Sometimes it can seem as though your competitors are bending or flat-out breaking the rules to gain a competitive advantage over your small business. However, the unspoken reality is that negative actions eventually catch up to business owners. By working smarter and within the confines of the law and ethical business practices, you’re able to position your business for success without breaking the rules. Here’s how playing by the rules can still help you get ahead in a competitive business environment.
Understand Occupational Safety Rules
Some business owners cut the corners on workplace safety, but this can potentially expose them to OSHA fines, a negative public image, liability lawsuits, low morale with their workers, and many other consequences. It is important that you understand workplace and occupational safety rules and regulations and that you actively work to make your business environment safer. Some improvements you can make may even include consulting with an occupational safety expert, earn a bachelor of occupational health and safety degree yourself, or schedule an inspection from time to time to learn about ways you can improve the safety of your workplace.
Use Contract Labor Effectively
Some companies hire illegal workers or have other unethical labor practices, and this may keep their overhead lower than yours. However, resorting to this kind of behavior is not the only option available for a small business to save money on labor expenses. You may opt to use contract labor more effectively instead of making full-time hires, for example. When you hire contractors legally, you can reduce your overhead by only paying the actual amount of time these individuals work. You can also avoid having to pay them benefits while taking advantage of a potentially more skilled workforce.
Focus on Your Environmental Impact
Environmental violations can add up to your business in multiple ways. For example, you could be fined by the government for illegally dumping waste. You could also lose business if this type of activity becomes public knowledge. On the other hand, when you take steps to be green, you may actually be able to market this fact strategically to boost sales and to bolster your public image as an environmentally friendly business.
The good guys do not always finish last in the business world. In fact, you can see that keeping things above board and ethical can actually help your business in numerous ways. Think creatively about your most significant challenges and risks, and you may be able to find a cost-effective and truly beneficial solution for your business without having to break the rules to resolve challenges.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.