Building a sustainable business you’re proud of

May 16, 2019

Being ethical is the key to running a sustainable business that you can be proud of.  Learn more.

 

This morning I read about how Carolos Ghosn, former Chairman of Renault and Nissan, spent €635,000 on an event to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their alliance.

 

Reports state that while Renault and Nissan, has over 300,000 employees between them, of the 160 guests at the party, only 2 employees were present, and many attendees were personal friends and family.  To make things worse, the event coincided with Ghosn’s 60th birthday.  One news reporter said that it was a good thing no birthday cake was to be seen!

 

It has also been reported that this likely isn’t illegal.

 

Given that my news feeds are chocked full of related stories, tells me that even though there’s a good chance that this isn’t illegal, many people probably feel it’s not the right thing to do.

 

Imagine how an employee or shareholder must feel!

 

As a former lawyer of 20 years, I’ve come to realize that while the law is a reflection of current societal norms, it takes time for the law to catch up with behavior that people feel is unjust.

 

And so, when I started my business, it was important for me to not just be on the right side of the law, but to also do good, and do what is right.

 

I’m a small business owner.  And what I do might not make a huge difference in the world, but I firmly believe that if every business owner did that, we would collectively build a much better world.

 

I remembered at the end of my first year as a business, I was shopping for accountants to help me with my taxes.

 

In that year, I had made a decent income.  As you might know, I had replaced my lawyer’s income after 6 months, and that income was growing. 

 

It was therefore natural for the prospective accountants I was speaking to, to ask me, for tax planning purposes if I intended to pay tax.  They made it clear to me that I could legally not pay, and there could be structures to support that.
(THIS IS NOT TAX ADVICE. YOU ARE REQUIRED TO GET YOUR OWN TAX ADVICE FOR YOUR OWN BUSINESS. PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME FOR ADVICE ON TAX AS I AM NOT QUALIFIED TO PROVIDE SUCH ADVICE.)

 

After all, all my income was from outside Singapore, where I live.

 

As an affiliate marketer, I recommend products, and if people make a purchase, I get paid by the company that the purchase was made from.  None of this was from Singapore companies.

 

I’ve been called foolish for this, but I said yes…

 

I want to pay taxes, and appointed an accountant that supported this view.

 

We need to do the right thing when it comes to business.

 

We can get caught up in a virtuous cycle or a vicious cycle.

 

I choose to be in a virtuous cycle. 

 

So, when marketing, choose to be public about who I am, and recommend products that I actually use, and that I know work.

 

The internet is rife with opportunities and it’s so easy to get caught in a vicious cycle.

 

So keep on the path of the virtuous cycle, and you will build a sustainable long term business, you are proud of.

 

 

 


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