Business Integrity: quality characterized by honesty, reliability, and fairness, developed in a relationship over time.
When doing business, I think most of us would consider strong ethics and integrity to be top of the list of qualities we seek out in business partners. Reputation is extremely valuable in 21st century business. In an age of corporate scandals, suspicious customers, and budgets with very little breathing room, there is simply no substitute for being an ethical company. I came across some key principles, by Robert Moment, that form a solid foundation of business integrity which all small businesses should adhere to:
1. Recognize that customers/clients want to do business with a company they can trust; when trust is at the core of a company, it is easy to recognize. Trust defined is assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of a business.
2. For continuous improvement of a company, the leader of an organization must be willing to open up to ideas for betterment. Ask for opinions and feedback from both customers and team members and your company will continue to grow.
3. Regardless of the circumstances, do everything in your power to gain the trust of past customer’s and clients, particularly if something has gone awry. Do what you can to reclaim any lost business by honoring all commitments and obligations.
4. Re-evaluate all print materials including small business advertising, brochures and other business documents making sure they are clear, precise and professional; most important make sure they do not misrepresent or misinterpret.
5. Remain involved in community-related issues and activities thereby demonstrating that your business is a responsible community contributor. In other words, stay involved.
6. Take a hands-on approach in regard to accounting and record keeping, not only as a means of gaining a better feel for the progress of your company, but as a resource for any “questionable “ activities; gaining control of accounting and record keeping allows you to end any dubious activities promptly.
7. Treat others with the utmost of respect. Regardless of differences, positions, titles, ages, or other types of distinctions, always treat others with professional respect and courtesy.
To sum it all up “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” Alan K. Simpson