So many of the women we have interviewed have shown us how they pursue integrity in their small business. In talking with Hayley of Wildly Co. and Katie of Gadanke, I was especially struck by the fact that ethical business practices were so important to them. This got me thinking about ways each of us can pursue integrity in our own businesses.
As small business owners, our personal integrity is inexorably linked to the integrity of our business; the two are almost synonymous. So as we strive for integrity in our personal lives or business, it will naturally fall into the other area as well. Integrity is something that is a constant pursuit, we can never say we have arrived, but let us always strive toward integrity in everything we do.
“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.” -Alan K. Simpson
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9
#1 Be Respectful and Kind in your Communications
Honestly, if you do this one thing, you'll stand out in a crowd! People are so rude anymore, and in the episode I get on a little soapbox about this and start harkening back to the difference in years gone by! I really feel very passionately that people need to be more kind, more gracious, more forgiving, and just generally nicer to each other!
Related to this, when you are wrong, admit it. And if you're not wrong, admit you might have misunderstood and might be wrong. This position can lead to a conversation with the unhappy party instead of just the mutual pointing of fingers. (Dale Carnegie agrees!)
#2 Be Honest and Trustworthy
Make sure that your product is as you described and does what you say it will do.
Do the advertisements on your blog go against something you believe in? Above all else, make sure you are genuine. Don't pretend to be something you are not just to get more readers. Everyone loves an honest blogger who will give full disclosure on her life and her projects.
Conversely, don't be self deprecating just to fit in. Be proud of your accomplishments and strengths, and don't pretend you stink at something just to fit in. You have a unique set of talents and strengths. Be yourself, because you are great!
#3 Meet Obligations and Be Reliable
This one goes beyond more than just saying you'll do what you say you'll do. Are you doing 10 things and all of them poorly? Maybe it's time to trim down your commitment load and focus on only doing a few things well.
How are you on answering emails? Even if you need to tell someone no, the courteous thing to do is to honor everyone with a reply. Being disorganized is not an excuse. If you are letting people down and letting emails go answered, then you have three choices: Get more organized and find better systems, say no to some commitments, or get help.
#4 Be Passionate and Engaged
If you are passionate about your business, you will produce a better quality product for your customer or client. Maybe you can take this one a step further and only hire people who are passionate about the business too. This will lead to happy customers, a happy business owner, and happy employees.
#5 Be Consumed with the Needs of Others
Wow! This was a point mentioned by Dave Ramsey on his Entreleadership site. This one can be tricky. It is so hard to put others before ourselves and worry about our customers more than our bottom line. You will have to listen to the episode though to find out what company I called out as being more interested in sales than me as a customer.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” -Bob Marley
“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” H Jackson Brown Jr.
A life of integrity is an ongoing pursuit. Let's encourage each other to live our lives and conduct our businesses with integrity. Do you want to be part of a community that helps you grow your business, and places a high value on integrity? Then you have come to the right place! Sign up for our Email Newsletter so that you don't miss a single episode or happening at Brilliant Business Moms. When you joint our email list you will also receive an invitation to join our private Facebook group where you can connect with other business owners. Come on! Join in the fun!