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Business Ethics & Mistakes you should avoid! | Tony Adam - Entrepreneur, Marketer

Tony Adam

Entrepreneur, Marketer, Aspiring Polymath


Business Ethics & Mistakes you should avoid!

July 22, 2009 11

Business Mistakes

As an individual that works very hard at maintaining relationships and attempts to help anyone at anytime he possibly can, I see some pretty interesting mistakes that people make, DAILY! Sometimes, I have to admit, I’ve made the mistake of burning a bridge or two at past companies, just by the simple fact of not understanding how important it was not to hurt a relationship. But, I now know that there are some things that you should NEVER do…and I mean NEVER.

The Obvious One: There is never a reason to “out a website”:

There was a lot of chatter about this back at the end of April about how no one should ever out a website. I think this point has been beaten down your throats quite often. I commented on this a while back in that there really is no reason from a business or financial perspective to actually do this.

Todd Malicoat wrote an excellent post about what is your SEO Code? So, what is your SEO Code? Or, even better, what is your business code of ethics? Think about the following before outing another website:

•    What could you gain by outing another website or company?
•    How are you benefiting your businesses or growing as an individual by doing so?
•    Who are you HURTING financially in doing so? Think about it, the site you’re about to out and that could quite possibly be banned, could very well be a friend of yours. Do you want to be the reason that your friend or possibly even their kids don’t have food on the table?
•    Would you want someone to out your website publicly and possibly cost you a loss of income or some sort of financial burden.

Think through this before actually outing a company or reporting another site. When in doubt, also, you might want to ask a friend privately, they might be able to provide some insight or talk it through with you. Again, at the end of the day, you don’t want to out a site that could cost someone his or her livelihood.

Battling for Profits: Never publicly talk about companies paying too much for a service:

We are all in business in some way or another at the end of the day and we are all out to make smart business decisions. I’ll admit that I’ve scored some pretty sweet contracts back in the day where I’d made a decent amount of money and didn’t really do much. Other industry professionals can vouch for this as well. In fact, recently at Revenue Bootcamp, Neil Patel and I have talked about this before and es“If I charge you 20k to increase your traffic and I do it, and its worth it to you, it shouldn’t matter how long I spend, if I did it in 1 hour, then better for me!”

What you might call “overcharging,” I call a “smart business move.”

If you find out that someone is charging a client a lot of money for a service, you should never use a medium like Twitter to talk about how much people should or shouldn’t charge for a service. If you are competing that market, go out there and try to win the business.

Stop Talking

There are too many factors that go into the rates of a consulting agreement that might not be obvious right up front. Things like the overhead of an agency, resources, services provided, etc. And, at the end of the day someone might have made a smart business deal and/or they have a client that is now going to question his or her consultant and create headache for no reason at all.

Don’t get all high and mighty and publicly talk about rates and charges over the Social Web, again, you never know if you have a friend or even business partner that you just cost a lot of money.

Secrets are Secrets: Secrets are meant to be private, keep them that way:

A lot of the sharing of secrets that have been heard at conferences and/or things shared in private aren’t being made as public anymore. But, that said, with the Social Web being ever so increasing, talking about things you hear at conferences becomes compelling.

Don’t do it!

Lots of us have websites, profiles on the Social Web, and/or businesses that we run that are meant to stay private. Revealing any of this through any social medium could cost someone a loss of income or, for some of us, our entire livelihood.

Also, if you’ve heard someone say something in passing or you could take out of context or you are attending a conference session where an individual asks you not to share or tweet about the information he or she is currently talking about, don’t share it. Remember the post by Brent Csutoras, “we know it’s social, but stfu already“…that will always be true.

Remember, if its questionable, it probably shouldn’t be done, and, at the very least, ask someone what they think before doing it, they will probably agree that you shouldn’t share it.

Burning a Bridge Can Will cost you in the long run!

broken relationship

People make this mistake too many times and I’ve even made it a few times years back. Whether its a co-worker that leaves on an angry note, someone you just dated that ended badly, or someone that is in your industry that you just happen to feel you just don’t “need” anymore.

The point: Everyone and anyone is valuable at some point. That bridge you just burned could be your future boss, future consultant, future investor, and/or someone that could bring your consultancy/agency new business. Remember, that you shouldn’t treat people as contacts, create relationships instead.

Granted, yes, there are going to be people that you just don’t get along with in business and personalities that don’t work together. But, rather than burning the bridge, separate yourself from the situation and at the end of the day, don’t be rude and or don’t personally insult people. That is where you REALLY start burning bridges and losing relationships and even contacts.

There are 11 comments

  • “Things like the overhead of an agency, resources, services provided, etc. ”

    I disagree on some of that. The dumbest reason for explaining a price is your overhead. The client is paying you to make them money, not to spend money. It’s about the benefit to them.

    Do they meet you in person on a regular basis? Then you justify pricing overhead into the contract as your rate for in person meetings.

    Fact is, a lot of agencies charge more just cuz their costs are higher (interns, office space, coffee etc). Doesn’t benefit the client, really.

  • Tony Adam says:

    Gab, I’m not saying that the fees are right or wrong, if you ask me, it’s a waste of money to hire an agency, because, you don’t get top notch talent/knowledge.

    Just from my experience at large organizations, they hire agencies because they want the hand holding that comes with it (e.g. project managers, account managers). They get the status updates, pretty charts, etc. that an individual consultant wouldn’t be able to provide. Some agencies also build in things like software costs, for example, some agencies have packages that run in the 20k range per month that others would not be able to afford monthly.

    At the end of the day though, this post is not about justifying agency expenses or overhead, it is the point that you shouldn’t talk about a specific service being performed at a rate that “you see fit”…bottom line.

  • Michael Geneles says:

    What you might call “overcharging,” I call a “smart business move.” – Right On! Tony

  • Tony, what do you mean by “out a web site”? What are people revealing and where?

  • Tony Adam says:

    Michael: Totally! I saw someone on twitter say something like $XX was to much to charge for an audit and I was LIVID…because I know that isn’t true everywhere! That said, it is true, if i can close a deal for 2x what someone else can, why would you say something?

  • Tony Adam says:

    Andrew: “Outing a Website” means someone publicly talking about “dark” or “black” tactics used to manipulate search results in a way that could be deemed malicious.

    Todd Malicoat (StuntDubl) does a great job of explaining it all in this post:

  • Todd Mintz says:

    I think it’s OK to “out” obvious scams (e.g. Search Engine Submission for $19.95). Other than that, you’re totally on the ball with a terrific post.

  • All very good points. I think it is important to just stay positive and focus on your own company and not worry about anyone elses. Especially if you start trying to bad mouth others, just looks tacky.

  • I disagree with everything here 😛

  • […] Business Ethics & Mistakes You Should Avoid! (Tony Adam): Tony Adam explores some business ethics moves that you should avoid. Some include reporting your competitors, burning bridges, and more. […]

  • Zygor Guide says:

    I like the point "Secrets are Secrets, Secrets are meant to be private". I just find so many people in business talking about things they should not be talking about

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