn't hire them in the first place. However, a true leader and smart business owner recognizes his employees' contribution to the success of the business. He values their opinion, treats them with respect, and makes sure that their efforts are recognized and rewarded.
2. Do the right thing.
Adhering to local, state, and federal laws should be a no brainer for every business owner. However, you'll be surprised to discover how many businesses find means and ways to avoid paying taxes. You should do the opposite if you want to be an ethical business owner. Furthermore, you'll be faced with different situations where you'll be tempted to compromise your values for profit. When this happens, choose what you deem is the most ethically responsible course of action. It may not always result to profit for your small business but karma will surely repay you one day.
3. Live by your core values.
Almost all businesses in existence have their unique and own set of core values. You'll rise to the top if you not only formulate your own core values, mission, and vision statements but if you live by them in all areas of your business. When your employees see the example you set, they'll likely follow you and when that happens, your business success will be within reach.
4. Provide a safe working environment for everyone.
An ethical business owner and employer not only respects his employees; he also values their lives as much as he value his. With this said, it's a must that you provide a safe working environment for the people who work for you. You have to come up with preventative steps that will decrease workplace injuries, if they can't be totally eliminated.
5. Give back to the community.
I can't stress enough the importance of giving back to your community as a business. It's the measure of your heart as your company's leader. It's a reflection of your values as a person. Your business success would not be complete and final unless you live by your corporate responsibility through activities like fund raising programs and community service.
Striving to make an impact by being an ethical employer is a tough feat but it's never impossible. When faced with a situation that tempts you to go left, always remember that there are consequences to every wrong decision. You may not have to face them right away but sooner or later, you will. When that happens, it won't be pretty. So help your business succeed by choosing the high road no matter what happens. Because at the end of the day, your business is not only your way to make money; it's your legacy.