What Are Tough Ethical Decisions Small Business Owners Face?

    Authored By

    Small Biz Digest

    What Are Tough Ethical Decisions Small Business Owners Face?

    Navigating the complex landscape of business ethics, we've gathered insights from CEOs and top executives who've faced tough decisions. From upholding integrity over financial gain to rejecting shady practices for professionalism, here are four candid stories that illustrate the weight of ethical decision-making in the business world.

    • Upheld Integrity Over Financial Gain
    • Chose Transparency Over Personal Gain
    • Prioritized Ethics Over Quick Fixes
    • Rejected Shady Practices for Professionalism

    Upheld Integrity Over Financial Gain

    As the Founder and CEO of my company, I once faced a challenging ethical decision that tested our core values. A client was deliberating between two options: one would result in a substantial six-figure fee for us, and the other, no payment at all. Despite being in our early stages where the financial gain would have been very impactful, we chose to uphold our principles of neutrality and unbiased guidance. We helped the client make an informed decision that ultimately did not financially benefit us. The outcome might have been a short-term financial setback, but it reinforced our commitment to integrity. This decision has laid a foundation of trust and ethical practice, which I firmly believe will yield greater returns in the long run.

    Brett Ungashick
    Brett UngashickCEO & CHRO, OutSail

    Chose Transparency Over Personal Gain

    I recall a situation where I had to navigate a challenging ethical decision in the real estate business. A client was interested in purchasing a property, and a competing buyer made an offer that was slightly higher. However, the competing offer came from a friend of mine, and the client was unaware of this connection.

    I realized that disclosing this information was crucial to maintaining transparency and upholding ethical standards. Despite the potential financial gain, I chose to be honest with my client about the relationship between the competing buyer and me. It was a tough conversation, but I believed it was essential to build trust.

    The outcome was surprisingly positive. My client appreciated my honesty, and even though we lost that particular deal, they decided to work with me on another property. In the long run, maintaining integrity in my business dealings strengthened my reputation, and I gained a loyal client who valued transparency.

    Samantha Odo
    Samantha OdoReal Estate Sales Representative & Montreal Division Manager, Precondo

    Prioritized Ethics Over Quick Fixes

    There was a time when I was faced with an ethical dilemma that really tested my principles. We were falling behind the competition, and one of our team members suggested buying fake reviews to boost our online presence. This was a tempting proposition given the pressure we were under.

    However, I knew that this was against my values and the ethics of good business. Instead of taking the easy way out, I decided to focus on improving our services and offering unique experiences to our customers. We initiated a campaign to encourage genuine customer feedback and worked diligently to enhance our services based on their responses.

    Within a few months, we started receiving more positive reviews than ever before. Our reputation grew, and so did our customer base. The decision to stay true to our principles not only maintained our integrity but also led to substantial growth for our company.

    This experience taught me that it's always worth it to do the right thing, even when it seems like the harder path. It may take time, but honesty and integrity always pay off in the end.

    Swena Kalra
    Swena KalraChief Marketing Officer, Scott & Yanling Media Inc.

    Rejected Shady Practices for Professionalism

    When I first began practicing, a real estate developer came to me to review some legal documents. I found them to be a little shady and told my client as such. He told me, 'This is the way we do business.' Despite the fact that he could refer other business to me, I turned him down, as he would refer business to me from people like himself. I did not want to build a practice on shady dealings.

    Lori Karpman
    Lori KarpmanCeo, Lori Karpman & Company