An absence of focus, a lack of clear vision for the business, low level of commitment to business objectives, inept and unwise business decisions, poor financial management, mediocre time management, weak personnel practices and policies, over-confidence, failure to delegate, lack of trust and weak leadership, all make for bad business and are signs of an inefficient, incapable entrepreneur.

But what is just as important, if not more so, is the personal integrity and the core values and moral ethics that define the entrepreneur.

Money meant for business should be kept for business

When businessmen divert money meant for business to their personal accounts, they are being unethical and it is warning sign for all stakeholders. Money meant for business should be kept for the business, not used to fund personal expenses, even in an emergency. Personal expenses should be defrayed from personal money.

When business decisions are put aside for personal benefit or for the welfare of family and friends, or if there is too much interference from family in the running of the business, it does not bode well for the organization. Entrepreneurs should learn not to let family opinions dictate where the business should go.

Poor business ethics and etiquette

Poor business ethics and etiquette are symptoms that the entrepreneur is up-to no good. Lack of honesty and integrity does not help in the long run. Being upright in business is a creed followed by successful entrepreneurs.

This would include maintaining high quality of products and services, delivering what is committed or a bit more, rather than over-promising and failing to deliver.

What defines a “good” entrepreneur?

Is it one who makes a success of his business and books massive profits at the expense of everything else or is it someone who does well in his business, makes money but does not forget the team that helped him achieve his goals ?

Or is it the individual who looks after his people and forgets to keep his business objectives in mind ? In my opinion, it is the entrepreneur who has the welfare of all stakeholders in mind – who fulfils business commitments, posts healthy profits, has strong positive business ethics and who puts the interests of his people above that of his own. Only then can he be seen as a true leader and a successful businessman who earns profits, respect and goodwill.

 

Pay employees before paying yourself

Customers – internal as well as external – need to be looked after. The successful entrepreneur is one who cares for employees and sees that they are not neglected in any way. If the business fails and the employees do not get their salary etc, it is the duty of the entrepreneur to see that they are paid before he dips his hand into the till for his share of the money.

Employees are the backbone of a business, they should be paid before the entrepreneur pays himself.

The needs of customers

A good businessman respects the needs of customers and delivers what they expect. A good entrepreneur does not renege on loans taken from banks, financial institutions or any other body. An ethical entrepreneur repays business debts and loans from personal finances if the business does not take off as expected.

A good entrepreneur is hard-hearted and is guided by reason when it comes to business, but this is tempered with honesty, integrity, strong positive values and ethics that exhibit concern for external and internal stakeholders who are ultimately what constitute the business’ support network.