BENGALURU: Is it good to show false sales figure to inflate your company’s valuation? Or to share personal data of users with other companies? Or pressuring your sales executive to achieve targets by telling lies?
You are at a point because of the choices you have made in the past. These choices can make you or break you; such choices can come in front of you in business as well which can make you rich in a short duration or make you work really hard. As a founder of a company the choices we make can affect a lot of people’s lives directly or indirectly. In real life ethics, we can easily identify right or wrong, but in business, there is a thin line in between the two and there is a lot of grey area. I believe founders need to imbibe the ethics of business right from day one so that it gets embedded in the company as a part of its culture.In the age of digital revolution personal data of users is very important for any company to promote their products for sale. As a customer, we don’t think much before sharing anything online be it our email id, phone number, photos with friends, etc. But the company can use this data to manipulate users to buy their products or services. We can take a classic example of Facebook, how Cambridge Analytica manipulated personal data of users to serve ads and leading to changing the political landscape of the USA. On a positive note, there is an all-time low on unethical business practices all around the world. Ultimately, business ethics comes down to making decisions in the best interest of customers and not just profit.
– Jinen Sheth, Cofounder of GoFloat Tech
A few must-have ethics for a startup founder are focus to make a revolution, focus on creating something that others haven’t kept in mind what really people need, believing in yourself and the product – accept feedback and work on it, but always believe in your idea if it’s morally right.
Starting a business is not a small decision, and when it comes to risks, they are no less either. Some startups don’t flourish despite endless sacrifices and challenges entrepreneurs face. No matter how systematised a businessperson is, lack of ethics can make things go downhill.
Apart from having a vision for the mission, ethics play a vital role for any start-up to become not only momentous but fruitful. Competition Understanding– no matter how unique your business idea might be, there’s a silver lining towards the probability of a similar competition. To be quoted ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. Understanding the mechanism and approaches of your competition is crucial.Budgeting is good, spending to evolve the product better is important. Make processes and streamline things to be in automated mode, so people don’t waste time. The internal process should be as systematised as your idea. Motivation, aggression to achieve, patience, clarity and mutual respect – there’s no way a business can thrive without these morals.
–Ashwini Kharbanda, CEO & Founder of Neomart
The success of a business organisation hinges on several key factors including the abilities and behaviour of the founder. A founder needs to transform into a source of inspiration for employees by embodying the principles of ethics, integrity and transparency. He has to have the ability to create a common purpose for the organisation and to demonstrate behaviours in one’s own personal and professional life.To position the company toward success the founder communication needs to be authentic, judgement-free, clear, concrete and bias-free. In the current social milieu, the relationship of a founder with their subordinates also assumes great importance. The business practices adopted by a founder can either make or break a company and therefore, it is absolutely mandatory to consider the role of personal ethical practices.As an ethical founder, some of the key leadership skills are to provide a platform for open communication where solution-driven interaction is determined. In fact, inspiration leads employees and colleagues to navigate challenges holistically and work through complications. When the proprietor showcases growth-based strategies, they encourage innovation and collaboration.
In fact, the creation of this common purpose only comes as a result of ethical leadership as it allows the employees to feel invested in the company’s growth and provides space for innovation. It is this leader with clear communication that allows his employee to be completely invested in their work, who lead a successful organisation with 90 per cent employee retention.
– Dr Prakriti Poddar, director, Poddar Wellness Limited
My team and I make sure we work collaboratively and just aim to serve the industry to our best. Startups are risky, but if you are dedicated, have a strong team, a brilliant idea to grow, then just keep working hard. The pressures to cut ethical corners are great. How much puffery do you use in presenting your idea to venture capital? You just do not do business that way, who enjoys both financial success and a superb reputation today. As business plans are written and product capabilities are described, the ethical tension between the truthful and the hopeful is inevitable.It is hard to single out one area of particular ethical concern in startups. However, the world of high-tech startup emphasises partnerships, strategic alliances, and virtual relationships.These arrangements are rife with opportunities for conflicts of interest where a startup employee can line his or her own pockets to the detriment of the organisation. An early and consistent stand against questionable conflicts of interest is an important dimension of a startup ethics effort. The ethically thoughtful entrepreneur anticipates these tensions and talks about them with the team before the situations are confronted.
–Bhavesh Shah, co-founder of Medicus