There are many long-term advantages to a business which consistently exhibits moral and ethical standards. Different people can have different definitions of what constitutes moral and ethical standards. My own accounting profession has a commitment to ethics - yet we still read of members who have clearly fallen short of the standards expected. Some appear to have never really committed to these standards - but worse is those who compromise at the edges - on small things. Sadly this can be a slippery slope.


Some would say business is all about making money. Others take a larger view and see making money as a benefit of business which achieves higher goals. We don't judge one as better than the other, although we are more comfortable with the latter. We are cynical of those who attempt to portray a sense of social responsibility while actually having no real commitment to it. However, we do draw the line at working with those who abuse either the law or people.


Training can be had for any employee function - but as an owner, you have to work on the business in addition to working in the business. An article attempting to explain this suggested building relationships and spending time thinking about bigger issues are crucial. This won't happen by chance. Left to its own devices, business will chew up every minute you give it. So you have to build it into your schedule.


There are many ways to approach this - and good things do come out of moments of insight. But in terms of a structured approach, this means more effort is spent on the head of the rocket than on its fins. This is the vision, strategy, structure and culture, rather than products & services, sales & marketing, people, systems and processes, and finance. To be clear that's not saying you don't also think about those issue from a higher perspective. But at least they tend to get some attention when things go wrong. The bigger issues seldom do - unless it's scheduled.


Once they're in place, they generally need little maintenance unless something significant changes. Still, it's useful to review them periodically - perhaps before you start your annual budget cycle. And I realise many small businesses don't have a budget cycle. A few more advanced ones have a rolling budget cycle - but whatever you do, it makes sense to review higher level issues before tackling the dollars and cents.