It is hard to start a business especially if you are alone but come to think of it, if you are working with other people there will be disagreements or differences in direction or ideas which may help you or slow you down.
We all know we need resources, skills and knowledge in starting and running businesses. You need this to make the first step and to continue moving forward towards your goal.
But is there such a thing as a tight business, the “right” way? Right meaning, morally correct. If there is what we call a good moral human being, is there such thing as good moral business?
Our Business is who we are
Our businesses are essentially us. The entrepreneur who starts the business, who poured his blood and seat in making his dreams happen. His aspirations and dreams coming together. His passion and knowledge which keeps the business growing is the entrepreneur and the people involved to make it happen defines the business.
It is like an artist. Ask people to draw a house and you would get different results. Even if you have them copy a picture you may get different versions of it,
People running a business do the same. Even in similar fields. People will have different goals, different ways to run things and the different values they hold.
Your values will dictate your decision making. If you are to choose between a handful of clients for the long term or many but limited clients. People may decide that security and the longer business relationship would be beneficial in the long run or the flexibility of working with multiple clients.
Virtues of Businesses
We are in our nature, good people. We know what is right from wrong,
Do business the right way as much as possible. There are different reasons to do it like, avoiding penalties and fines. People want to do have good relationships with good people. This is the same with good companies. People would love to have a long business relationship with good businesses.
Businesses that were put up for the sake of making money is hard to sustain. Other than passion and love for the business, the right values would aid our efforts to go to the right direction.
Like mention above, our business is who we are. It should be a reflection of ourselves, good or bad.
Virtues are traits that form the principles of our good moral being, To be good you should have these virtues.
So what are these virtues? Here are just examples: righteousness, decency, charity, temperance, Kindness, etc.
Most are related to faith but there are those that can be related to business. Each of the virtues may hold more importance to a person than others but that is how we are. We have different values and circumstances in life.
Virtues for business
There are a lot of values out there that are important but let me just 3 of the most important value I think that every entrepreneur needs in this day and age based on what I have experienced. These virtues are important as they compliment each other and it will make it easier for you to practice more virtues to further improve yourself and your business.
To me, these should be the core value of an entrepreneur. The pillars in which other values and decisions are built on.
It is not just to be “clean” in all aspects of the business but to help you create a mindset, a guide in making decisions and help you financially as well.
Starting your business may have started with a goal and reaching that goal is your responsibility and no one else. You want it and you have conjured it up in your mind because it will satisfy you or will make you happy. The bottom line is that you are responsible for that to happen. No one else.
Responsibility means that you have a duty to that goal and that is to reach is. The how and what to get to is your responsibility as well. You may hire people to work for you but all of them is your responsibility.
This is the single most important virtue that you need just to start and run your business. Instilling the sense of responsibility will give you more purpose and help your passion.
If you feel responsible for your business, other virtues will follow. An example would be discipline. If your business requires you to perform a skill, for example, you would need to learn to practice it and to sharpen it. You would need the discipline to do those things regularly to be successful.
It would be easier to move yourself to improve your skills and craft because to keep your business running part of your responsibility is making sure you innovate and become adaptive to what the world throws at you!
There are a lot more virtues that may come up once you practice being responsible. Look into the situation that you are in, your goals and skills to name a few and identify which is important or needs to improve.
Integrity in simple terms is having the strength to stand on the principles that you have. That means, that you completely subscribe to the values you believe and use for your business and your personal life.
You may list as many values that you have but if you do not subscribe to them wholeheartedly then your principles may be compromised. This leads to taking shortcuts, making bad decision or even breaking rules.
We should also consider as part of integrity is the integrity of your name and the business that you carry. You have several virtues that are connected with this such as honesty, transparency, truthfulness, etc.
Simple acts such as ensuring the correct change is given out should not be overlooked. This helps set the tone on say how honest your business is. If you made a mistake with your customer, take responsibility and correct the error to keep your business name intact.
Did you ever experience ordering of a menu and getting food that is different from the picture? That is disappointing to say the least. Transparency to the customer is also essential. They do not need the details on how we operate but what you show on your ads should be as close to the product as much as possible.
If your product does not look good and you feel it needs improvement then, be honest with yourself and work on it. Practice more. It is also good practice to use your own products in your ads and besides, it is easy to look up on the web. What if a possible customer sees the picture of what you borrowed?
If you feel you are weak in presenting your products, do not hesitate to ask for help. Learn on how to improve. Take for example the class below on food photography and marketing on Facebook.
Humility or modesty is an important trait for an entrepreneur. It is important to have it and carry it through his journey in starting his business and until he is successful.
We may be familiar with stories of people who started out poor and have achieved so much in life, successful and is able to get what they wanted but became arrogant and proud in the process.
This virtue is helpful both financially and for the entire wellbeing. People who remain humble and modest tend to be careful with what they have earned.
The people involved in our success should also be given value. The customers who patronize your products, your employees and people who helped you in your success like the ones that loaned you money or has given you time and support. These are people we should be grateful and value. Who knows should the times get rough might need to turn to them again.
I was thinking being grateful instead of humility but wouldn’t humility teach us how to become grateful? Being humble or modest would make us appreciate the things that we have achieved as we work for them. Who wouldn’t want to appreciate things as they come to us rather than realizing their importance once we lose them!
Take for example famous celebrities. Some athletes, like Mike Tyson, during his prime, lived a lavish lifestyle. He would spend money on things he do not need like houses, cars and even a pet tiger. He was big back then, both literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, he thought he can have his way in all things and was eventually sent to prison. Before that, his career and personal life were in turmoil as he went through divorce and problem with his management. He did try to make a comeback but was not enough to stop his bankruptcy.
Shaquille O’ Neil was one of the highest earning players during his heyday. Before that, he was living in poverty. When he got his first paycheck, he spent it all. His mindset at that time was more checks will be coming in. He is young and he is still strong. His father taught him to keep some of his money.
His father kept him grounded. The success and the money can all go to your head. In being humble, you can learn to become grateful. Grateful is being thankful and appreciative of the success, the people and the opportunities that you are having. The more that you would see the value of things that surround you. You do not have to realize their importance once they are gone. As they come to you, you see their value then you can set a better direction for your business.
Values are more than ways or means to be good or ensure that your business is clean. It is an aide in decision making in realizing your goals.
Your core values should be present from start until you have your business operational. It helps us plan things the way we wanted based on what is important to us and moves us forward while we, the person deep inside stays the same while progressing.
Your name and the brand that you will build and keep untarnished will be a prelude for something far more important. A model for other business or even a model for your children to follow. It will be what you will be known for, your legacy.