Having a sense of integrity in the way you run your small business has numerous advantages. Not only do you avoid the potential legal and ethical pitfalls associated with running a business dishonestly, you also have the opportunity to set the standard for excellence in your industry. In this sense, you have the opportunity to earn the long-term respect of customers, vendors, staffers and even competitors.

Good Reputation

Operating your business with integrity will give you a positive reputation in your industry and in your local business community. This is especially vital if your small business relies on long-term or repeat business, or provides business-to-business products or services. A sense of integrity is also very important to small businesses that work with confidential or sensitive customer information, or that are charged with overseeing the financial or personal affairs of their customers.

Loyal Customers

When customers trust you, they are likely to continue patronizing your business over the long term. No one wants to knowingly do business with a company that has a bad reputation, has been caught in lies, or has been involved with scandals or other acts of corruption. The advantage of running your business with integrity is that you keep existing customers, and also have the potential of good word-of-mouth advertising that will bring in more customers.

Ethical Employees

Employees with high standards are often attracted to companies with high integrity. Employees who share your same business ethics and values are likely to be good representatives of your company, and perform in a trustworthy manner. This will help your small business attract and retain top talent in your field. Employees who are confident that their company won’t cheat or mislead customers are typically confident they will be treated fairly by management as well. This can lead to reduced employee turnover and a highly qualified workforce.

Advanced Earning Potential

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of running a small business with a sense of integrity is the potential for increased earnings. Businesses embroiled in controversy often lose big clients, and have a hard time attracting customers and employees. Honest and forthright companies have a greater likelihood of gaining respect in their industry and capturing a greater-than-average market share. Companies with stellar reputations may also find it easier to get business financing and attract investors.