Business Ethics on the Internet

Have you ever not had a complete service delivered to you that you paid for on the internet? Did you assume you could get a refund if there was a significant problem with an internet business and found that there was no refund policy? Have you been ‘promised’ or led to believe something via internet marketing and not only didn’t it come true but that no one would even talk to you after you complained?

As a business coach for those who are in business startup or early growth, I always cover the issue of Ethical Behavior during our conversations. While some on-line business owners have some concept of and/or practice a code of Ethics, the majority of other business owners on the internet are likely to have never had any exposure to what Business Ethics entail.

Why I want to bring up Ethical Behavior on the Internet is many fold: One, I have been on the receiving end of unethical behavior. Two, I see all too often, what I consider to be too much unethical behavior being done on the Internet. Three, I feel people need to better understand what Ethical behavior is and thus, perhaps, think twice before engaging in unethical behavior, and Four, the Internet is really an unregulated universe that has no boundaries, police or safeguards against unethical behavior.

Ethical issues will arise in every business and you can’t think of every one of them in advance but you can do some planning. Every business needs to sit down and seriously consider what their business code of Ethics will be. Will it offer refunds or a guarantee and then state the answer in their Policy/Terms. How will complaints by customers be handled? What kinds of claims in marketing will you use that don’t ‘cross the line’? How will you behave with customers or contractors you are not happy with? How will you handle someone saying negative things about you and will do say negative things about others?

You need to know exactly how you will apply a Code of Ethics, be clear about it and implement it consistently. You should also expect the people you work with or contract with to adhere to the same or very similar code of Ethics too.

Why do you need an Internet Business Code of Ethics?

Business Ethics are implemented in order to ensure that a certain required level of trust exists between consumers and other participants with you and your businesses. Such practices ensure that the public is treated fairly. A code of principles based on values that govern an organization’s actions and decisions may mean good business and it may be time consuming but it will offer a lasting benefit for your website and your financial success. An unethical approach allows for quicker accomplishment of goals but only provides a short-term gain and risks your websites reputation for the long-term.

The Institute for Business and Professional Ethics, located at the DePaul University in Chicago has said, “Every possible abuse of integrity and decency takes place on the Web.” Randy Pennington, an ethics consultant in Dallas, Texas, has expressed that “a sense that moral and ethical values are not important” on the Web. And that “There is no standardization in technology on the Web, so why do we expect standardization in behavior?”. With these truisms in mind, what options are there?

Checklist for Creating an Internet Business Code of Ethics:

• Become a member of the Net check Commerce Bureau where visitors to Netcheck’s site can register consumer complaints about anything from unsolicited e-mail to copyright disputes. There is even a place to compliment a company.

• Learn and keep abreast of Ethics information at the Online Journal of Ethics which has comprehensive links to other sites that deal with the topic of ethics.

• Use best practices to perform internet marketing.

• Have Privacy Policy at the end of your signature E-Mail.

• On your website, have a Guarantee badge.

• Include refund information and other language that benefits your customers in knowing your Ethics in your Policy/Terms and Privacy statements on your website. Make them clear, readable and understandable by your customers. You in return must ‘live’ them daily.

• Act with integrity – Always conduct business in a just and moral manner.

• Practice and promote Ethics – Encourage others to act with integrity. Promote strong ethical standards. Do not do business with those who do not practice good Ethical Behavior.

• Provide the best service you can, continue your own self-education and continue to grow professionally and personally through employing good Ethical decision making.

• Use logical judgment – Use your moral and Ethical knowledge in every day decisions.

• Realize that Ethics are important to financial success.

• Conduct your business in a proper, legal and Ethical manner at all times.

• Customers come first and do no harm.

• Clearly note on your site any information that may be obtained by your visitors that may be sold or rented to other parties or vendors.

• Realize that even though the Web has no standards, it is up to all of us to create what is and what is not acceptable for not only ourselves to do and not do on the Internet but to educate others to operate personally and/or professionally in a more Ethical manner.

• Have Copyright notices on all of your material that you do not wanted copied and respect other’s copyright material.

• Make sure the customers and others have an easy way to find out how to contact you.

• Create a policy in how fast you will respond to customer requests or complaints.

• Provide what you say – whether it be a service or a product.

• Realize that the World Wide Web is just that, it is global and with that comes the need to be sensitive to international, national and local cultures.

While I realize this list of ways to think and provide more business Ethical behavior is not the end all, I do think it is a place to start. If we all become more aware of Ethics, practice them every day and truly ‘live’ them, the Internet will be a better place. Let’s make the Internet Ocean where customers and businesses often feel there are way too many sharks waiting to take a bit out of them into a safer and happier place to do business.

The Practical Expert is a comprehensive place for business startups and businesses in their early growth phase for products and services. Through quality business coaching, collaboration with other professionals and other innovations, you will find the means to help your business reach its next step towards success.

Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Small Business Success: Motivation Alone Is Not Enough

Small Business Success: Are You Crossing The Right Finish Line?

Motivation is one of the keys to success. But what if you were running a race and won and then realized that you had crossed the wrong finish line. As a business coach I see this happening more often than you would think.

The business owner starts out with enthusiasm and good intentions only to end up with little energy and unsatisfying results. He ran the race and crossed the finish line but there is not a feeling of exhilaration and a sense of true accomplishment.

Jim Rohn got right to the point when he said, “Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and motivate him, you have a motivated idiot.” As a business coach, I can assure you that all of us have our motivated idiocy.

Small Business Success Is About Doing What’s Important

These are the things that we put extraordinary focus on that are truly not that important. Or the manner in which we approach certain things knowing deep down inside if we only changed that we would have a better outcome. Our motivation must lead us to prioritize and do what is important.

When you are self-employed your motivation determines your destiny. Whether you are starting your own business or running a small business how it is conducted and the results will reflect your motivation. Whether you are an entrepreneur or solo professional your business is a do-it-to-yourself proposition.

Small Business Success Is About Crossing The Right Finish Line.

As a business owner seeking small business success how do you cross the right finish line? In my Business Keys To Success membership course this is one of several areas that are addressed to help you move forward to the business and life you desire.

The training and topic selections will serve as a guide to taking action as well as train you to think in ways to bring the success you desire into your life. To cross the right finish line education and training that encourage you to think, to improve are essential.

What is the right finish line? It occurs when you are on a track to create a business and life that honors who you are. Too often, as a business coach I see a business owner running a small business based on someone else’s model.

Here’s the problem. Let’s say that the model the business owner is using for his small business success is a company where the owner is outstanding at procedures and operations but weak in sales. This operationally oriented owner has had to invest a great deal of time and money into having a productive sales force in order for his business to be successful.

But, the business owner of this other company is outstanding at sales and marketing. In fact, he loves it. But, because he is using the operations oriented model, which fit the strengths of the business owner he is modeling himself after he is stuck in an office focused on policies and procedures and is unhappy.

Over time because his motivation was to emulate this other successful business owner, he becomes unhappy and loses his enthusiasm and drive. How come? Because he is not using his gifts and talents.

Small business success is taking your motivation and making sure that putting you in a position to use your strengths. When you are using your strengths you will be happiest, most productive and increase the odds of your small business success.

The key to success is to have your motivation build a business and life that honors who you are. Only then will your motivation increase the odds of crossing the right finish line and having the success, freedom and abundance you desire.

How To Start A Laundromat Business

To start a Laundromat, one should begin with researching how to create a business plan and a marketing plan. Creating a business plan and a marketing plan for a Laundromat is the most effective way to explore the potential viability of a new or existing Laundromat business.

Business and Marketing Plans

If borrowing money from banks or investors will be needed for your start- up cost, it will be most important to start with well-prepared business and marketing plans. These will insure the banks or investors of the potential long term success of the Laundromat business. This will be a great time to think about naming your business. You may want a new name, or you may want to keep the established name of the existing Laundromat business.

Location

Location, location, location! It is crucial to find an existing Laundromat business or to start a new Laundromat business in a demographic area that responds best to this public service. Locations that are in high traffic areas afford visibility for the Laundromat service. How to start a Laundromat in the best location, of course, is to start the business in the most visible location, but also in a community with the greatest need for Laundromat services.

Demographics

The most efficient demographics for Laundromat businesses are businesses that are in high traffic areas located near apartment complexes, college students, and low income families. Many apartment complexes provide Laundromat services, however, for various reasons, the Laundromat services that are provided may not meet the needs of all of the tenants. As for college students that live on and off campus, they need available laundry services. Many Junior and Community Colleges do not provide dorm living and students attending these colleges may benefit from the use of public laundry services. Low income families’ benefit from having Laundromat business’s in their areas, because it is not always affordable to own, replace, or repair washers and dryers.

Fictitious Business Name

Name your business or keep the name of the pre-existing establishment that you are interested in purchasing. The new or old name of the business is called a fictitious business name. The fictitious business name must be registered with the City or County that keeps the vital records for the area where your Laundromat business will be in service. A fictitious business name will be needed before you are able to open up an official business banking account for your Laundromat business. Your business and marketing plans should reflect your fictitious business name.

Business licenses

Your local, state, and federal agencies are where you must start while learning what licenses you need to start a Laundromat Business. It will be pertinent to contact your city clerk’s office or your county courthouse for licenses that are needed for starting a Laundromat business. Your city or county may require special licenses or certifications for your particular area. A Federal ID Number for your Laundromat business must be issued by The State Board of Equalization. You will need to obtain a vendor’s license from the Franchise Tax Board.

INSURANCES

Insurance for your Laundromat Business will be part of securing the business against unexpected problems. Liability and property damage insurance will cover the business against losses that customers may face, or losses that may be incurred by unexpected property damage. You may consider getting additional insurances that may cover damages that could be caused by natural disasters or some unforeseen catastrophe.

COMMERCIAL LAUNDROMAT EQUIPMENT

If your establishment is new, you will be purchasing commercial Laundromat equipment. There are companies that specialize in supplying vendors with new and use equipment. Speed Queen is a very popular establishment in providing services for coin operated businesses. The Coin Laundry Association is an established organization that is dedicated to servicing coin laundry vendors.

Conclusion

This the most basic format on how to start a Laundromat business. One of the most involved aspects of starting the Laundry service is the preparation of the business and marketing plans that will be needed by banks or“ investors. Finding a location to purchase can be difficult, but rewarding once settled upon. There is a certain amount of leg work that must be done in an effort to secure a fictitious business name, licenses, certifications, and insurances. There is not much more to do but get started on your new endeavor.