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Running an Ethically Conscious Small Business

Social media has made transparency even more prevalent for businesses all over the world. Ethically Conscious Small BusinessIt’s more important than ever to run an ethically conscious small business because all it takes is one mistake to make a bad first impression. Before you know it, millions of people are reading or watching your blunder online causing you to shut the doors to your dreams.

You may believe that everything you do is ethical especially because you have good intentions. However, you may not be taking the time to pause and think about the ethical ramifications of your business decisions. Quick decisions that aren’t thought through can often leave you paying for things you failed to consider.

Unknowingly Unethical

Imagine that your company is hanging on by a thread. An important potential client is coming to visit your company, which could significantly raise your sales and profit margins and take you from a fledgling company to the top of the mountain of success. You want to appear that you are in demand so this potential client has faith that you are the right person to take on their portfolio.

Prior to the client’s visit, you ask friends and family to call your office to make it look like you are receiving a higher number of business calls than you actually are. You hire a staging company to fill your space with luxury furniture and hide all of the second hand furniture in storage. Your client arrives, sees a thriving business and signs on with your company. You’ve achieved what you set out to, but were your actions ethical?

What happens if that new client decides to visit unannounced to see how things are going? Where is that fancy furniture now? Is your company spiraling out of control and going down the toilet? Did you lie to him? Should he be worried about his faith in you and what you have to offer?

There is nothing wrong with being a company that’s working hard at succeeding. Instead of staging a scene for a play, the best option would have been to display your authentic culture and areas of success instead of providing a showroom of nice stuff you are just going to return.

Making decisions such as the ones in the example above may seem harmless overall because you know that you can handle the work so the client won’t be disappointed. However, misleading anyone about the level of your success is not an ethical way to gain a long term and stable business relationship with your customers.

Every step you make along the way in building the foundation of your business should be done ethically building a rock solid foundation for your business to stand on and for your employees to believe in. An unethical decision here and there may not seem to be that big of a deal, but one small crack leads to employee distrust, customer disappointment and major damage repair.

You want to be proud of what you’ve accomplished and not have to worry that at any time your world could come crumbling down around you. Having a foundation with the cornerstones built on unethical behavior is guaranteed to fall down over time. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow, but at some point, your decisions are going to be brought forth into the spotlight.

Be an Ethically Conscious Small Business

Making the right decisions allows you to stand proud and firm in the knowledge that whether you succeed or fail you’ve done so on your own merit. You want all of your employees, customers and business connections to take comfort in the knowledge that you are a stand up company who lives by ethical practice standards and will not embarrass them. Not only do you have your own business and reputation to worry about, every employee, client, and business associate you currently have or will make in the future can be put in the negative spotlight and have their businesses negatively affected based on your decisions.

While making an ethical decision may not always put you on the fast track to success, any success you achieve will be a legitimate and true display of how fabulous your company actually is and not a false projection ready to topple at the first bump in the road. Take time to consider all possible ramifications of the decisions you make in your day-to-day business practices. Ask yourself, “Would I be proud of my actions if they were to be displayed on every social media channel in the world?” before you make the final call.

Remain truthful to yourself, your company and your customers. Only with ethical business practices can you be sure your company will stand up when it is closely scrutinized and not suffer a widespread, public, and humiliating bashing that destroys all you’ve worked so hard to attain. The ethics of success are simple, be true to yourself, be true to the vision you have to your company and be true to the people who make your business what it is.

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Articles of Incorporation: Your Commitment to Ethical Practices

The term Articles of Incorporation describes the primary rules that govern the management of corporations within the United States. They are your commitment to following the law and are typically filed with a state-based or other regulatory agency.

articles of incorporation

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Once you become incorporated, you are bound by the law to ethically comply with the rules, policy, and procedures. Just as you’d treat your marriage with respect, your business deserves equivalent respect.

About Articles of Incorporation

When individuals incorporate as an organization in Arizona they are required to complete Articles of Incorporation. The requirements to incorporate naturally vary from state to state. Therefore, it’s important to contact the state’s governmental office, typically their Secretary of State, to learn more about the incorporation process.

Many states including Arizona provide informational documents about how to incorporate. They even provide sample Articles of Incorporation to help individuals learn how to properly fill out the required forms. Generally, they request the following:

  • The name of the corporation
  • The names of individuals who have organized the corporation
  • The purpose of the corporation
  • The number and names of the corporation’s board of directors, in addition to the initial directors and registered agents; and
  • The location of the corporation’s registered offices and street address

Articles of Incorporation typically don’t describe the operations of the corporation in question. Those details are generally included within associated documents for the corporation’s bylaws.

The documents for Articles of Incorporation are important, as it’s the basis for registering a corporation within any state. In most cases, corporations that fail to file for Articles of Incorporation may be served with legal action if they proceed to act without securing their legalities.

Filing for Articles of Incorporation in Arizona

Individuals who want to incorporate in Arizona are required to submit their Articles of Incorporation. In addition to submitting the aforementioned information about their corporation, they also have to submit information pertaining to:

  • The number of initial authorized stocks associated with the corporation
  • The street address and signature of the statutory and registered agent associated with the corporation
  • The names and associated contact information of the business owner or individual who files the articles of incorporation

The Arizona Corporation Commission website provides fillable PDF documents for business owners to complete, print and mail.  In addition, the business owner must pay a filing fee, which is noted on the application form.

The Arizona Corporation Commission generally approves Articles of Incorporation after receiving documents if they are complete and accurate. Then, businesses are required to publish a copy of the document in the newspaper belonging to the county of the corporation’s business location. It must run for three consecutive publications within 60 days of the approval.

Importance of Ethics

Once the application is approved, the business is legal and bound by the laws of Arizona. It’s critical to understand the importance of ethics or run the risk of alienating shareholders, stakeholders, partners, employees, and customers. Unethical practices reduce growth and limit revenue-generating ability.

Here are four reasons why businesses should practice good ethical behavior:

  • Litigation—Breaking the law generally comes with heavy fines and may lead to lawsuits and indictments.
  • Perception—Companies that tolerate unethical practices are subject to wildly unpopular social media outbreaks. Additionally, supplier and partner trust is diminished.
  • Performance—Employees follow their employer’s lead. Furthermore, companies that are unethical tend to have a hard time attracting and retaining talent.
  • Integrity—It’s just the right thing to do.

There are many ways you can encourage ethics in your business, but the best place to start is with you—the owner. Take care of your business so that it can take care of you. What examples of ethical and unethical practices have you encountered?
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