I am a big believer in business intangibles contributing heavily to the success of a business. Running a business with ethics and the community in mind are intangibles that may initially seem like a “nice-to-have”, but in many cases it will the be the X-factor for success. For a small business, this concept may be hard to prove, but we can look at a number of big businesses that have proven out this concept in spades.
I have come across two such businesses recently.
The first one I discovered one night when I caught the tail end of a Colber(t) Repor(t) (side note: everytime I hear Stephen Colbert pronounce his name and the name of show I crack up. I love watching the beginning just to see if he’ll pronounce the T in Report…still waiting). Jeffrey Swartz, the CEO of Timberland was a guest and he was raving about his company’s ethical policies. What I love about this is that I am a big Timberland fan, I love their shoes and I recently picked up a Timberland jacket that is designed just right, the pockets are perfect which is a big thing for me.
Just today I read that American Apparel is being bought and going public and lo and behold they have a very good ethical reputation. I don’t have the same personal experience with their product, but a number of stories point to their company philosophy on ethics and employee satisfaction.
Both of these businesses are competing and succeeding in a more and more difficult and competitive clothing industry. They both put ethics and community in their mission statements and from the news stories that I have read have an excellent reputation for this.
I believe that we will see more companies with a strong focus on ethical operations succeeding and beating out the competition. If a small business has these ideas ingrained in their philosophy and principles, they will be starting with a solid foundation for success.