Friday, 8 July 2011

Ethical businesses?

Hello ...

For our second blog I have been stimulated by the happenings this week about the way some of the UK press operate, to write about how we have always set out to run our business.

To observe the lengths that a particular newspaper have gone to in order to get a good story to sell more papers has created a fury across the nation. Businesses pulled their advertising revenues and support - and for this, and I am sure other reasons too, the newspaper has finally announced that it will close after nearly 160 years.

So who knew about these practices?  They may not have been condemned but they must have been condoned by others in the business.  Was this support overt or had the business simply not explained their own internal rules and ways of working ... their own culture ... to all their employees?

How often do businesses promise something on the 'outside' to their customers - but fail to realise that to deliver this they need to get things right on the 'inside'.

Another more superficial example -  the UK television programme called 'The Apprentice' says that it is not only entertainment but that it tries to get people interested in commerce.

Observe though the behaviours that are supported, praised, condoned within the candidates' activities.

Those that are tough, aggressive, push to get a good sale, run roughshod over others to get where they want ... all are rewarded.

Is this really what we want from a business world that should be about long-term relationships and partnerships.

From Day One at from you to me we have had a set of values and have been clear about the way we operate - both internally and externally.

Our values are:

* Prosperity
* Personal Growth
* Partnership
* Open Communication
* Fun & Enjoyment

These are as true about the way we work with each other within the business as they are about our products and also the way we aim to work with our customers and suppliers.

We have always set out work in a way that has built long-term relationships.

Do we always get it right?  Well, I am not saying we are perfect - but we will always listen to feedback and try to learn and improve.

Of all our suppliers - all work within 15 miles of our office. A deliberate choice. This means we can build great partnerships with them. Without them, we could not deliver for our customers. Without us? Well, I know they appreciate the benefit of the relationship too!

We give them work, income, hopefully growth - and also we always pay our bills on time or early.

I was once challenged by a 'Business Link' advisor who said that we should be more creative with our use of cash - and by delaying payment to our suppliers we could use this money on other things.  Well this is an area I feel very strongly about. "No" was my simple response. If I need more cash to run my business then I should find ways of getting it, but not from my suppliers. They are not banks - and I also know from our own experience of the hassle, stress and money it costs us when our own bills are not paid to our credit terms.

Finally for this blog - working ethically and in search of a long-term partnership where all can benefit and 'prosper' can also help you sleep at night. It puts a smile on your face if you feel you have worked in a manner of which you are proud. I actually believe it creates more fun & enjoyment.

Our products are all about capturing stories from people's lives - the real stories.  If you wrote your own story - would you be proud of the way you had behaved?


life matters ... pass it on


  1. This is so true.

    I recently came across a business women who had 'obtained' the mailing list of her competitor, and as I was on this list she was calling me to offer her 'cheaper' and more 'convenient' services. On paper she was the better choice, however as I asked a few delving questions as to how she obtained my details, all became apparent. She did not gain my business.

    On principal, I would never have chosen her above my original supplier. Her actions were unethical and I believe this would have transcended through other areas of her business & service.

    I agree with you in that I also believe as a business I should operate in the same way in which I want my suppliers and customers to operate in. Honestly, loyally with the same moral standards we adhere to.

    I hope the above mentioned paper this week has sparked some soul searching for other members of the press.

  2. I know someone who was "asked" to go on Dragon's Den - even though they were already running a successful business which had no further need for capital ... she was persuaded to do the show ... not how you think it runs is it? We're given the impression they are entrepreneurs looking for cash, this might not always be the case. None of the dragons chose to invest in her charitable enterprise. No surprise there!

  3. I'm not sure it's as simple as all that. Running a successful business has to involve a certain amount of fierce determination.

    Some years ago, when freelancing for a small business, I witnessed many situations where building professional relationships overshadowed professionalism and healthy competition. Hiring the right people to do the best job possible for the right price took second place – preserving the status quo and keeping people happy came first. I've never forgotten this. The quality of the end result (the output) was severely compromised by those who were terrified of being seen as ruthless. There is a healthy balance: professionalism/integrity/determination/objectivity.

    Obviously public relations involve how others view a business and its ethics but I don't think News International would be the company it is now without an element of ruthless tactics. Why is everyone so surprised that the News of the World taps phones, conducts invasive surveillance and hounds celebrities? How else do they get to know the bedroom secrets that everyone is hungry to know? When people strive for fame, money and success the balance is tipped. It's getting this balance right that's crucial.


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