Ethics – a Great Differentiator!

Ethics Honesty Integrity
Sadly, one of the challenges of our industry is that we have a lot of bad actors. Luckily, there is one thing you can do that affects the industry reputation and promotes your business: Brag about your code of ethics!

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Sadly, one of the challenges of our industry is that we have a lot of bad actors. Luckily, there is one thing you can do that affects the industry reputation and promotes your business: Brag about your code of ethics!

First, having a code of ethics is good for the industry as a whole. Not only should we hold ourselves accountable. We should agree to let others hold us accountable. And not just according to some generic concept of morals – but a specific code that you place on your web site.

Dowload Coe

If people look at IT professionals and their first response is, “Ugh. Those are the folks who make promises and don’t keep them,” that’s bad for everyone. We need to hold ourselves and each other to higher standards when we go to market, when we deliver services, and when we bill for those services. Of course we need to be competent. But we also need to be the kind of good, honest people that companies can trust.

Second, of course, is that all of this is good marketing for your business. You can literally use it in your promotion.

  • We’re committed to professionalism
  • We’re committed to training that keeps us on the cutting edge
  • We’re honest with finances – and any conflicts of interest that develop
  • We’re committed to keeping you data secure and confidential
  • In other words, we’re committed to our clients. We build relationships that last!

That’s the basis for five individual marketing campaigns, plus an umbrella campaigns that addresses the larger picture of being a company with a code of ethics. If you do a major LinkedIn post on one of these six each month, that’s six months worth of marketing. Today’s a great day to get started with that.

The “action steps” for this are very simple. First, you need to adopt a code of ethics that fits your business. The NSITSP has a model code of ethics here: https://nsitsp.org/code-of-ethics/. Feel free to use that as is, or customize it for your business.*

Second, post your COE prominently on your web site. The “About” page is a good place for this. No matter what kind of marketing you do, folks are likely to check your About page if they’re seriously considering working with you. Putting your code of ethics front and center gives a great impression. Also, put a link in your footer to the COE so it appears on every page of your web site.

Third, talk about it. Talk about it inside your company so your employees see it, read it, discuss it, and know that you are serious. And, of course, talk about it with clients and prospects. Leading a sales conversation by pointing to your code of ethics is a powerful thing in the 2020’s. Too many businesses worldwide, of all sizes, have lost their moral compass. This is a chance to show folks that you haven’t.

Oh, and the “*” above: *A great activity for your leadership team, or your whole company, is to take time to go through the model COE. What does each element mean to you? What will it mean to clients? Is there wording that works better for your company’s overall brand and voice? Is there anything missing that you want to make sure to include. Talk about it. Change it. Update. Customize it. Make it your own and your employees will have no trouble discussing it with your clients.

Today, leading with ethics will really differentiate your company in the market.

Comments and feedback welcome.

[ My business’ code of ethics is at https://www.smallbizthoughts.org/about/ . . . just stroll past the section on Values. 🙂 ]

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Code of Ethics

Check out the brand new Code of Ethics presented at the Quarterly Member Meeting on Nov 9. It’s still a draft,  feedback welcome.

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