No Laughing Matter: 6 Elements of Doing Business You Need to Take Seriously

Oftentimes it feels like business owners are pulled in one of two directions when it comes to how they run their companies.

The first embraces the sort of light-hearted, “fun” startup culture that we see today. The “work hard, play hard” mentality with offices that combine a playground environment for its employees.

On the flip side, we have the sort of traditional, no-nonsense approach to getting work done. Efficient, sure, but perhaps a bit lacking in personality and draining in the long-run.

Each approach isn’t without its flaws, but poses a bigger question. That is, what if there was some sort of middle ground?

Business shouldn’t be all about dollars and cents, but also needs to keep their priorities in check. After all, there are components of all companies that we should take seriously regardless of our approach to doing business.

Below we’ve outlined six elements of doing business that represent anything but fun and games, requiring the attention of today’s companies that want to last for the long-term.

Compliance

Following industry and federal regulations is part of doing business, plain and simple. From figuring out how to survive intricate business audits to avoiding legal red tape, companies should ignore compliance at their own peril. Companies rooted in the principle of following the rules will last much longer than those attempting to skirt them.

Ethics & Culture

The double-whammy of ethical behavior and engaging culture is becoming increasingly important to customers and employees alike.

Not only should businesses treat their workers with a sense of respect, but should also translate that respectful behavior to the outside world. This might mean taking a stand on social issues or embracing environmental responsibility: either way, every business should take ethics seriously today.

Public Relations

Businesses must absolutely tread lightly when it comes to how they interact with customers and the public at large.

“Think before you speak” is an essential principle of brands today, especially on social media where PR meltdowns seem to occur day after day. There’s nothing wrong with speaking your mind, but double-checking your marketing messages before making them public is always a good idea.

Customer Concerns

Companies should obviously listen to their customers, right? That said, businesses need to take the steps to both respond to any criticisms and provide proof that they’re taking action.

Failure to respond to criticism may have been an option a decade ago, but not anymore. In an era of online reviews, business’ behavior is constantly under the microscope and is likewise transparent.

Competitors

Much like customer concerns, businesses can’t simply turn a blind eye to their competitors. Although companies shouldn’t be totally obsessed with what their opposition is doing, having a pulse on emerging trends and players in your industry comes with the territory of being a vigilant business.

Security

In a day and age where we can’t go a few days without hearing news of a cyberattack or another company database hacked, businesses of all shapes and sizes need to defend themselves from breaches.

Whether it’s an external DDOS attack or theft of intellectual property, there’s plenty that can potentially go wrong for companies who ignore security. Similarly, any sort of security snafu can do irreparable damage to the reputation of a business if nothing else.

Companies are free to run themselves businesses how they wish; however, each of these points needs to be taken seriously even by the most light-hearted of business owners. If your business already acknowledges these elements as high priorities, you’re golden.

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