What are some examples of ethics that pertain to entrepreneurs?

Examples of ethics that pertain to entrepreneurs include intellectual property issues and the need to come up with an original idea. Other ethical concerns include fair pricing and fair treatment of staff and suppliers, as well as the need to be transparent and honest with funders.

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Ethics is the branch of philosophy concerned with what is right and what is wrong. I will discuss three examples of ethical considerations that entrepreneurs or new business owners should consider. The first is ownership of intellectual property, the second is the way they do business, and the third is ethical financial reporting.

Concerning ownership of intellectual property, an entrepreneur should be sure that he or she is not copying the idea of another startup. Few businesses are unique, and no one could be criticized for opening an advertising agency in a city in which other advertising agencies already exist. However, there could be an ethical argument in more niche markets. For example, let’s say you live in a small town and open an advertising agency especially tailored to doing campaigns for local outdoor activities. If there is a preexisting company in your area with the same focus, it could be argued that ethically speaking, you are encroaching on their territory.

Ethical concerns with regard to the way an entrepreneur does business involve issues such as fair pricing of products and services and paying employees fairly and timeously for their work. Most startups have to be very careful about how they spend their money, but ethically speaking, there are numerous corners that cannot be cut. Many ethical issues, such as not paying staff or service providers on time, can later lead to practical issues, as people will not want to work for that company or do business with them.

When it comes to ethical financial reporting, it can be tempting to fudge the numbers or provide premature product development updates if a company is being funded by private equity and funders require performance reporting. Lying under any circumstances creates an ethical conundrum, and “cooking the books” is certainly a form of lying.

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