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Entrepreneurs, Ethics, and PR
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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If you were to ask most owners of successful PR agencies if their organization was originally an an exercise in entrepreneurialism, I think most would agree. Unless the PR organization was crafted as an internal part of a larger organization, then the agency definitely was the brainchild of its founder or founders. And, for most agency owners, it is a continued struggle and challenge to attract and retain clients. That is why it is always desirable to obtain clients who can become good accounts and even to become an agency of record for a client. This leads into the area of ethics and ethical decision making.

I work virtually for a consulting firm (Holistic Organizational Development and Training Inc.) as its Marketing Director and am also the Director of Publishing for its business publishing division, Quincentannial Publishing Company.  QPC publishes booklets obtained via the Apple iBookstore and on Amazon Kindle.

John Errigo, CEO and founder of both HODT Inc. and QPC, recently published a short booklet titled The Big Bang Entrepreneur: When Start-Ups and Ethics Collide.1

John shared some thoughts in the booklet that I think have meaning for entrepreneurs in the PR field, especially about ethics and making ethical decisions. Writing about entrepreneurs and ethics, he said (in part):

In today’s business climate, ethics is an important process of a developing a new enterprise. It is vital in not only the short-term, but also in the long-term of building a prosperous and thriving enterprise, which also meets the needs of corporate social responsibility. It seems the entrepreneur is building two businesses at the same time. While the internal politics and dynamics of the new enterprise are being formulated according to the entrepreneur’s vision, the bigger societal piece (the manner in which the new venture responds to the community at large) is also being built.

“ ...The entrepreneur has more than just a duty to the business world while creating a new enterprise. There is now more at stake than just a new company contributing to the bottom line of economics. The entrepreneur has a moral duty, an ethical maxim, to create an enterprise that is just and thrives within society.... There is always a struggle to create something which is profitable; however, the decisions being made need to contribute to this profitable enterprise. Each (and every) decision needs to be rooted in moral and ethical principles.

“...Organizational development of a new corporation must include a thorough and complex understanding of the entrepreneur’s role not only in the enterprise itself, but also in the role it plays outside the company, and in the lives of those whom it serves. Merely creating an ethical enterprise is not enough. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the livelihood of others following on from the ethical enterprise thus created are also important. The good news is that research has shown the creation of an ethical enterprise is good for business and can positively affect the success and competitive advantage of the enterprise.”2

My last few blogs covered the woes and problems Facebook encountered during its attempts to successfully launch its IPO. Going back to my first blog about rocking one’s product launch, it occurs to me that FB might not have properly positioned its own PR efforts to pro-actively counter any negative publicity and also generated good buzz about the stock offering. Given John Errigo’s comments above about entrepreneurs, and ethics and how they may apply to PR, I wonder as well how ethical FB has been all along?

Time will tell.
 
1. The Big Bang Entrepreneur: When Start-Ups and Ethics Collide: 2012 (Quincentennial Publishing Company: Penndel, PA
2. Quotes are from 41–43, and 44 of the booklet noted above.
 
Note: Gerry receives no compensation from HODT Inc. or QPC for his quoting from any booklets published by QPC. Use of any such quotes is meant solely to help provide illustrative and thoughtful examples for his blogs herein.


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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