Benefits of making your business look good to society

By: Leigh Goessl
23 February, 2010

If you want to turn a profit, you've got to win over the approval of society. Bad business behaviour or unethical practices promote a questionable reputation and puts a definitive blot on your business's appearance.

Consumers who perceive a company as unethical, or unscrupulous, aren't going to give over their business because the very important element of trust, is lacking. If patrons don't trust you, they'll quickly turn to a competitor.

A business operates on the premise of turning a profit, and there is nothing wrong with this, when the right approaches are taken. Unfortunately when most people hear the term 'business ethics' there is often a ripple perception of there being no such thing. Despite this negative connotation, businesses do have the power to change this perception.

The bottom line is, there is a way for businesses to both profit and look good to society, through their corporate social responsibility philosophies. In fact, the two handsomely complement one another with the right commitment and strategies in place.

In order to grow and retain a loyal customer base, companies have to give their all to flourish. Businesses that operate under a philosophy of ruthlessness aren't going to bring home the bacon. Instead of investing efforts into callous selling tactics, to try and pressure customers, businesses that take an active interest in serving customers, are going to look better to society.

There are many effective ways businesses can integrate solid corporate responsibility and nurture a strong reputation; in the long run, this helps increase customer retention levels and as a result profitability increases as well.

For starters, businesses should cement their organisation’s culture foundation in strong ethics. Companies such as Enron are going to be forever dubbed as ruthless. If any lesson is learned from their colossal bad judgment, it should be to remain as transparent as possible, and to be honest.

Another practice businesses should engage in, to look good to society, is to observe fair marketing practices. Companies who skate around consumer laws and meet minimal requirements in order to sell a product, which is either unsafe or not fully tested, in order to profit, are going to lose in the long run.

After all, as a customer who would you turn to - the company who goes above and beyond, or the one who barely meets the confines of the law? The competitor who gives their all is going to attract the customers, and leave the others behind in the dust, in terms of growth and profitability. Quality is extremely important in today's business environment.

Fair and ethical treatment of employees also goes a long way in looking attractive to the public. Employees who are experiencing low levels of morale are going to exhibit signs of this, and customers are quick to pick up on it. On the other hand, a group of people working together, who truly enjoy their jobs, will show this in their efforts – another attractive attribute.

A dedication to environmental causes is another good way for a business to look good. Companies that show higher levels of awareness for environmental issues are going to earn the respect of the public.

Years ago, the common approach from businesses was a ‘buyer beware' approach, but in today's society this philosophy simply does not wash. Companies can no longer legally, nor ethically, engage in harmful environmental practices, and those who do so suffer tremendously.

To preserve their reputation, today's businesses have to carry a higher level of integrity than in years past. The current business environment is highly competitive and, unlike days of yesteryear, companies cannot afford to take their customers for granted. Every effort must be made in order to look good to society, if the company wants to stay competitive, or even afloat.