3c) Principles

3) Sprouting the Seed 

“Radical Transparency: Why Honesty is the Best Policy for Business”

It is a basic premise of this program that it is possible to use a moral and honest business model to bring about idealistic and sustainable change to almost any challenge that this planet faces.

Creating a Culture of Positive Capitalism

Ethical Customer Service

It may seem obvious but treating your customers  and business associates with honesty and transparency is not only moral but also can be very good for the bottom line. Happy Customers create referrals and repeat business. Happy Business Associates will extend breaks, credit and other favors because they have seen you live by your reputation; they know they can trust you.

Guidelines and Benefits of Ethical Business Practices. 

  • Nothing to fear
  • Cannot be blackmailed (Especially important if you have a dishonest community member who you ask to leave!) See Community Security
  • Innate Morality with Social Enterprise
  • Working with a Cause: already have project with a heart
  • Different way of looking at business
  • Making customers & friends instead of just sales
  • Building trust (ex. of repeat visitors to Hedo)
  • Finances
  • Benefits of Good Credit Rating
  • Morality in Transparency with Finance & Taxes
  • Hedo Accounting: Open for viewing

Moral Business Relations and Customer Service

When you have ethical business practices you are also able to hold other businesses and even the government to those standards.
This is especially true when dealing with the Customer Service Departments of business suppliers. When we have a complaint or issue with regards to a business service or product we call to complain and also to receive true customer service.

A Company Handbook for day-today policies and practices should reflect your business principles and philosophy. An Activist Entrepreneur should try to practice ‘radical transparency’. Of course there are some ‘company secrets’ that every company has and should have such as passwords to bank accounts to give one very obvious example.

However, as much as possible it is better to be transparent. Everything you do should have a morally defensible reason for doing it. It then becomes part of your company policies and is made public. That way people can see exactly what standards your business operates by! The more you can do this the more you bring trust for your social enterprise and the work you are doing. This includes negative honesty, communicating transparently when things are not going so well.

This can work in your company’s favor. Unlike a ‘normal’ business an activist entrepreneur can tap into a larger well of supporters because it is backed by morals and good work. Thus employees might be more willing to take a pay cut or suppliers might have more leniency on payment terms.

Honest Customer Service

Of course, this is easier in some countries rather than others. But even in countries that are known for corruption it is better as much as is feasible or possible, to challenge the system. Do things honestly and challenge your government to do the same! Even if it means going to court or politely dealing with many government or business bureaucrats.

Honest Accounting is perhaps one of the best ways that you can show the ideals and morality of your social business enterprise.

5 reasons why it pays to be honest:

  • 1) Honesty with money is the foundation for all other business dealings. When you have a reputation for honesty with money, all other issues are are much easier to deal with. When you have a reputation for honesty and fairness, people have no problem doing business with you. Banks tend to extend you credit when you have properly filled in your tax forms. (Assuming you have income!)
  • 2) Honest accounting means that you don’t’ have to fear the government. “I proudly pay taxes”. To be able to say that is to be able to walk confidently into any government office with your head held high. Being a taxpayer means you have rights. You are helping to pay for the system and that gives you a voice in how that system is run. It is also easier to run a business when you don’t have two sets of books and when you are making backhanded deals. Crookedness spreads. Many businesses fail because of shady accounting practices. If all monies are not properly accounted for then that is a recipe for eventual failure. Plain and simple.
  • 3) Honest business practices means that you less subject to blackmail or criminal acts. Honesty pays. It is also easier to run a business when you don’t have two sets of books and when you are making backhanded deals. Crookedness spreads. Many businesses fail because of shady accounting practices. If all monies are not properly accounted for then that is a recipe for eventual failure. Plain and simple. Honesty is especially important if you have a dishonest worker who you have to ask to leave! I once worked for an owner of a business in Maui who was fiddling his books. He did not believe in using credit cards because of the charges and the fact that there was a record of transactions which he did not want to pay taxes on. So he dealt with cash only. His Manager ended up stealing thousands of dollars from him and when he threatened to prosecute, his manager threatened to call the IRS. So his Manager got away scot free! Dishonesty brings short term gain but often long term loss. We use a business credit card to account for nearly all of our expenditures easily, and receive air miles for doing so!
  • 4) Creating a transparent working environment. Incentive based pay based on transparent accounting allows your workers and managers to understand the painful times and then to share in the gains in the bountiful times.
  • 5) A reputation for Honesty is one of the best known forms of Advertising. It’s true. Word of mouth is still one of the most effective forms of advertising. A customer who knows that a business is honest and moral will have no hesitancy in recommending their friends and relatives.

For example at Hedonisia, many of our eco-tourist guests and volunteers came to our community as a result of recommendations from friends and relatives who were impressed by our place and the integrity with which we try to run our eco-tourist community.

Here is how we apply the Activist Entrepreneur model at Hedonisia Hawaii:

  • Community: Hedonisia Hawaii is a community-based business that does not have employees. Our social entrepreneur business model attracts like-minded people creating a free-floating community of volunteers and interns who come to Hawaii and contribute to our eco-tourism and ecofeminist projects and that we manage in our ‘community of individuals’!
  • Activist: An activist entrepreneur works to change the law as part of their business activities. They can do so through lobbying or other forms of political engagement. However, they can also be political by creating products or services that challenge unjust laws. As Hedonisia, we are active in working through the local political system to create a legal foundation for sustainable communities in Hawaii and a precedent for others to do the same elsewhere. One of the creative projects we manage is Activist Entrepreneur: Using Using business as a tool for social change.
  • Feminist: It is a truism that women are often more unfairly treated than men in the vast majority of companies. So an Activist Entrepreneur feminist principles as a core part of their operations. At the Hedonisia Community, we implemented policies and practices incorporating social justice, equality for women through our community business operations as described in our Eco-Feminist Community page.
  • Environmental: An Activist Enterprise should try to reduce, reuse and recycle at every level it of its business practices. Not only is it good for the planet but it is also good for the bottom line! Our community derives most of it income through eco-tourism and we adopt environmental principles at every stage of our business operations.
  • EcoSexual: So many societal problems stem from some aspect of sexual dysfunction. We take an EcoFeminist approach to sexuality with our emphasis on gender equality and by being a Consent Culture community.