The pursuit of success can be enriching and rewarding. However, if you seek fame and fortune at any cost, then even if you achieve all your goals, you will rob yourself of the fulfillment that would otherwise come with it. The success that comes at the cost of the environment, other people, and your own ethics is the hollowest kind of victory.
To ensure you make it to the top in style and with your ethics intact, keep the following five tips in mind:
1. Grow slowly
This is the last thing many entrepreneurs want to hear, but slow growth is far more sustainable in the long run. It gives you the time and space needed to see which areas of your business need care, attention, and the investment of funds and resources. It also allows you to grow your team at a gradual rate, giving you the space you need to make wise decisions and develop a diverse and inclusive workplace.
2. Minimize expenses
Instead of rushing out to get a five-year lease on a fancy location, start with the low-cost flexibility of managed office suites. By keeping this and other expenses to a minimum, you give yourself space to invest in profits wisely and grow at a comfortable pace. You also have some breathing room if you hit a slow month or two, meaning you’re far less likely to resort to unethical choices just to keep the business running.
3. Make supply chain transparency non-negotiable
Whether it’s a purposeful act of obfuscation or an unintentional result of growth and expansion, a non-transparent supply chain is a problem. No matter how much you value your ethics as an entrepreneur, if you can’t see problems with your suppliers, you can’t address them. This is why it’s essential to understand every step a resource or product goes through before and after it reaches your business.
Perhaps a supplier you receive goods from seems ethical, but further back in the supply chain, they’re sourcing raw materials from a company that’s destroying the environment in a distant country. If you’re part of the supply chain, this is your responsibility too.
4. Educate yourself
You may wish to consider formal education in ethics as it relates to business in general and your industry specifically. This will give you a good foundation for developing your own ethical code and a strong moral compass to guide you through your journey as an entrepreneur.
You should also engage in regular research into the latest developments in eco-friendly supplies and business support services. Doing so is the best way to discover things like green web hosting services, recyclable packaging, tree-planting initiatives, and so much more.
5. Put your code of ethics down in writing
Once you’ve developed a deeper understanding of what it means to be an ethical entrepreneur, put your ideas down in writing. Start with a free-form flow of thoughts – it’s important not to restrict yourself with fears that it seems messy or disorganized.
Only after you feel you have everything out on paper should you start editing, streamlining, and whittling all these stray thoughts down into a concise set of guidelines to live and work by. This code of ethics should form part of your business plan, and it should also be shared with every new hire, stakeholder, investor, and business partner with whom you align.
Follow the tips above, and you’ll be on the slow but steady and sustainable path to being an ethical (and highly successful) entrepreneur.