While a business owner should be focused on long-term profitability, he should also consider how employees and even customers feel about the business. It's not enough for companies in today's business environment to simply be happy with making a profit. Companies should also consider what virtues or code of ethics to live by.


A customer who doesn't trust you is unlikely to do business with you. As a result, many businesses have integrity as a virtue. Fusion UV Systems, a worldwide provider of UV systems, equipment and service, has a slogan that states, "Honesty and integrity in all we do." Declaring your company's virtues not only helps you attract the right customers but also the right employees. If prospective employees understand that your company frowns upon anything less than integrity, those who hold this as an ideal will be more likely to consider working for you. Having the right employees will help you retain good customers and grow your business.


Responsibility is one of those virtues that has very broad meaning. A business should be responsible to its customers and employees by delivering on its promises. However, talk amongst customers and the business community of social and corporate responsibility is adding another dimension to this virtue. Not only does a business have to consider its bottom line, it also has to take into consideration the impact its operations may have on society and the environment. A business can determine the most responsible manner in which to operate from a social and environmental standpoint by speaking with the people who matter most -- customers, employees and stakeholders.


Companies that lead set an example for others to follow. According to Alexandre Havard, author and leadership expert, "Leadership is about achieving greatness and bringing out greatness in others." Training and development is normally a key component of businesses that serve as leaders. By developing employee talent, these companies are able to outperform competitors and excel where others do not. Leadership is also about fostering an environment of cooperation and creativity. When employees are able to share great ideas, it helps your business be an innovator rather than a follower. Companies that suppress employee engagement or believe that entry level employees have nothing meaningful to contribute, usually struggle to remain competitive.


If your employees and customers believe that you interact fairly with them, they will remain loyal to your business. Fairness is a virtue that has served businesses well for decades. It means treating all employees and customers with respect and dignity and not using standards for one group of individuals that make others feel as if they are not as valued, favored or important. To ensure your business is treating all employees fairly, make your compensation structure transparent and give everyone an equal opportunity to be recognized, promoted and appeal decisions they consider unfair.