Building a fashion business from the ground up is not an easy fit to accomplish. It requires determination, resilience, the right people to work with, great work ethics, great core values and a host of other things.
Among those great core values, integrity is usually found, as no business can be successful without integrity. For business owners though, sometimes, it can be very hard to stick with integrity especially during hard times or in the face of a crisis.
At times like this, are there ways to still maintain integrity and not compromise on core values the business was built on? Yes there are. Below, we share ways every fashion entrepreneur can maintain integrity in business even in the face of a crisis, but first, let’s define integrity;
What is Integrity?
According to the Oxford English dictionary, integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
On a personal level, integrity involves having a strong moral compass. People of integrity keep their word, take full responsibility for their actions and hold fast to their moral codes, even if it sometimes means winding up in uncomfortable situations or having to make tough decisions.
When it comes to business integrity, it’s pretty much a reflection of your personal integrity doing business. Having integrity in business means you’re going to have to make some tough decisions that you might not be comfortable with, but are the right decisions to make.
“Integrity, the choice between what’s comfortable and what’s right.” – Tony Dungy.
How can I Maintain Integrity in Hard Times?
1. Remember your values:
Think back over the things and values that motivated you to start business in the first place. Remember how having, and sticking to the right values, has helped you in the past and be determined to do stick to it regardless of the situation your business is in.
Let your values guide you in every situation. Even when it’s tempting to do one thing or the other that isn’t in line with the core values of your company.
2. Make a conscious effort to do what you think is right no matter how hard it is:
Sometimes, it can be very tempting to go with the crowd and do things you know are wrong. This becomes even more tempting when it looks like those that are doing these wrong things are excelling and you are left behind.
At times like this, it’s important to remember that doing what everyone else is doing does not make it the right thing to do. Don’t be afraid to stand out of the crowd because of what people might say or how you think your business will suffer because you choose to do the right thing.
3. Think about how you want to be remembered:
Thinking about how you want yourself and your brand to be remembered by others can help you make decisions you won’t regret. Placing yourself in the future and thinking in hindsight can provide perspective and clarity on how you want to act in the now.
Deviating from the path of integrity does not guarantee your business will come out of whatever crisis it’s in so why not just stick to the path of integrity? And, even if your stick to the path of integrity and your business crashes, you’ll be rest assured that everyone will remember you as the one who refused to compromise values in a very tough situation.
Imagine you compromise and your business crashes, if the story of your compromise is leaked, no one will want to do business with you again when you pick yourself up. Integrity is always the best option.
4. Surround yourself with people of integrity:
At times when it gets hard to stick to integrity, those around you can serve as a guide back to the values you’re about to turn your back to. If you, your friends and your employees are people of integrity, one way or the other you will influence each other positively.
5. Always keep your word:
As we discussed in our article on customer service, keeping your word is very important in business. It might be hard to get orders ready on time and deliver them, depending on the type of crisis your business is going through, but always remember, customers respect business owners who keep their word.
If you cannot handle an order because of the situation you’ve found yourself in then don’t accept it, and for the orders you do accept, always deliver on your promises. Who knows, maybe it’s a client you kept your word to that will help bring you out of your crisis?
Why is Integrity Important in Business?
1. It gives your business a stronger reputation:
As a business, your reputation is vital to your success. Customers, suppliers, business partners and investors all want to do business with brands they can trust.
“Trust is like the air we breathe – when it’s present, nobody really notices. When it’s absent, everyone notices.” – Warren Buffett.
Acting with integrity at all times helps build your reputation. If you deliver quality, act right with your clients and offer transparency on top of that, people will always come to patronise your brand.
2. It helps build better company culture:
If you lead by example and act with integrity at all times, that will spread across your company and your employees will imbibe the culture of integrity. When your employees know that there is integrity in your business, they’ll learn to trust each other more and work better together.
3. It can help boost sales:
Naturally, clients want to work with brands that have a proven track record of integrity. When your brand does business based on integrity, even in hard times, clients will naturally refer others to that brand!
4. It provides employee satisfaction:
Employees naturally want to work with someone who has high integrity and won’t ask them to compromise their own standards for the sake of the company. When employees know they can trust you and your brand they tend to do work better and be happier.
5. Your brand willl produce better quality products:
A person of integrity will most likely sell the best quality products of what they offer as cutting corners won’t be a part of what they stand for. When you act with integrity at all times, even the quality of your products will show it.
Yes, we know that acting with integrity can be hard sometimes, especially when things aren’t really looking up for your fashion business. But we also know that even when it’s hard, following the above tips can help you stand in integrity and bring many great advantages to your fashion business.
You can share with us in the comments section below, ways you have acted with integrity, even when it was hard or uncomfortable for you, and how it benefitted your fashion brand. Don’t forget to hit the like button if you enjoyed this read.