Last week, I was gifted a book to read by a friend in Wealth Management, called ENOUGH: What’s YOUR number?
It shares many examples as to how so many people are working hard, putting money away for when they retire, with little to no idea as to how much they actually need TO retire!
The idea was that everyone has a “number” that defines how much they need to retire. While it’s absolutely true that you need to set clear retirement savings goals for yourself, it’s also true that you have a “number” right now that perhaps you don’t even know?
That’s right, in this stage of your life, you have an “enough” number. That number defines the total income you need in order to meet your needs, reach your goals, and enjoy life.
It’s key to define what your “enough” number is, as quickly as possible and how that goal aligns with your personal and professional priorities. When you have financial goals that are actually tied to your lifestyle goals, you’ll be able to start working with your “why” in mind.
Too often, people fall into the trap of setting arbitrary income goals for themselves. While it may sound amazing to have a six-figure salary or to run a multi-million-pound business, you have to ask yourself whether those numbers will actually move you toward the life you want to build.
Sometimes, the arbitrary financial goals you set for yourself are coming from a place of vanity. For example, a seven-figure business may sound better to you than a business that grosses £300,000-400,000 each year, but do you actually need that much revenue to support yourself and your team? It’s only when you have absolute clarity on both your and the business goals, that you can ensure they are aligned and are working effectively to achieve them. And not at risk of achieving one, at the detriment of the other!
It may feel good once you are able to generate a 6 figure salary, but will that income be enough to move you toward your goals? You may find your “enough” number is actually more or less depending on your unique vision for your life.
In order to calculate your “enough” number, start by reflecting on your goals and priorities both during this season of life and in your future. Prior to setting these priorities, it can be helpful to do a values check-in. Jot down the 4-6 core values you live your life by. Not sure where to start? Take five minutes to run through a free program like the Life Values Inventory to determine what you and your business value most.
You might also wish to read: Why Values are key to success and Our Values
With those values in mind, you can start to clarify your priorities and set clear financial goals that support them. Looking at the values list above, you may find that your priorities are:
- Having a job that allows you to spend more time with your family.
- Having the flexibility to travel both now and in the future.
- Earning enough income to successfully send your kids to college debt-free, and to go back to school yourself.
- Being able to donate to charity, or support family members in need, as part of your annual financial plan.
Once you prioritise your goals, you know what “enough” looks like, and you can work backwards to determine your “enough” number.
Determining Your “Enough” Number
Wondering how to create a clear income goal based on your priorities? Start by adding monetary values to the priorities you’ve already set. Carrying on our example, you might say:
- Having the flexibility to travel both now and in the future. £16,000/year for your whole family now through retirement.
- Earning enough income to successfully send your kids to university debt-free. Circa £70,190 for each of your kids in the next 5-15 years (depending on when they graduate)
- Being able to donate to charity, or support family members in need, as part of your annual financial plan. £6,000 per year dedicated to charitable donations.
Then, add those figures to your other financial goals (like retirement savings or debt repayment), and current living expenses. Your equation should look like this:
(Annual Priorities Costs) + (Annual Living Expenses) + (Annual Emergency/Retirement Savings + Debt Obligations) = Your “Enough” Number
How Does Your “Enough” Impact Retirement Savings?
Are some of your priorities going to impact the amount you spend in retirement? If you want to travel the world during retirement or continue to donate to charity as a retiree, you may need to add these expenses to your savings goals. Remember to add them to your total retirement cash flow needs, and plan accordingly. You may find that you need to save an extra amount each month or set a lump-sum of money aside to achieve your goals as a retiree.
Having trouble figuring out what your ideal retirement savings are? A good rule of thumb is to estimate that you’ll spend 80% of your current income during retirement. Ideally, you’ll have paid off your mortgage and other debt to free up additional cash flow.
What If “Enough” Doesn’t Feel Achievable?
Does your “enough” number feel like an unachievable goal? It’s time to assess what roadblocks are holding you back from your dream life. A few questions to ask are:
- What would my business need to look like, do, generate, for me to receive the income I deserve?
- What do I need to change in my business for me to reach those goals?
- Do I need additional education or training?
Making a Plan
Once you know what your “enough” number is, you’re able to create a plan with confidence for how you can achieve that income. If you’re uncertain about how to reach that goal, reach out to a financial planner. Together with your advisor, you’ll be able to discuss your current priorities, how they translate into financial goals, and what you need to do financially to move the needle.
And whilst they are working on your “enough” number, we can get to work reviewing and revising your business plan to SMASH IT!
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Have you got what it takes this winter to survive and thrive?
Yes, it’s not quite April, and I’m talking about winter, but not in the traditional sense! It may be the first days of spring, and with news of lockdown restrictions slowly being lifted, and the continued roll-out of the COVID-19 Vaccine, much anticipation of a more positive summer than 2020? And whilst I do not wish to be the bearer of bad news; we are on the very cusp of an exceptionally bleak economic winter, that if you are not preparing for, could prove to be exceptionally difficult to survive!
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) – which keeps tabs on government spending – said that UK borrowing would be £355bn for the current financial year (April 2020 to April 2021), before falling back to £234bn over the next year.
That’s the highest figure ever seen outside wartime.
Now before we go any further, what does this even look like?
To demonstrate, I want you to consider it in seconds.
What long are a million seconds?
About 11 days.
How about a billion seconds?
about 31.5 YEARS!
So when we talk about BORROWING £355Bn. In seconds, that’s the equivalent of 11,182 THOUSAND YEARS! And although we borrowed it at a very reasonable interest rate, that’s still FAR more than we could ever consider in our lifetime to payback!
The tide is turning
So although the news is becoming less doom and gloom right now, with stories of ‘opening back up’ and ‘vaccine completion percentage the fact is, there is a colossal debt we (as a country) have incurred to get through 2020, and the economy (the world over) is being propped up with borrowing and quantitive easing! In the USA, COVID is expected to have cost $16Trillion (that’s the seconds equivalent of over Half a Million years ago).
The fact is, this virus has cost the earth more than we can ever expect to repay, both in terms of lives and financially. The amount of money that has been poured into ‘propping up’ economies around the world, is the highest since the second world war (A debt, we only finished paying back in 2018!)
For the first time ever, it has been government policy to close entire sectors of the economy down in order to save lives. Industries, the employers that form them, and the employees that work in them have all had to put actions once regarded as routine on hold for the best part of a year. A collapse in confidence and demand has led to capital expenditure falling off a cliff, with people preferring to sit on their cash rather than invest in an economy that has suffered the biggest decline in its fortunes in over 300 years – a contraction of 9.9%.
Added to this, the extent of the health emergency has fluctuated constantly, with a lull in cases over the summer of 2020 before the 2nd wave of infections hit society over the winter months – leading to an even longer period of closure.
However, from the moment a vaccine was announced in November, the seeds were planted for a route out of the pandemic. Since then we’ve seen this clarity translate into confidence. Capital is returning, and recruiters are seeing an upsurge in vacant positions with their clients. Activity that would usually occur over 12 months is being squeezed into companies’ post lockdown plans in the second quarter of 2021.
At all levels, consumers and employers are looking to make up for lost time. The UK economy is projected to grow at its fastest rate since 1948 as government stimulus combines with the release of investments and a consumer spending boom. Society has become frustrated by lockdown after lockdown, and this is likely to a far more care-free attitude to activity in 2021. Almost a return to Bryan Adams ‘Summer of ’69’.
The anxiety of 2020 that people have become accustomed to will translate into determination in the second half of this year in particular. When the health situation finally returns to some form of normality, activity will rise exponentially. After a lockdown-enforced lull in Spring 2020, the market grew rapidly at the end of the year as people used the pandemic to reflect on their housing priorities. We might expect to see similar growth in the leisure and hospitality sectors, as once again people appreciate the opportunity to socialise with their family and friends once again.
One of the most important and quite unique elements of 2020, is also one of the least spoken about. After year after year of doing the same thing and having very little time to assess. 2020 gave us all time to reflect. Pre-pandemic, working life was like a treadmill, trying to keep things going on a day to day basis not knowing whether our potential was truly being maximised.
The pandemic has brought about new, innovative ways of working that put many businesses in a healthy position to recover quickly from the crisis. I have seen countless business owners that have been forced to think outside the box in order to survive.
And whilst all of this paints a positive and encouraging picture for the next 2-3 quarters, it is set against a backdrop of such huge debts and the need to recoup losses.
I can’t help feel the news will turn quickly now to many positive stories of success and recovery, to lift peoples spirits ahead of what is yet to be realised!
Let me offer one final example if I may, that might make all of this far clearer:
When you first learn how to drive, your particularly nervous, there is a lot to take in, and you listen intently to your instructor who guides you as to where, when, how, why. When we are taught to observe, use our mirrors, anticipate, we are often looking 1, 2 on occasion three cars ahead. And, eventually, we are deemed competent enough to pass our test.
Years later, and with many thousands of miles of experience, I was fortunate enough to partake and pass my Advanced Driver Licence, and subsequently my C1 Emergency driving test as a frontline Ambulance personnel. and although you shall be driving a large and cumbersome vehicle, all your training is conducted by the Police Traffic Rapid Response Driver Training Team. The speed of reaction, consideration, observation and anticipation is on another level and enables you to anticipate and respond far quicker than ever before.
At speeds well in excess of 100mph, determine you are looking far further ahead and responding instinctively almost subconsciously to anything that on your first driving test would be in your line of sight!
And it’s the same now. I’m encouraging you to view the news and the positive stories ON the backdrop I’ve shared. I’m inviting you to do well this summer, but be aware of the fact the economy is being bolstered to the sum of Billions of pounds right now. When the tide turns (which it has to and shall) you ALSO need to be prepared and ready to survive the economic winter and come through the other side.
There are already those who are ‘taking stock’ building reserves, investing in opportunities now to diversify their risk, and preparing for the storm. If you’d like to learn more as to how YOU can move from survive to thrive? and make them ost of ALL the seasons, click on the link to grab a call with one of our SCALE Sherpa’s.
In a little over 48Hrs, the clocks will once again strike Midnight, people will say a final farewell to 2020 and wish in the New Year.
And whilst 2020 hasn’t been the year anyone of us expected or planned for, and with much of the country re-entering a TIER FOUR lockdown, there is much in the way of uncertainty as to what 2021 may unfold. So I rightfully pose the question:
2021, Have you got what it takes?
I consider myself exceptionally fortunate right now!
You see, back in 1992 I joined the British Army. And after completing Basic Training, and Corps Training, joined my first regiment as a Combat Medical Technician. Over the next 12+ years, I continued to serve my Queen and my Country; assigned to whichever regiment was about to deploy, wherever in the world it was deemed we were required.
From Jungle Warfare to Artic Warfare training, we visited every environment imaginable to practice and prepare for the ‘What if’ scenario. We practiced again and again and again on what to do, how to do, when to do, with whom to do, in order to achieve the mission and all its objectives. The British Army, has a great saying, to which we all have almost ingrained within us from the moment we first join:
Improvise, Adapt, Overcome
And although I’m no longer a soldier, I’ve maintained the same attitude to risk, to uncertainty, to challenge. What we were presented with in Early 2020 was a ‘new set of circumstances’ a new environment on which we have all had to learn how to work and live.
I’m also fortunate enough to be relatively well read. And with a background in Psychology and Sociology, more than familiar with the work of Bruce Tuckman, and his 1965 study into operational effectiveness. Tuckman determined there are 4 ‘stages’ to change, and that each member of a team has to go through these in order, for the team to develop and perform to its optimum.
Form, Storm, Norm, Perform
And whilst I have witnesses’ times where this theory can be challenged. Where a team HAS to perform instantly after forming, it can also be said and agreed that once the ‘necessity’ has passed, the 4 stages do still occur prior to the team performing as well again!
However, the same can be said for business teams, communities, towns, cities, regions, and countries when faced with a Pandemic!
We have all witnessed first-hand how people have been forced to form a new behaviour (wearing of a face mask etc), and how some have objected to this (Storm), and that eventually the objections subside (Norm) as it becomes ‘normal’ to wear a face shield. Allowing us to once again PERFORM in the new environment.
But it should also be recognised, that whilst this over simplified example is valid, that we have ALL gone through this individually, and that we all go through this at our own pace. We have certainly seen examples within our own workplace where some have ‘moved’ from STORM to NORM whilst others are still within the STORM phase and not yet ready to accept!
And the same can be said of businesses also. Some have quickly moved through the Form, Storm, Norm phases. Adapted quickly to the new environment and traded successfully throughout 2020. Others have not done so well at finding a means to ‘pivot’ or ‘diversify’ and found 2020 exceptionally difficult and challenging to get through.
What does 2021 have in store?
As we ‘welcome’ in 2021. There remains much uncertainty as to the environment we shall be working in? With much trepidation as to a ‘new strain‘ a ‘third wave‘ and the NHS under instruction to ‘make every possible bed available‘ for the anticipated surge in new cases, whilst we desperately wait for the 200,000 vaccinations a week, to rise to the predicted 2,000,000 a week requirements (as per the latest medical Thinktank report).
And whilst we acknowledge Tuckman for his work on behavioural change. There are also 4 main considerations for businesses to consider in 2021:
- Mission Changes: Has the pandemic impacted the mission of the business? If so, How? Is it necessary to amend the mission? If so, to what?
- Strategic Changes: Has the environment, determined a need to change the way in which we do business? What are the key strategic advantages for doing so?
- Operational Changes: Does the company need to amend, upgrade, diversify the way in which they do business?
- Technological Changes: Does the technology we have in place still support the Mission, Strategic and Operational requirements? Is there new technology available? What are the advantages/disadvantages of this?
If 2020 has taught us anything, its been to initially to ‘Improvise, Adapt and Overcome’. To find resilience, and a means of survival. And then, to rediscover values, and what is actually important to us both personally and professionally. As we move into 2021, there is going to be a lot of importance placed on the value of who we are, what we do, why we do, how we do.
Have you got what it takes?
Throughout 2020, My TrueNORTH spent an extraordinary amount of time supporting Business Owners to review, revise and amend them and their business. To show them how to Improvise, Adapt and Overcome, and how amending the model doesn’t mean amending the business in order to move quickly from survive to thrive.
In 2021, (and remaining true to my former military survival training) we start the year with a series of BATTLEPLAN workshops, masterclasses and webinars. Sharing with customers old and new how to devise, test and implement a robust ‘battleplan’ for 2021. Ensuring it remains in line with your goals, vision and values, and meets the needs of your clients/customers in these most unprecedented times.
And, within the first quarter, I’m super excited to announce the launch of our latest book: ADDAZERO – The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable SCALE (Foundations) the first of 2 books we’ve spent well over 4 years researching, to aide Business Owners to Know, Understand and Avoid the pitfalls of so many other businesses we have researched. (Which ultimately leads to SUCCESS!)
On Friday, we welcome in 2021, a new year full of new possibilities. It really doesn’t matter HOW you and your businesses ended your 2020. But the attitude, aptitude and integrity you embrace 2021, the people, systems and processes you have at your disposal and how to best utilise them, and the willingness and ability to adapt, will determine not only if you survive and thrive, but if you have what it takes!
My New Years gift to you…
Start with an advantage over all your competition, simply CLICK HERE to receive your free in-depth, bespoke SCALABILITY report on the current scalability of you and your business (Based on 4+ years of research, and surveying the scalability of more than 115K SME businesses).
I’m Jay Allen, Business Scale Mentor and founder of the #ADDAZERO Business Challenge. We’ve made it our mission to support 1,000,000 Business Owners to #ADDAZERO to their Personal Disposable Income.
In 1876, the President of Western Union – William Orton, dismissed phones as a “toy” when Alexander Graham Bell offered to sell him the patent for $100,000.
Orton wrote an internal memo stating,
“The idea is idiotic on the face of it. Furthermore, why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger to the telegraph office and have a clear written message sent to any large city in the United States?”
I start with that quote because it’s clear how far off that prediction really was. The number of mobile devices alone in 2020 stood at 14.02 billion, with forecasts suggesting this is likely to rise to 14.91 billion by 2021
That prediction was far off the mark and perhaps cost Orton billions in passing it by. But we don’t have to be clairvoyants as leaders, simply willing to remain open, observant, and ready to learn, adapt, and overcome!
What I want to focus on today is the difference between ROI, which we all understand, and COI, which we often forget about.
We all know that ROI refers to a Return On Investment. And, it’s important for us to run a financial analysis before making decisions like purchasing a new piece of equipment. We do financial analysis on large decisions to determine if we can make our money back on an investment and to determine how long that will take.
We then decide whether to make the investment or not based on the time within which we can turn that around, pay off our investment and begin reaping the rewards from it. That we are not at risk of our cash burn rate exceeding beyond our cash reserves, and leaving is GROWING broke! – However, another challenge we face as leaders is the COI, or Cost Of Inaction.
What happens when we have a business problem (we may even know the cost of that problem), yet we fail to take action to resolve it?
I’ll give you an example:
I was speaking earlier this week with the Director of a legal practice. The company had one office that wasn’t performing up to expectations. Throughout the discussion, the director said, “Jay, we know some of this is cultural, and we just can’t figure out why.”
We talked about what it might take to solve this problem. Through discussions, we came up with a great plan, which the director themselves acknowledged would likely fix the problem. He had even taken it one step further and recognised that this problem was costing them approx. £250,000 a year!
But when we looked at what it would take to get that problem fixed and came up with the budget for it, his response was, “I can’t afford to do that.” I asked why not, and he said, “We haven’t budgeted that money out.”
(Keep in mind, the cost to fix the problem was a fraction of the £250,000 problem.)
“So you’re willing to continue to pay £250,000 to maintain the problem versus a fraction of that to fix it?”
We determined that we could probably get the problem fixed in about 12-18 months. And that by around Easter 2022, they would probably have made their money back from an ROI standpoint.
However, the director failed to consider COI. Making a decision based on “We didn’t budget money to solve this problem,” and being willing to continue to lose £250,000 a year on a problem is the COI, the cost of inaction.
Here’s another example:
I worked with a business owner who wanted to design an incentive program for her employees that would help boost productivity and improve customer service. We discussed it, and she said, “I can’t put this in place right now. It’s probably going to take a couple of years to budget for it.”
“If the incentive program were to self-fund and drive business results on top of that, wouldn’t it be smart ROI?” I asked
“It’s absolutely smart ROI.” She said
“What would be the cost if you did nothing?”
“I save the initial investment but get nothing additional.”
We were able to start to figure out how many customers she would lose if she couldn’t up her customer service game, and how much it would then cost her to acquire new customers to take their place. That was her COI — calculating out the cost it takes her to acquire new customers and multiplying that against her customer retention rate. By not making the investment, we knew how many clients she was going to lose and would have to replace.
In both scenarios, these leaders were savvy business owners. Unfortunately, they were only looking at one piece of the pie. Sometimes, as the leader, we can get a bit ‘tunnel vision’.
While I started off with a very evocative prediction by the CEO of a multi-national corporate, I also said we don’t always have to be clairvoyants; we just have to make solid business decisions. My definition for solid business decisions comes back to: What is the best thing for the business and the people in it?
We have to remember that our people are the ones driving our business results. Any investment we look at making in our people, if done wisely, is going to have a bottom-line impact for us.
Here is my final example of COI
Few people know the Kodak Company was the first to invent the digital camera back in the 1970s. They filed the patent but failed to fully develop the technology because they feared it would too greatly impact their sales of film.
In 2007, their patent for the digital camera expired. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy. They paid a huge cost for their COI in not jumping into the market and exploring the new technology, even if it were to impact their business short term. They failed to acknowledge change and resulted in losing everything. I understand this is a lack of foresight, but their COI was bankruptcy.
I strongly encourage business leaders to look at their decisions through both lenses
If I make the investment, what will happen?
If I don’t, what will happen?
I recall being invited to speak at the Federation of Small Businesses National Conference in 2012. Prior to being invited to stage, I’d been sat at a table with around a dozen other business owners, one particularly ‘stood out’ as he had chosen to wear a very vibrant purple colour suit with contrasting orange shirt. He had the entire tables undivided attention as he told us so enthusiastically that he was on the verge of launching his new business, that was going to revolutionise the online education space (remember, this was 2012). We were all ‘hooked’ on his every word, and wished him every ongoing success and that he must ‘keep us all informed as to his progress’.
A year later, I was invited back to the conference, not as a main stage speaker but to host a round table discussion. As I arrived, who should i see in the car park, but a gentleman wearing a vibrant green suit with contrasting yellow shirt! I began to make my way over to him and learn of the progression he had made in the past 12 months,….. only to hear he begin to recite exactly the same story to another unsuspecting couple a few paces ahead of me!
The online education space was said to be valued at $107 billion by 2015, and is projected at being worth $350 billion by 2025! And yet, I strongly suspect, I’m likely to bump into the same gentleman with the questionable attire telling me how that was “his idea” and had been “cheated out of his fortune”
This is anything but a dress rehearsal my friends, and neither “Putting it off until…” or “Once I’ve …” is going to pay dividends to your dreams or plans of what you want from your business.
It is widely regarded as Einstein who declared the definition of insanity as being “Doing the same thing, again and again, still hoping for a different outcome”. I’d like to suggest that doing nothing towards progressing both you and your business, is already determining the increased risk of you and your businesses significance in the future. The only constant in life is that of change. And unless you are changing, evolving, developing at the rate of change you are already getting left behind!
The reality is, you don’t know, what you don’t know. And not making the investment in you, your development, may not simply mean maintaining the status quo. As we saw with Kodak, a lack of continual investment cost them their company. So, make sure you’re calculating your ROI and your COI in order to determine your best course of action.
We’ve made it our mission to help and support 1,000,000 Business Owners to #ADDAZERO to their Personal Disposable Income. Enabling them to buy the ‘forever’ home of their dreams, take frequent and extensive holidays with their family and fall back in love with their business for what it is able to reward them with. To learn more, simply book a complimentary ‘virtual coffee’ with one of our award-winning SCALE mentors.
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At a time where business is tough, everyone is feeling the post lockdown pinch and we are all seeking that quick boost to finish the year with a high. I ask Do Ethics Matter?
Well, as our own company strap-line is the UK’s Leading Ethical Coaching Company,
I’m often asked what does that actually mean?
Yet to answer that, perhaps we ought to start by agreeing on:
What are Ethics?
At its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles. Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society, which can often also be described as moral philosophy. The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition.
What are Business Ethics?
By definition, business ethics are the moral principles that act as guidelines for the way a business conducts itself and its transactions. In many ways, the same guidelines that individuals use to conduct themselves in an acceptable way, in personal and professional settings; apply to businesses as well.
Acting ethically ultimately means determining what is “right” and what is “wrong.” Basic standards exist around the world that dictate what is wrong or unethical in terms of business practices. For example, unsafe working conditions are generally considered unethical because they put workers in danger. An example of this is a crowded work floor with only one means of exit. In the event of an emergency (such as fire) workers could become trapped or might be trampled on as everyone heads for the only means of escape.
Likewise, knowingly defrauding employees of entitlement, owing to either lack of education of sharing of information would also constitute poor ethical judgement.
While some unethical business practices are obvious, around the world they do still occur as peoples perception of what is acceptable differ widely.
Determining what practices are ethical or not is more difficult to determine if they exist in a grey area where the lines between ethical and unethical can become blurred or undetermined by best business practice, and what is considered ‘acceptable’.
For example, a company that exploits their marketing prowess across social media to capture data with the sole intent to manipulate peoples thinking (or voting patterns in the case of Cambridge Analytica) was determined that whilst no CRIME had been committed in doing so, the impact of such resulted in the first ever time a company has been tried in a court of law where this was considered ‘psychological warfare!’.
The THREE parts to Understanding Business Ethics
To truly break down business ethics, it’s important to understand the three basic components that the term can be dissected into.
The first part is the history. While the idea of business ethics came into existence along with the creation of the first companies or organisations, what is most often referred to by the term is its recent history since the early 1970s. This was when the term became commonly used the world over. The main principles of business ethics are based in academia and on academic writings on proper business operations. Basic ethical practices have been gleaned through research and practical study of how businesses function, and how they operate, both independently and with one another. In this sense, the considerations and theories are based around the aspects of ‘fair play’ and what is considered the ‘norm’ on how companies operate.
The second major meaning behind the term is derived from its close relationship and usage when scandals occur. Companies selling goods that were created using child labour or poor working conditions is one such scandalous occurrence which has led to being labelled as poor ethical standards. Likewise, the exploitation of people because of their colour, creed, sexuality, religion are now considered either illegal or at least poor ethical standards.
Other examples of this, are where a business professes to support one thing, whilst clearly practicing something else.
Such as businesses that claim to have environmentally friendly products/services/practices, whilst knowingly shipping their waste to other parts of the world to create the mass landfill mountains we now see many living on within places like India and China.
Perhaps the most recent and continually developing aspect of ethics is the third piece – the idea that companies are building business ethics into the core of their companies, making them a standard part of their operational blueprint.
As the world continues to grow more political (and more politically correct) an increased focus on the width and depth of business ethics and strong adherence to them become ever more scrutinised.
Business ethics are important for every company. They keep workers safe, help trade and interactions between companies remain honest and fair, and generally make for better goods and services. Distinguishing what a company will and won’t stand for is not always the same for each organisations, but knowing basic ethical guidelines is a key component of company management.
I firmly believe these are the 7 key principles of ethics in business
- Honesty: The willingness and openness to remain honest.
- Integrity: Doing what is ‘right’ not just what is ‘expected’.
- Promise-Keeping & Trustworthiness: Setting and living up to expectation
- Loyalty: Remaining true to People not just Profit
- Fairness: Demonstrating a ‘live and let live’ culture, not winner takes all
- Concern/Respect for Others: Recognising impact and supporting communities
- Law Abiding: Both Criminal, Civil and Moral!
Within My TrueNORTH, we firmly believe The following principles will help any leader grow their business impact far beyond that of a happy share holder!
Practice taking the Second Step
Go a little further. Always do more than anticipated and expected. Surprise others by paying attention to the little things that others don’t. Be different.
A principle that is helpful in building a business is the principle of going the second mile. Good companies develop a second-mile mentality. In business, we need to separate ourselves so that others can see our business more clearly.
Too many companies expect second-mile results without giving second-mile effort. It is always a good idea to do more than expected.
The Golden rule works, If you work it
Make People First Things. Think of others first. Treat others like you want to be treated. Practice thoughtfulness. When you think of the customers, they will think of you.
Many great businesses use this principle as the foundation for their business. The concept is to consider others first. The wise business leader and business will always treat others as they would like to be treated. – Companies that don’t think of their customers will not be thought of by their customers.
Focus on profit with a Purpose
Know your priorities. Live life and run your business with purpose and vision. Profit is powerful. Profit used well can lead to both success and significance. Attract others to your Mission and your Dream. Always Explain your Why.
Every successful business creates profits. It is often quoted in business circles that you don’t have a business until you have a profit. Every company has been established and designed to create a profit. However, Ethical Business leaders understand that the wrong profit can be damaging. There is little point in owning all the wealth in the world, if nobody is willing to accept your coin. Therefore, whilst profit is Good, Profit used for Good is Better
Know you’re Yeses and Your No’s.
Be decisive and make great decisions. Make decisions based on values. Know You “No’s.” Say Yes to those things that will make you and organisation better. Live up to your Word. Make your signature mean something. Fulfil your commitments.
Great Decisiveness is a key to influential leadership. People cannot follow a person that doesn’t know where they are going or why they are going in that direction. The power to say yes or no quickly means that you know where you are going and what you are trying to accomplish. Make your words mean something. Develop and build trust relationships by conveying to others that they can count on you and your commitments.
Many leaders lose their influence with others because they commit to aspirational yeses. Leaders must know their “no’s” and be quick to say yes or no definitively with purpose, consistence and in line with the values of the business.
Make the move From Owner to Overseer
Practice steward leadership. Use the resources wisely. An essential shift for Ethical business leaders is moving from ownership to stewardship. True success comes not from what you achieve, but in the legacy, you leave behind to others. It should be the desire of every Ethical business owner to be recognised not for what they own, but what they helped others to achieve.
Trust the law of sowing and reaping
Sow liberally. Be generous with your seeds. Plant daily. Be constantly trying new things. Don’t be afraid to start small. Practice patience.
Laws of life can be trusted because they have been proven through time. Successful businesses know and trust the law of sowing and reaping. Remember, a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.” Don’t be afraid of starting with a small seed. The harvest you are reaping today is from the seeds that you planted yesterday.
Believe and ask for the Impossible
Dream Big Impossible Dreams. Set big goals. Stretch yourself and your team. Find new ways to look at old problems. Embrace belief. Everything great starts with a dream. The world is better when people dream big and believe that impossible things can happen. Challenge yourself to ask “what if” questions and use your imagination to see the world in new and different ways. People desires to be with leaders and organisations who have big visions. to A big vision inspires and attracts. Supersize your thoughts and your beliefs. What seems impossible to one, is possible with many.
Build to the 3rd or 4th Generation
Work on big projects, not for now, but for the future. Always do the right thing. Know your core values and beliefs. Be forward thinking. Make decisions with tomorrow in mind. Prepare for the future by making the right decision today.
Don’t waste time building things that won’t last the test of time. Building on the right foundation will help your business stand through the storms of market changes. A key to building a great business is to act with integrity in all situations. Integrity means doing the right thing in all situations at all times. Martin Luther King Jr. taught that “The time
is always right to do what is right.” Businesses that are built on a solid foundation are built to last generations. Companies that lack a solid foundation are built on slippery ground that can crumble at any time. – Our destiny unfolds in the future, but it is shaped by the decisions that we make today.
Know the order of things and Work the Order
Strive for clarity. Know your priorities. Order is important. When a leader understands the order of things, things become easier to understand. A great principle to practice in business is to focus on first things. When a leader understands the order of things, things can become easier to understand. A leader must be clear and push for clarity in all things.
Improve your Team to improve your Organisation
Find the right and best people to bring around you. Make people your top priority. Learn from everyone. Spend time with a wise team of mentors. Learn faster by learning from others. Ask questions and listen. Seek counsel. Help people to discover their gifts and talents. Find passionate and reliable people.
Great leaders learn from others to learn faster. You need a team around you to inspire you and help you build something bigger than you can build alone. No great leader ever led alone. Find your passion and add passionate people to your team. A passionate person is worth four regular people. Passionate people perform better. In fact, not only have they formed with a purpose, every person on their team has been formed with a purpose. When a company finds the gifts and passions of their people and discern how to release those passions then higher productivity is enjoyed by the person and the company. Passionate people are reliable people. The wisdom of others can be powerful. Every great leader has at least one advisor. However, many business leaders try to do things all on their own. In fact, it is often said that it is lonely at the top. It is only lonely at the top if you are trying to lead alone. Steward leaders believe in the power of others. – When your people get better your organisation gets better.
Do things today that will impact today AND tomorrow
Invest wisely. Don’t forget to invest in yourself. Make the right investments to help the business to grow. Invest in your people. Invest to grow your commitment and your passion.
Leaders are called to lead with passion or all of their heart. Therefore, a leader must make investments wisely.
Leaders in businesses are called upon to make many investments. A leader must make use of the resources of the company to make the right investments in the business, people, and infrastructure. When businesses are invested in wisely, the business will grow. Good investments set the direction and the path of a business to ensure its growth and development. When a business is neglected, it is doomed to shrink and die.
Work to Well Done
Excellent work is worthy work. Do everything for a bigger purpose and a noble cause. Innovate. Always improve and strive to make products and service better. Always Upgrade and Improve. Think long term. Show Your Value Through Products and Services that are of High Quality.
Building a business on these principles requires a change of perspective. One attitude that is essential for Ethical Leaders is to practice excellence at all times and in all situations. When you work towards excellence in everything you are on your way to hearing the “well done” from your employees, your customers, and all who are impacted by it.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this, and whether you think ethics really are the very heart of every thriving business?
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