In its simplest definition, ethics means the sense of right and wrong. Whatever is conscientiously right is ethical; whatever is not is unethical. This subject also includes a desire to do good in some measure for other people.
And that is the basic principle that needs to be followed, when you are trying to practice business ethics and policies. A Buddhist religious principle says Bahujana Hitaya, Bahujana Sukhaya, which literally means 'Of the greatest good, of the greatest number'. That is what business ethics must actually be all about. While making great strides in improving the prosperity of the business, one of the most common endeavors must be to see whether the business is really mattering to the common person in some significant manner or not.
Productivity is More Important than Profitability
If a person has two kinds of raw material, one more expensive than the other, he will select the better one among them, regardless of the price. In most cases, the pricier one will also be the better one to use, which can lead to better production. In this manner, he is also ensured of more sales, and hence, the profitability will not always be affected, at least by a huge amount. He earning a very significant profit, and also the customer's trust, which is more important than anything money can buy for a business. We all know how credible businesses always have a very long innings to play in the market. This is what you get when you place productivity over profitability.
The Customer is Not Sheep that Can Be Sheared
Most unethical businesses over-charge for their products, and thus fleece their customers pitifully. Such businesses may be able to make a quick buck at the outset due to advertising and hype, but once the novelty value is over, it will go down into the pits. Companies hike their prices obscenely at the outset and cannot reduce them later. Even if they see that they are not getting the kinds of sales they had hoped for, they cannot downsize their prices without losing out on their credibility. Fair pricing is one of the most important principles of business ethics, and it must be implemented right from the outset.
The Buyer's Domain is More Important than the Middlemen's Domain
The middlemen are very important to the success of any business, and most ventures will go to any lengths to appease their distributors. After all, they are important people who buy the products from the manufacturers, and then keep them in front of the consumers. In a highly competitive world, it is very important to catch the distributor's eyes, and hence, most businesses make policies keeping the distributor in mind.
As long as the consumer is kept at the center of the whole thing, the entire scenario proceeds in the right direction. The consumer is more important than the middlemen, and all ventures must realize the valuable business ethics of propitiating the consumer more than the distributor. If the former is not happy with the product, there will be no sales, and consequently there will be no distributors buying the products. The trick lies in making the consumer happy by giving them the exact kind of product they want - never mind the little higher manufacturing cost - and create the demand for the product an appropriate manner. The distributors will automatically come craving for it.
Be Diplomatic With Your Competitors
It must be told and emphasized that business ethics always promote healthy competition in the market, and monopoly is actually looked down upon. Your venture will also have some rivals, and it is best for you to be diplomatic with them. Ethically, you must respect what your rivals do. If you feel tempted to start a cold war with them, just bear in mind that they are also in the same business as you are. Hence, definitely they must be good in some way, or they wouldn't tick at all.
In fact, in the eyes of the consumers, you are sharing an invisible fraternity, since you are providing similar products. It is quite profitable for you to follow this fraternal bond with your competitors. Even if you are trying to overthrow them, do that graciously, along with improving your own business simultaneously. Sabotaging your competitors' businesses in any way is sacrilege in the business ethics world.