Bad press and lawsuits are things that every business owner fears. Bad press can ruin your reputation, as well as your business, and lawsuits can bankrupt you. The easiest way to avoid both of these situations is to avoid unethical business practices. There are very easy ways to avoid unethical business practices.
First, adhere to the old standby that honesty is the best policy. Be honest in all of your business dealings, whether it concerns vendors, customers, or employees. This also means that you need to use honesty when reporting earnings and expenses, when paying employees and vendors, and when disclosing information to customers.
When you are faced with a complaint, whether that complaint comes from a customer, a vendor, an employee, or the community, the complaint needs to be dealt with head on. Burying your head in the sand, and hoping that the problem will go away will only serve to make the situation worse, and because you are responsible, this isn’t the ethical way to handle problems. Never try to spin your own version of the truth to make the problem not look as bad as it really is. This will only damage your reputation in the long run.
When many companies are using unethical business practices, instead of trying to correct the problem, they try to cover it up. They will even go as far as paying loads of money on advertising and public relations to try to hide the problems at hand. Again, this is an unethical business practice, and it should be avoided. When mistakes are made, address them clearly, apologize, do better, and move on. The community as a whole will respect you a great deal more for this than they will if you do nothing, or try to hide a problem, only to be found out later.
Ethical business issues often arise that have little to do with the workplace, but a great deal to do with the product that is being sold. It could be that there are dangers with the product that were only recently discovered. If you are practicing ethical business, you will notify the public about these dangers, and depending on the extent of the danger, you may need to recall the product – even if it means losing some money, and losing some business in the future. Recall the product and fix the problem, and you will avoid a loss of your reputation, as well as lawsuits. When you recall a product, you get press, but because you took the appropriate ethical action, it isn’t considered to be bad press.
Placing blame is another issue. When problems occur, it seems that a businesses first instinct is to look for someone to blame, instead of taking responsibility for the problem themselves. Not only is this unethical, it is almost childish in nature, and it does little to instill trust in the public, in employees, or in vendors. If the issue arose because of a mistake that an employee made, depending on the seriousness of the problem, the employee may be fired, but it is unethical for the business to name that employee. In the public’s eyes, it is the company that made a mistake, and not an employee.
Again, there are many unethical business practices that crop up in the business world on a day-to-day basis. For your particular business, it is important to constantly monitor yourself and your employees to ensure that you are operating above board, and that unethical business practices are dealt with immediately, in the best possible way.
Source by Jed A. Reay