Philosophical Basis of a Business

Chances are you may never hear someone discuss the philosophical basis of a business, but if you listen closely you will realize they have one. So, what do I mean by the philosophical in this context. First let me give you a terrible example of this.

That’s the Way It’s Done

Quite a few years ago I was trying to help a company recover from a major financial setback. During a speaker-phone conversation with a supplier one of the company owners and a sales person said something to the supplier that I knew to be untrue. When I mention that it was incorrect they both ignored me; that is until the phone call was over. Then they both turned to me and to paraphrase said, “You have to lie to people in business. That’s the way it’s done.” Well, that’s not how I do business. They never even considered whether they could have been more open with the supplier while at the same time phrasing things in a way that was more acceptable. Why didn’t they? Well, I suspect their actions revealed their philosophical basis of a business was to do and say whatever they needed in order to make a profit. It was not long after that we parted company. Eventually they went out of business. Imagine that. For me doing business with someone whose approach was essentially to say one thing and do another was really unacceptable. You know the drill; say one thing to their face with crossed fingers behind your back.

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A Better Philosophical Approach

Whether we realize it or not we all have a philosophical basis we operate under and the same is true for any business. Perhaps a better approach is to spend some time thinking about your philosophy of operating, living, and interacting with others. Consider the founding of the United States. In particular recall these words from the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” For most people those are probably the most familiar words to them from the declaration. These words represent a philosophical basis for the country to operate. Interesting the 14th and 15th amendment to the U.S. Constitution were needed to correct the mistreatment of a large portion of the U.S. population, but they really served to put how the country was run and operated back in alignment with the philosophical truth the all men are created equal. In other words, a carefully thought out founding document served as a homing beacon for moral behavior.

It’s the Same in Business

How does this play out in business? Well for starters it means it is wise to give deep and reflective thought to your philosophy of doing business. One way this can be expressed is in a set of business principles and values. Those principles and values are things you hold to be true and essential to operating your business. They may include such things as integrity, respecting every employee, teamwork, etc. The point is that just as the words in the Declaration of Independence serve our country as a homing beacon, the principles and values that form your company’s philosophy for doing business will do the same. That means when you may be tempted to take a less that honest approach to dealing with customers, vendors, employees or anyone else those principles and values like “integrity” should help keep you grounded. They will impact your mission, planning, relationships and day-to-day operations.

So think about how this applies to your own company. The philosophical basis of a business is a foundation for all your management, operations and planning.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.

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