Mr. Entrepreneur: The Fine Line between whatever-it-takes and being unethical

I am an entrepreneur and my passion is to bring new things into the world, and believe me, it is not as easy as it may sound. It is a tricky job where you must come up with ideas, products, and businesses by harnessing your skills and talents. But more important than skills and talents is the power of your will, that pushes you to the extremes of situations for realizing your dreams.

On the other hand, there always is a tipping point that is difficult to differentiate from your unreasoned conviction of being right, which time and again has been responsible for good entrepreneurs to step on the line of deception, and in some worst cases make it an incident of fraud.

Defining the fine line between right and wrong has always been difficult for executives and businessmen as there are too many grays in ethics. It is never an easy job to know when it is a gift and when it turns into a bribe. While no company usually sets out to deceive its investors and customers, some actions that are taken by brute force may get termed as deceptive.

While many may be believers of the phrase, “fake it till you make it”, it can sometimes turn out to be a really bad advice. Putting on an act might get you across once, but if you want to sustain in this game then that is the worst thing to do. You always hear some news about lawsuits against organizations that went overboard with their acts, only to later get sued by their customers and investors. While puffery is very common in every business and even in an individual’s life, there definitely is a thin line which if you cross converts it into lying.

For example, let us assume you visit a new restaurant which claims that it is voted the best restaurant in its area.  It might surprise you because you came to know about it just a few days back, and you as well as the people you know did not even like the food you had there. However, since there are many different publications and ratings, if any of those would have rated it as the best then it cannot be termed as deceiving or ethically wrong.

Business and companies that are usually starting up often argue that they must do whatever is necessary to survive and perhaps ethics should come later. While it might sound right on their part as they are struggling to stay afloat in the industry, it makes ethics a kind of luxury for these businesses. So how does one ever know when can they afford to say ‘no’? And would it not be difficult for an organization to do the right thing one fine day if it was never anchored to a strong moral base? While most business owners won’t operate outside of the law, they sure would have made some wrong choices in their lives. Some might not be very grave mistakes but some others can turn out to be non-forgivable crimes.

So as a business person it is important to reflect upon your actions and determining the extent to which you are willing to go to make things work for your company. It might be possible that sometimes you need to show certain aspects that may not be present at the moment but you know you can achieve them. However, if you fail in doing that, then it will surely be termed as deceptive.

So while you are doing whatever-it-takes for your business, try to weigh your actions in terms of right and wrong so that if at all things don’t work out as you wish, you are still away from being accused as unethical or a cheat.

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I'm a self confessed foodie, king of the kitchen, wannabe anthropologist, technology evangelist , curious, inquisitive & experimental entrepreneur at @DigiLands and an adrenaline junkie. Love spending time with my wife & two young children and faulty KitKats that consist purely of solid chocolate.