Friday, June 3, 2011

what I've learned about business ethics this past week

Sometimes I blog about being an entrepreneur here at Green Skin Care Blog. There are fabulous and not so grand things that come with that title. I usually share the exciting, energetic, hard working, wonderful side of it, because that's how I roll. I'm a "think positively," "what can you learn from this situation" type of person. Today I'm going to share 2 rather difficult situations that were quite a learning experience.

"Business ethics" are two words I've pondered a few too many times in the past week...
One evening, I logged into hootsuite, a great tool for posting and tracking the impact of your social media accounts all in one place. I scrolled through my columns and spotted a fellow member of the Indie Beauty Network (IBN), @bellalucce, commenting someone had copied text verbatim from her website with links to her page and the copied page. I clicked on the link and was surprised to find someone I knew on the other end, another IBN member. I clicked on  the "wholesale" tab of the site to find an exact copy of The Grapeseed Company intro wholesale page...

I was a bit astounded; as members of the IBN trade network, we sign a membership statement specifically saying we will adhere to a certain code of ethics. This got to me on another level, because I have personally answered quite a few helpful questions for this member on where to get equipment and supplies. The member was contacted and the situations was dealt with; the copied text was removed in a matter of days.

What a powerful reminder that social media is not only a great communication tool, it can be an incredible business ethics tool. By tweeting and other IBN members re-tweeting the copied text, those involved were contacted and other members voiced their support. The problem was solved quickly and efficiently. Not to mention it was quite an effective reminder that you always have to watch your back as a small biz owner, no matter what.

I strolled into work Tues. to find another situation that left me dumbfounded and seriously questioning business ethics. Overnight, our next door neighbors in the small plaza we're located in closed up shop, stripped their restaurant and vanished in the middle of the night. Our joint places use to be one large unit, and the combined areas still share power, water & gas utilities. We had been paying the restaurant the beginning of each month our portion of the utilities for the month ahead since the meter needed to be assigned to one of our businesses and as a restaurant, they used more. Upon calling the electric company, I came to find out our neighbors had pocketed our money leaving bills unpaid. When I asked to transfer the account to my name since I was worried the power would be shut off, the rep I spoke with was trying to hold me liable since we shared the same meter number! Finally I got a manager who listened to our saga and went through the account notes, looked at my forwarded emails and reviewed our history to help me resolve the bum situation I had blindly been put in. Thankfully I had good notes and copies of everything in writing! I will be following up with our property management company since this is a situation our business never should have been put in in the first place. It's OK and human nature to get upset when things like this happen, but as an entrepreneur, you need to focus on the end goal of solving the problem, treat people with respect, and keep a written record for everything. Thank goodness for Evernote!

I have learned so much from other entrepreneurs who have shared their ups and downs. I hope these stories help others. I love being an entrepreneur. I like to see the good in people. Sometimes when weeks like this happen, it's hard to, but writing about it helps to focus on what I've learned from the experience and hopefully others can learn from it as well. I will always stick to the golden rule when it comes to business ethics; Treat others the way you want to be treated.

11 comments:

  1. "Treat others the way you want to be treated"......AMEN sistah!

    I'm disappointed to learn that Taylor Organics neglected to honor the code of ethics, especially since I was a small business owner too. What ever happened to finding your own creativity?

    I too have shared with, and helped other indie owners with supplier, equipment, label, and graphic questions. Not to mention, sharing other indie businesses on my blog. There is plenty of business to go around. Taking content without permission is a ginormous pet peeve of mine, and I'm glad your situation worked out.

    As for the business that was once beside you, I hate you had to endure the possibility of being held liable.

    Keeping notes, taking screen shots, setting up Google alerts, and social media are all fabulous tools to protect your business! Great job in nipping 2 major issues in the bud!

    Rock on with your bad self, my uber cool surfing partner!

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  2. thanks for the support Lisa :) Have a great day.

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  3. Kristin,

    I can identify with these weeks all too well. I regret that Taylor Made Organics felt justified in stealing copyrighted text from your website- we engaged her for a similiar issue and managed to have the text removed within a few hours. I am continually astounded at the comfort level people who scream the loudest about their ethics have about their theft. No matter what hard knocks may come, savor this little jewel from John D. Rockefeller:

    "I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”

    Hang tight and keep pushing!

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  4. That's an awesome quote Lela. Thanks for your wise comments.

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  5. Kristin, I know your neighbors were not what one would hope for in the cozy situation you were in, and I know you tried to make the relationship work. It sucks that they still tried to take advantage of you in the end.

    And hey, I know Lela from back in my Switchboards days! *Waving*

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  6. Amen sister! Sorry you had such a rough week yikes! I too have been having my fair share of things to deal with in several areas and have really been making sure I try hard to always remember to do unto as I would have done to me as well - and I hope to teach my kids this important life lesson! Great reminder! :) xo

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  7. I was so surprised when I saw this - I have had similar problems with Taylor Made as well copying word-for-word writings from my website. It's so hurtful when that happens, and I'm sorry it happened to you to. Listening right now to your interview with DM about opening a store. Love all your ideas, and so thankful to you for sharing the wonderful ideas. Your fellow IBN member,
    Colleen

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  8. To be more specific, Taylor Made had copied my skincare chart designs that I made myself here: http://www.taylormadearomatherapy.com/ComplexionChart.html
    Except, a year ago, I updated them with new colors, not even seeing this until a few months ago. It's really creepy that someone could actually do that. I don't usually use a graphic designer, I mostly do designs myself so when it was copied, it was so obvious to me. Anyways, again I completely understand and hopefully this won't happen again with this particular company.

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  9. @Colleen, I'm so sorry to hear that... seems many of us were victim to being copied by Taylor Made. I hope that's the last we all see of this!

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  10. Thank you so much for this. This is really helpful.

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