As an entrepreneur almost every week you’re faced with an opportunity to do things the right way. Money and revenue allow our business to stay going and the lights on and our health insurance paid and all those fun things that let us do passionate, purposeful work.
But oftentimes when we’re scraping to get to the next level or pushing our beloved product out or see a competitor arrive suddenly in our space, we’re constantly faced with decisions to do things the right way.
Personally, I made a choice, a commitment early on to do things the right way and to be above reproach in my business dealings. But admittedly, it’s a constant decision I must make in business. Almost every day. And it’s not easy. At times, I have surely failed at it. But overall, I know doing right by people is the best and only way to do business.
Yet the other way looks remarkably easy and tempting. It often has quicker results. But it’s also a recipe for long-term disaster. (And to have people label you as a douchebag.)
In the early days I saw fellow entrepreneurs use controversy and shady tactics just to get fame and exposure. They leveraged other people’s hard work and reputation and took shortcuts every way they could.
But they lost all respect in my book. I made mental notes that I’d never want to do business with them, or even get to know them, and figured others might feel the same way. I thought to myself, “When they grow and need people to work with them, how will they go about recruiting good, talented team players when they act this way?”
As the saying goes … what goes around, comes around.
This type of consistent behavior will catch up with you.
So here are some questions I try to ask myself before I make critical decisions ….
- Are my actions ultimately going to damage the long-term health and reputation of my business?
- Would people want to work for me?
- Would people be more or less likely to want to partner with me?
- Would key people still like or at least respect me as a result of my decision?
- Or here’s the big one … is this the right thing to do, no matter what the cost?
I sleep well at night because I know consistently I seek to do the right thing in business and by the people I’m involved with and that our business has a purpose for helping make our corner of the world better each and every day. When I mess up, I hope to always acknowledge my mistakes, ask for forgiveness and learn and grow from it.
(And by the way, doing things the right way doesn’t mean you allow people to walk all over you or stomp on your face. But that’s another post on Boundaries.)
Doing things the right way means it costs more, takes longer, hurts more …. in the short term. But it’s really the only way to do business.