The value of honesty in business has obvious and subtle implications. Asking who benefits from business honesty can explain why virtue is also important. Examining the negative effects of dishonest business practices provides insight into the importance of honesty. In fact, it is as helpful as looking at the benefits of business honesty. Doing what is ethical because it is the right thing to do is as essential as practicing ethical behaviour for the positive consequences.
A small business owner operates from a base of profit motive and a commitment to provide a valuable service or product. A business owner communicates truth using direct and indirect means. You reveal your commitment to honesty when you pay your company bills and employees. When you file taxes, report to your investors and make commitments to your customers, you communicate virtue. Looked at from another angle, failing to meet your corporate responsibilities establishes a climate of mistrust and potential illegality.
Honest business practices inspire staff and customers with respect for your mission. Honest business practices build foundations of trust with colleagues, competitors, staff, customers and every other individual and entity. When employers deal honestly with their staff, employees are motivated to drive the business forward. Creditors and investors express confidence by funding company development and consumer confidence is positive.
A business owner can apply honesty in every situation. When he reports to investors, files taxes, and markets his products and services, the owner has the choice to provide honest accounting in every case. A business can commit to quality control and assurance. It can truthfully report earnings and deal with customers with integrity by backing up its work and products.
The Golden Rule
Treating employees, partners, investors and customers in the ways the business owner would want them to treat him creates an environment of trust and support. An owner can resist the short-term gratification at the expense of long-term commitment to the web of relationships in which his business is involved. He can avoid the blinding trap that crops up when dishonesty clouds perception. The Golden Rule helps to diminish greed, envy and the actions that accompany those less than virtuous qualities.