Business ethics or business values
At the core of each business is the reason why that business was set up and the vision behind it. This is not just something paraphrased to form a vague sentiment and put up on your website; but rather an honest account of the thought process of the founders when they decided to embark on an entrepreneurial journey and affect the lives of so many people who would join them in the form of employees, customers and suppliers. Of course business is carried out with a profit motive, but the important point that is inherently understood and ingrained in all successful businesses is that profit should never be “at any cost”. This is where we enter the realm of business ethics and values.
A businessman is valued by the experience he carries with him. Whether business is carried out as a single venture between partners or with a long term perspective; the business person always remembers what worked and what didn’t. He benefits from his experience and always looks to replicate a winning formula. From this perspective, business is always for the long term. Short term gains are frittered away quickly and your reputation is what stays with you.
Why values are important
Each business has a set of values that flow from the top level management to the bottom These values align with the mission statement and reflect the kind of business that is being run. For a business to survive multiple generations these values have to be solid and adhered to without compromise even in difficult situations. We can take a look at some values for a deeper understanding.
This is a fundamental value which builds trust in the business. You deliver what is promised to the customer without any deception that would be interpreted as cheating or that would influence the pricing of the product or service.
2. Beneficial to society
Many businesses are run with an underlying value of providing something that benefits society. There are some businesses that cannot incorporate this value like for instance cigarette manufacturers or tobacco companies.
While accepting responsibility to deliver a product or service, the business is accountable for keeping its obligations to all stakeholders and making up for areas where it has lagged behind.
You might have got an understanding by now how values shape the performance of a company and the way it operates. A fundamental principle taught to marketing professionals is that people buy from people that they trust. A company comprises of the people who run it. The easiest way to build a good reputation and earn peoples trust is by having good intentions in the first place and the rest will naturally fall in place. You will get referrals and testimonials simply by sticking to your values and a job well done.
Absence of values in business
On the other side of the spectrum are the fly by night operators, conmen and people looking to make a quick buck. They have no moral values of right or wrong to adhere to and their business practises are predatory and unethical. They treat customers as fools waiting to have their money taken from them. They exist on all levels of the food chain and can appear suave and sophisticated. Are they successful in their endeavours and does their success justify their deeds? I think you would agree that more often than not such businesses are short lived and the individual who follows unethical practises is cast out of society and disgraced.