Monday, October 24, 2011

My Social Values as a Businesswoman

First and foremost, I will never, ever sell a product or service that I cannot stand behind.  I have a very strong personal sense of ethics and integrity, and I will never run my business in such a way that I am not in accordance with them.

1. I will never seek to have a standard of living beyond upper middle class.  The greater my income, the greater a portion of my income I will dedicate to charitable giving, social business endowment, microfinance lending, entrepreneurship grants, and scholarship endowments.  The only reason I've ever wanted wealth beyond simple financial independence would be for the purposes of becoming a philanthropist.
2. I will always give back to my customers, and encourage and assist them in giving back to their communities.
3.  I will always give back to my employees through surplus-sharing, and will encourage and assist them in giving back to their communities.
4.  The aim of my compan(y/ies) will not be maximizing profit, but maximizing empowerment of women, both locally and globally.  Any surplus not shared with employees or re-invested in the company will be dedicated to the same purposes mentioned in #1.
5.  I will operate my company with maximum fiscal transparency, so that any employee or customer who wishes to do so can ascertain that I am running my compan(y/ies) with integrity and in accordance with my principles.
6. I will never, ever sell my customers' data to a third party.  If a third party vendor wants to sell to my customers, and I find their product or service relevant to my customer base and worth selling, I will either make it available in my brick-and-mortar shop or make them a partner on my website(s).

I was particularly inspired by a book I randomly picked up from the business section at Hugendubel Bookshop, which harkened quite a lot back to my co-op days.  The book is entitled "Social Business" by Muhammed Yunus, creator of Grameen Bank and 2006 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.  I have chosen to espouse the principles he recommends for all businesses.
1.  I will not make this "world a riskier place than it would be without the business in it". (p.9)
2. My business "will contribute to making the planet safer than it would have been without the business". (p.10)
3.  My business "will be conducted within the framework of social and political responsibilities established by the state and local authorities". (p.10)
4.  I will never make a profit at the expense of the poor. (p.13)

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