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Good Business is Good For Business

Posted On - 18/07/2014 13:46:58

A particular bugbear of mine; profitable businesses making less than inflationary pay risesI was in a ‘discussion' recently – well, a bit of a rant if I'm honest – about a particular bugbear of mine; profitable businesses making less than inflationary pay rises.

Comfortably positioned on my soapbox, I made the fairly obvious point that if everyone did this the population gets poorer, demand shrinks and the economy stagnates.

The very businesses reliant on strong demand are the ones deliberately damaging it. I then moved onto the ‘ethical' aspect – how could they possibly justify it to staff, how do they sleep at night … you get the idea.

Just as I'm building up a head of steam, I was interrupted with the question; "But how can you ever operate as an ethical business when the primary motive is profit?"

Stopped mid-rant, my immediate response was "by always trying to do the right thing". Vague, but since ‘ethical' refers to moral judgements about right and wrong, not altogether a terrible response. Provided, of course, that you can demonstrate what ‘the right thing' is and how you go about doing it.

Thus we transitioned from one of my favourite pastimes (ranting) to my favourite, talking about Target and the way we do business. Or more specifically in this case, why I believe we are an "ethical business".

I believe Target is an As those of you who know me can well imagine, I continued for some time on a whole range of things I won't list here – this isn't a blog about how wonderful we are. In any case I'm sure plenty of you have heard me wax lyrical after a few beers at our Open Days or elsewhere and probably don't want to hear it again.

Unsurprisingly, much of the conversation centred on the way we regard our customers. Since you're here on Shoptalk, you'll know at least some of the things that came up. In explaining why we do what we do, I referred to our core ethos, our belief that our success is entirely dependent on the success of our customers. Our conviction that helping you helps us in the long run, and the way this frees us to help without trying to justify the investment in terms of a direct return. This in turn brings us closer to our customers and differentiates us from any other business.

And it struck me that there, inadvertently, is the essence of what ethical business is all about. It's about doing good because it's good for business. It's helping others because it helps you.

Thus sparked the idea for a blog series on ethical business, but when we started planning it, it became apparent that this is actually a huge subject. It affects every part of your business, from pricing to customer care, staffing to sales, and pretty much everything in between. More than that, it's stacked with genuine advice that'll not just make you more successful but do it in the way you want to do business.

The series starts next week, but for anyone who wants the full story of how we're an ‘ethical business', catch me after a beer or two at the Open Day.

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