Ethics in the pet business world

Ethics...It's a very difficult term to define, but yet one of the most important aspects of your pet business.

In running your pet business, whether is be an online store, developing or manufacturing a product, blogging, or providing a service to pet lovers, you make 100's of decisions throughout the day. Some of these decisions are easy and some are very difficult.

What criteria do you use to help you make the right (and ethical) decisions for you and your business?

In my early years of working in the corporate environment, I was required to attend several seminars on business ethics. While I didn't dwell much on what I learned at these seminars at the time, I have come to value the information I garnered and have utilized the advice all throughout my career.

Actions on Wall Street and by corporate big business over the years have created an environment where ethics seems to be thrown out the window in many cases. Nearly everyday I hear or see actions by others that are unethical in nature. And in my opinion, the Internet, with it's readily available amount of information, material and opinions from a very wide range of sources, has exacerbated unethical behavior.

According to Dr. Max H. Bazerman, a professor at the Harvard School of Business, "...many people aren't aware that they're doing unethical things." Source

Yes, I'm sure there are bad people in the World. But why do good people do unethical things? Dr. Bazerman goes on to say in his article that there are several reasons. One main reason is because individuals are very busy and have much pressure on them to perform and succeed in their every day demands of life and business. But, when they allow themselves time to really think about the decisions they are making, they are more likely to make more ethical ones.

What are ethical decisions and what are ethics?

Here are two great videos from the Markkula Ethics Center of Santa Clara University, California.

One of the most important points to take away from these two videos is when making a decision, keep others in mind. Look at both sides of those affected and whether your decision is fair to all. And look at whether your final decision keeps the greater good in mind, not just the good of your business, but good for those you work with, your industry, the World and it's people, in general.

How do we apply ethics to our busy, demanding lives?

One of the most important points I've garnered over the years is to take a step back when making a decision and don't succumb to pressure. Yes, we're all very busy...but the decisions we make on a daily basis are not only important to our business, but the business of others. Wait, take a deep breath, and weigh both sides fairly.

Why do we want to?

Our decisions affect others, pure and simple. When we write a blog post, tweet, present a Facebook message, compose an email or communicate in any form, we are affecting others. When we decide on the direction our business will take, we are affecting others. Most all decisions we make, day in and day out affect others. That's why making ethical decisions is important.

And, people want to do business with companies that have high ethical standards and do the right thing. And they will most definitely stay away from a company that doesn't.

So what are the lessons here for running your pet business?

When faced with a challenging decision about your pet business, working with a client, business associate, or partner, think before you proceed. Take into consideration the advice given in the video of how to make ethical decisions, think about how you want to be treated.

Within the past month I have seen several unethical decisions made by well-meaning pet business owners and pet business company employees. Some of those have affected me, some have obviously affected others and their business. But who is it really affecting? Yes, the pet business that's created unethical behavior in the first place.

We're not perfect. On the contrary, we are all human. But I do think if we all take a step back, take more time in making the decisions about our pet business and how it will affect others, I believe we can make a very worthwhile difference in our industry and in our pet business companies.

Images courtesy of Nosha and Justin Baeder on Flickr.

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