Adesoji Adegbulu

7 Ways To Make Integrity the Heart and Soul of Your Business

This is a guest post by Akinjide Akindele-Ojo. If you want to be a guest author for this blog, please Submit your Guest Post for review.

 
As an entrepreneur or solopreneur as I like to call myself these days, I constantly worry about failing. It is a known fact that a high percentage of Small Businesses fail within the first couple of years of operation. For this reason, I am constantly looking for ways to make sure I don’t become a case study for why businesses fail. In searching for answers, I have come to the conclusion that a business must have certain attributes to be successful. If I were to ask most small business owners which of these attributes has the greatest impact, I would probably get the wrong answer 9 times out of 10. Based on my experience so far, I have come to believe that integrity is the most important factor in business success.

 
Most businesses that do not have this attribute are usually short-lived. This can mean the difference between success and failure for an entrepreneur. Integrity must be present throughout the company and should become the life blood of the company’s culture. Given the current trend of global competition, customers are no longer willing to consider a company that does not exhibit the highest level of reliability and credibility. There are so many easily accessible companies for customers to choose from these days that they no longer need to accept anything but the best.

 
At the beginning of this post, I called myself a solopreneur. This is a term I picked up while attending a business seminar. It simply means, I am a one man business at the moment. I will one day in the near future become a true entrepreneur. At this point, I will be heading what I can call an enterprise which has been built with integrity at its core. This integrity must begin with me, the leader of the company. Integrity begins with a company leader who understands the qualities of integrity. This then filters down throughout the company into every department and every employee’s attitude and approach to the business.

 

“Not only is ethical behaviour in the business world the right and principled thing to do, but it has been proven that ethical behaviour pays off in financial returns.” – Philippa Foster Black (Director, Institute of Business Ethics)

 
The following are some basic guidelines for making incorporating integrity into the heart and soul of a company.

 
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 is defined by dictionary.com as “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence”.

 
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 customers and clients, particularly if something has gone wrong. Do what you can to reclaim any lost business by honouring 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 the business and what it stands for.

 
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 mitigant 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.

 
Recognizing the importance of integrity in business as a tool for achieving success is very important. However, there is more to it. Following certain principles can lead to integrity but the overall mind-set of the company must define it as one that can be known for its integrity. A business, no matter its size, built around a theme of integrity within it policies and dealings will stand out among its customers, associates and partners. this influence will result in a profitable and successful company.

 

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