As I enter my sixth month of blogging, I’ve been amazed at the different kinds of business models that we’ve uncovered on Developing Style. I’ve also been blown away by my family, friends and colleagues who are entrepreneurial in their own right. They either have businesses of their own, or want to start up a new venture in 2018. For all those new(ish) business owners out there, I’ve invited Murali Balaji of Maruthi Education Consulting to share how you can embrace ethical practices, no matter what kind of business you have. In full disclosure, Murali is also my husband and occasional model for my blog.
Maruthi is a consulting company driven to make its clients more culturally competent, no matter what kind of businesses those clients may have. Even for a firm like Maruthi, there are tangible ways to be an ethical business. As Murali shares in the italic text below, here’s how:
One of the underpinning themes of Developing Style is the idea of conscious consumption, and how it impacts both producers and consumers of goods. At a time when global markets are dominated by consolidation and assembly line approaches, conscious consumption and an ethical approach to how we buy things can have significant positive impacts, as Devi has shared in her posts.
But conscious consumption does not happen spontaneously. It is based upon consumers’ beliefs that the products they are buying help to serve a greater purpose, and that the businesses they are patronizing are operating in a sustainably responsible and ethical manner.
Many times, businesses fail to institutionalize ethical approaches, making it harder to cultivate a sustainable, ethical, and conscious production ecoystem. Any business school student can talk about ethics, but implementing ethics and sustainability as part of an operating model is much more difficult in practice.
This is one of the primary reasons I established Maruthi Education Consulting (Maruthi is another name for the Hindu God Hanuman, who serves as my daily inspiration) as a way of helping clients achieve their goals in a tangible, ethical, sustainable, and socially responsible way. No cutting corners.
Operating ethically in a sustainable way is difficult. It may involve sacrificing short term revenue in favor of a long term, vision and mission-based approach that places principles above profits. Ideally, ethical and principled businesses can also be profitable, as Devi has highlighted in her posts.
My own business model is predicated upon staying principled and ethical, while taking a deliberate and diligent approach to building my brand. I want my clients to be satisfied with the results of my work, and as such, I am taking my time to grow Maruthi. As I said, no cutting corners, and no sacrificing the long term vision in favor of short term riches. These include:
- Placing an emphasis on working with other small businesses and keeping my rates well within their budgets.
- Partnering with small businesses (such as The Honest Quill ) and helping them grow their brands in the process.
- Whenever appropriate, holding business meetings at the location of socially responsible businesses (such as Philly Fair Trade Café), even if there is a higher cost for me.
- Keeping my carbon footprint to a minimum, utilizing digital media for my messaging without consuming a lot of paper for my products.
- Maintaining an honest and upfront expectation of outcomes and deadlines with my clients. I don’t overpromise, and I always maintain my deadlines.
Cultivating consciousness, changing culture
When my clients realize how changing their business culture or their approaches to inclusiveness can be a lasting force for good, they buy in. Creating sustainable and ethical practices is a matter of clients understanding that operating ethically is in their best interests. They know I believe in the message, and am committed to seeing that change all the way through.
That’s why developing and nurturing ethical business practices a goal worth striving for every day. Hopefully, those changes – even if they happen incrementally rather than in giant leaps – can make a significant impact on the way we interact with the world. Global style for the global good isn’t just an aim of conscious consumption – it’s the epitome of what it means to be ethical and sustainable.
Finding your ethical path
If you’re among those thinking of starting up your own business – or even if you just want to embrace conscious consumption in your ever day – I hope you’ve seen that there are ways to do this regardless of what kind of business you have. As we approach 2018, think about one thing that you can change to make your practices a little bit more ethical. This can mean patronizing that small corner coffee shop instead of a big-name brand. It can also mean printing one less document every day when there’s something you can read on your screen. Every little bit helps. Together, we can create revolutionary changes just by committing ourselves to the incremental changes that Murali mentioned above.
With that, I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. Thanks so much joining me in this blogging in 2017. Here’s to making more amazing memories together in 2018!