While the business of becoming an entrepreneur may seem simple enough there are plenty of considerations you should be making before taking that leap. For example, is it possible to master both entrepreneurship and ethics? The subjects of philanthropy and ethics are incredibly hot right now, with numerous business owners choosing to give a little back. You’ll soon come to discover that your establishment of a moral compass can dictate your success too; ethical businesses tend to attract customers, keep employees content, and attract investors, while taking care of your community will ensure you are well respected and inspire a real sense of camaraderie about your business.
Finding a balance between ethics and entrepreneurship can be a difficult task; how do you ensure you’re still turning a profit while contributing to the local community, and doing your best to remain ethical at every turn? The great news is that if you’re prepared to follow a few simple steps it could be easier than you think.
Understand the implications of ethics
So, you’re concerned about ethics and would like to ensure you’re operating as ethically as possible? It’s essentially to understand the implications of ethics, and to decide how your business would operate as an ethical venture. Put simply, ethics is a system of moral principles; a philosophy that groups society, businesses and individuals, and determines how the three can co-exist harmoniously, and prosperously. Right and wrong, and action and reaction are a huge part of ethics. The ways you choose to source products, the rates you pay for services, and the decisions you make regarding welfare, will all determine your ability to operate ethically. Sustainability, fairness, and codes of conduct are the name of the game here; Welcome to ethics in business.
Establish a solid strategy
You may have decided that you’d like to run your venture with a philanthropic or ethical edge, but you’re going to need a solid business strategy in order to turn that dream into a reality. Consider the ways your business can become truly socially responsible, and think about how your plans to donate your profit might work in reality. Look to those that have gone before you. How did they succeed or fail, and what might you learn from their approach? Ensure that your strategy includes targets, delegation where applicable, and a sustainable plan for the future. For the time being aim to give tactically, starting small, and your reputation will soon precede you.
Supporting local communities and businesses
As a great leader you’ll understand the importance of rallying your workforce; camaraderie can improve morale, productivity, and employee wellbeing, in much the same way that it can encourage community spirit and business success. As an entrepreneur or small business owner it’s your responsibility to get to know your local community, and to offer assistance in any way you’re able. Mentorships, involvement in community projects, educational programs, and job prospects all have the chance to improve a community that has supported you thus far. President of Olympiacos FC, Vangelis Marinakis, has put his best foot forward and inspired his team with his support of the refugees residing at the Port of Piraeus; entrepreneurship is about inspiring change, and about pushing change to the fore of public consciousness.
Donating a portion of profits to charity
Oakland-based office supplies company Give Something Back was founded in 1991 following a chance encounter in a grocery store. Discovering that the profits of Newman’s Own sauces were donated to charity, rather than being used to pay rich business managers, Mike Hannigan was inspired to begin his own philanthropic adventure; Give Something Back was born. Perhaps the easiest way for entrepreneurs to incorporate ethics into business is ensure that profits are being used for good. Indeed, donating portions of profits to charity is fast becoming a popular way for businesses to give a little back, in a relatively quick and easy way. Decide whether there’s a charity you’d particularly like to back, or consider appointing a new charity each month, or each quarter. How much would you like to donate? What percentage of your profits can you afford to allocate to charity? Volunteering your workforce’s time, while donating products and services to worthy causes are two other popular ways to give a little back. Nothing beats the feelings inspired by philanthropy, or the knowledge that your business is doing an infinite amount of good.
Become a voice for change
If you’ve been inspired by a fellow entrepreneur consider becoming a voice for change; we know about, and understand, the philosophy of ethics in business because dedicated businessmen and women are choosing to talk about their experiences of ethical and philanthropic business ventures. Safia Minney is an entrepreneur and author. She founded People Tree, which sells sustainable and Fair Trade fashion, and spends a great deal of her time talking about ethics in business; indeed, there are several savvy entrepreneurs like Safia willing and able to do the same. Consider the impact your business is having on the community, and think about sharing your journey; you never know whom you might inspire.
The times, they are a-changing. Entrepreneurs are now more socially conscious and aware than ever before, and it has never been more important to consider how your business venture might incorporate philanthropy and ethics – particularly if you’re fond of the idea of building an empire based on customer satisfaction, healthy working relationships, and a real sense of community. Ethical businesses thrive in the modern era, as we become increasingly aware of the impact our actions have upon the rest of the world. Follow the advice of those mentioned within this article, and build your own path to success.