When conducting business, an entrepreneur takes into consideration ethical issues. Ethical matters have something to do with conducting the business in a morally correct way. Ethics in business are necessary because whatever the business does, affects its customers. Ethics are present in society and the natural and social environments in which the business operates. This essay discusses some categories of business ethics, their importance, and outlines how a businessperson should conduct themselves towards customers. Samakayi ( ) concedes that a person’s ethics are the principles of morality that inform how a person conducts themselves. They describe as a person’s ‘moral code.’ Conduction of business revolves around business ethics. The type of business ethics that look at businesses in society refer to as corporate social responsibility. Ethics refer to a philosophical branch that deals with human values in relation to the moral conduct that is right and wrong. They are a foundation of respect towards others. In business ethics, use of proper channels is used to procure profits.
Samakayi ( ) divided ethics into three categories: Ethics of human resource management, sales and marketing and production. Ethics of human resource management are important especially to businesses that intend to expand and increase its labor. Some of the ethics are discrimination of age, gender, race, religion, disability weight, and attractiveness. Under human resource management ethics, transparency, fairness of employment contract and balance of power between employers and employees are encouraged. These encourage teamwork thus expanding business. Issues affecting the privacy of employees are required as this causes them to develop confidence in the employer and the relationship is strengthened making business to stand a test of time.
Ethics of sales and marketing deal with principle values and or deals by which marketers and marketing issues in this area are those of targeting vulnerable people for consumption of redundant or dangerous products or services. For example, reducing products that are about to expire or have expired and those are commonly bought by people who are vulnerable. Some businesses capitalize on selling low quality goods on hire purchase that may turn to be very expensive. This category of ethics encourages businesses to brand their products appropriately, declaring risks involved for example, on cigarettes and alcohol. In the case of counseling, there must be respect for stakeholders, privacy, and autonomy.
That is the business complies with the law, file their tax returns in time, ensure quality of the product and service and so on. If a company has a good reputation more people would be attracted to work for that company, therefore it will be easy to find employees who are suitable or skilled labour. Business ethics also enhance productivity. Peoples’ spirit to work hard is lifted if they believe that what they are doing is ethical. Moral qualms will not hold them back and may feel extra motivated to work because they feel that by doing so they are making the world a better place. A reputation that is built on goal ethics helps to create a positive image in the market place. This in turn makes customer trust the product and services. They will also circulate the information to others or to the public creating more customers that will even lessen the cost of advertisements as people who would be impressed by the product or service will automatically advertise the product or service as they praise the business.
In addition, business ethics also encourage teamwork. In a workplace where there is trust between the employer and employee, delight and efficiency exist. Haney (1992) emphasized on the importance of trust, in this explanation, he said, “Trust is a precious but fragile commodity. It could be very challenging to create it, if it is weak or destroyed, and it could lead to low production in business. High trust leads to high performance that leads to constructive business. Low trust, low performance leads to destruction of the business.” Haney 1992:35. A business with high trust may even stand a test of time.
A business that values ethics attracts suppliers. For a business to strive there must be a supplier. Suppliers are attracted to a company that appreciated what they supply and pay them promptly. Good business ethics also enhance partnership. Partnership in the world is very vital because they help to expand the market place and improve relations. Even so, strong business ethics are a founding on which a good reputation in a partner is built.
Business ethics reduce business risks like losing potential customers, suppliers and employees and even the company itself. Reducing costs and risks lifts the bottom line of the business. Profits as well increase since there is a decrease in risks, and outputs are likely to be higher than inputs. Moreover, ethics lead to sustainable growth in sales, and an increase in customers leads to an increase in demand, thus, leading to an increase in sales. Sometimes, unethical reactions may seem to give one business a temporary boost but will thwart the long-term goals. Ethical actions is the key to sustainable and success in business.
The company’s most vital asset is its customers, without them, it would not and could not exist in business. New customers can be attracted with unique products, gifts or reducing prices, but if there is no bond with them, they are not going to return or recommend the business. It is sometimes very challenging to build this kind of relationship. Nonetheless, paying attention to customers averts the problem. If something goes wrong, it is vital for the entrepreneur to apologize because this soothes the customers. Entrepreneurs should let customers know that they are sorry, and deal with the problem immediately and let the customer know that what one has done is wrong. Transparency is important-honesty is crucial when it comes to mistakes.
Taking customers seriously is another vital business ethics because it makes them feel important and appreciated. For example, when a customer asks a ridiculous question, laughing may hinder them from making a purchase. There must be respect for customers the entrepreneur should not come on too strong.
Displaying calmness is another aspect that entrepreneurs should display. The calming approach will help customers stay calm too. Given a situation when a problem arises, staying calm would inherently make the customers calm as well. They would feel everything is under control..
The business should be in the position to identify and anticipate needs. Most customers’ needs are emotional rather than logical. The more accustomed an entrepreneur is with customer needs the better one will be at anticipating what they need. Communicating with them regularly is important and being aware of their problems or upcoming needs.
Business ethics suggest that the company should put solutions or a means of calming remedies in place, for example, if there should be a refund, return coupons, or a free service. These will help to speak calmer and more confidently when offering a solution. A business should recognize responsibility as per say ‘the customer is always right.’
Entrepreneurs should appreciate the power of ‘yes’. They should always look for ways to help customers and fulfilling promises they make, for an entrepreneur, his word must be his bund.
Business ethics encourages entrepreneurs to know their limits if they are unable to fulfill their customer’s requirements, they should help customers to find an alternate remedy, whether the alternative is about their business or somebody’s. Customers will help the extra mile in helping and will recommend the business to their network. The business must always be available. With the advancement of technology, business can even be now be done online twenty-four seven. It does not need to be dedicated to the help desk only; response can now be provided promptly and informatively through social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well.
Feedback is a great way to grow both business and one’s skills. Hence, a business should have regular feedbacks. There should always be a way to provide feedback, for example, making follow-ups, email, phone calls or suggestion boxes or something more fun and innovative.
Lastly, Aristotle in his book Nicomachean Ethics said, “he does not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather have these because we have acted rightly.” This can be said that business ethics is about being able to differentiate between what is wrong and what is right, thus, all dealings should be based on what is right even when doing the wrong thing may reap richer benefits, at least short-term. Nevertheless, doing the right thing will reap benefits which will stand a test of time ‘long term’. It improves the quality of service and foster positive relationships between entrepreneur and the customer.