Learn how to take ethical shortcuts in your business

Icy Longfellow
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pear Biter

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Sorry about that. I’ve been, shall we say, going through a bit of some self discovery. It’s been a pretty fun and interesting month to say the least. The past 30 days have really brought me closer to a passion of mine — helping others succeed in their business (and, ultimately, their lives).

That said, there might be some changes coming to the site soon. But, rest assured, I’m still going to be talking about steaks, McRib sandwiches, and business like there’s no tomorrow. And now that that’s (consecutive “thats” have always bothered me) out of the way…

This past weekend was a good one in my book. I witnessed our archrivals, Alabama, fall at the hands of Florida in the SEC Championship game. I had a great conversation in the back of a nightclub with two women who wanted to start their own businesses (talk about random!). And, I also unexpectedly served as a guest panelist on a local talk show about business building tips. A great weekend if there ever was one.

And, it were the last two events (the nightclub conversation and radio talk show) that motivated me to write this post. As I started to reflect on the past few days, I realized that it’s hard for a lot of people to take those necessary first steps when starting a business. Now, I recognize the fact that my background is in Internet marketing but, the principles are pretty much the same all across the board.

If you want results; if you want to start your own business, you have to take action. (Random thought: That spinach I just ate might have been bad… my stomach hates me right now). Unfortunately, taking action for an offline business owner means spending money that he or she probably doesn’t have. Or, at least, that’s what we’re led to believe.

Spinach layer
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lisa Brewster

Case in point, one of the women I was talking to told me how she wanted to start her own business. We’ll say it was a catering company for the sake of her anonymity. After asking a few questions, Sarah (not her real name) informed me that she had no way of building the necessary client base to get started. She had no referrals and no industry contacts. And while that may have been true in terms of reality, it was false in terms of possibility.

I learned a long time ago that resources (or lack thereof) are NEVER the problem. The real problem is not being resourceful enough. Maybe I should say that again. Lack of resources are never the problem. Lack of resourcefulness is.

Simply put, there’s no excuse for not taking those first steps in your business building process — not when they’re tens — if not, hundreds — of people who a budding entrepreneur could access, network, and partner with.

If Sarah wanted to start a catering company with low capital, she could easily contact existing business owners who offer complimentary — not competitive — services. Sarah could ask herself, “who often deals and interact with caterers?” or “what businesses use catering services?” There are two that immediately come to mind: wedding/event planners and rental/special events facility owners.

Those people are constantly communicating with others who need the services of caterers, whether it be for weddings, corporate functions, political galas, reunions, rehearsal dinners, baby showers, and the list goes on.

That, right there, is a very healthy list of possible clients for a catering business. All Sarah would have to do is step a little bit out of her comfort zone, contact those business owners, and negotiate a revenue sharing agreement with them. For access to their networks, they’ll get a percentage of the revenue she generates if someone decides to use her catering company. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

There’s nothing wrong with taking shortcuts, as long as they’re ethical and produce the desired results. As entrepreneurs, we have to learn to think outside of the box… to recognize opportunities that others miss. If you’re just starting out, having trouble building your client list, or don’t have access to a lot of capital then train yourself to look for ethical shortcuts. Remember, a lack of resources is NOT the problem.

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#1 Posts about Internet Marketing as of December 9, 2008 | The Lessnau Lounge on 12.09.08 at 3:15 pm

[...] … advantages. Online marketing is not only effective compared to other forms of advertising Learn how to take ethical shortcuts in your business - deontee.com 12/09/2008 It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Sorry about that. I’ve been, [...]

#2 Paul Cooley on 12.11.08 at 7:52 pm

Hey Deontee!
Great post! How true, it is so important to take those first steps and do it with integrity.
Far too often we get distracted with all the info all over the net, that we never move forward.

Keep up the great work Deontee and I’m glad you have a good time of self discovery went well!

God bless!

Last blog post from Paul Cooley: Distinctions of a Christian Entrepreneur

#3 Armen Shirvanian on 12.16.08 at 10:22 pm

I am glad that you reiterated the point about there not being enough resources for one to use for their endeavor. Hindsight always shows that lack of drive or purpose is the type of issue that derails a start-up, as opposed to lack of funds or a certain material. This is something to remind every person trying to make the excuse of not having a certain item before they can progress.

Last blog post from Armen Shirvanian: Much Of What You See Is Engineered

#4 Dali Burgado on 12.18.08 at 1:57 am

Hey Deon,
Great post! And congrats on being on your local radio!

Thinking outside the box is definitely key. We all must seek to be solutions-oriented as entrepreneurs and marketers. There is always a way to accomplish something. Instead of focusing on the challenges we must all seek ways to turn those challenges into opportunities as long as we do so ethically.

Great to have you back :-)

Last blog post from Dali Burgado:

#5 Maria on 05.01.09 at 3:08 pm

Many people that would like to start a business needs to hear more of this and maybe they will learn and earn.Great blogging!

#6 Hurtownia Tkanin on 06.08.09 at 7:05 am

Taking action for an online businessman usualy also means spending money. Everything from the most complex apps to the simplest icon sets costs real money.

#7 Gry Dla Dzieci on 07.01.09 at 6:42 am

Ethical shortcuts, eh ? Now this is something new to me, I always thought that a business shortcut just has to be unethical, even if only a bit.
Now I know better, and it’s one of those things I am really glad to have learned :)
Last blog post from Gry Dla Dzieci: Kolorowanka Potworek

#8 Nieruchomosci Gryfino on 08.17.09 at 5:41 am

I agree some shortcuts can be done but with this ethical issue I’m just not sure. Problem with ethics starts every time you use something or someone to gain profits. Every time. Even if that person is paid - is he/she payed enough? If we use someone’s thought - is it rightful? I think that ethical problem are just a part of life and it is necessary just to try not to harm anyone. If we do something that we know can harm someone - that is unethical for me. But the border line between ethical and unethical action sometimes can be so fuzzy…

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