When I first started my home-based business, everything I read about marketing indicated a need for me to think BIG, act like I was this huge conglomerate in a brick and mortar storefront, with scads of happy employees all a buzz to keep our clients happy. That was a bit over the top for me, but I soon realized that to get noticed, the small fish did indeed need to be creative.

That was more than twelve years ago, and thankfully, home-based and small businesses are certainly the norm nowadays, and we don’t have to come up with creative language and jargon to attract business from anyone else in our specific industry.

The same cannot be said for business ethics! Thanks in part to the Enrons and Arthur Andersons of the world, more and more of our clientele are being approached by competitors with a code of ethics in hand, touting their business practices and explaining how they exceed client expectations. Although I’m sure that’s what we’re all looking to do anyway, understanding the need to create and implement some basic ethical standards goes a long way in differentiating you from the pack.

While considering what your plan or ‘code’ will include, don’t forget to include your employees, not only in the process of creating the standards, but in actually implementing and communicating them to your clients.

This is extremely important. Remember, your employees are really the ones who handle most of the direct contact with your clients. If they don’t understand or subscribe to your ethical standards of practice, if they don’t feel a ‘part’ of the process, you’re going to get a bit lonely at the office. Research indicates that when a business isn’t run ethically, the employees are usually not treated ethically either. That spells disaster for client care!

Once you’ve prepared the plan, shout it from the rooftops! Post your ‘code of ethics’ or standards on your website, in brochures, on letterhead, sales receipts, or anywhere that will constantly and consistently remind staff and clients that it’s not just about your product or service, but about the way employees and clients are treated at all times, before, during and after the sale.

Maybe it’s just a brief ‘tag line’ that reminds everyone you have a plan that can be viewed in its resting place on your website, or it’s strategically stored on the back of everyone’s business card. Wherever you promote them, it should be evident to everyone that you run and operate an ethical business.

Having an ethics program in place will help clients and employees understand the value of doing business with you, and bring them back again, and again. I have even found that clients and employees (in my case, sub-contractors) will be more flexible with you when their experience is less than desirable, if you are honest, straightforward, and ethical in all other situations and transactions.

Competing with the BIG guys as it relates to ethical business practices is easy, when you take the time to memorialize your thoughts and actions in a way that communicates to clients and staff that ethics are an important factor in your everyday personal and professional life.

Author's Bio: 

Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: http://www.internetmarketingvirtualassistant.net, or contact her at info@internetmarketingvirtualassistant.net