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Massage Today
September, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 09

The Business of Ethics

By Perry Isenberg

Recently a magazine I used to advertise in went out of business. The magazine sent everyone who had given them business a letter stating it was folding. It must have been very difficult to compose and send out such a letter, but I suppose it was the right thing to do.

Obviously, several of us had already paid for upcoming advertising in the publication, so now we had to get it back.

This has happened before, but I've usually found out the hard way. That is, when I expected my copy of a certain publication to come out and hadn't seen it for a few months, I knew what had happened and had to chase them down to recover what I wasn't going to get. Being a businessperson myself, I am always dismayed when I do business with someone I think I can trust and something like this happens. It always brings to mind an important concept, one that I feel compelled to discuss in this month's column: business ethics.

Before you can have business ethics, you must have a solid set of personal ethics. Simply put, don't do anything to anyone you wouldn't want done to you. There really isn't any difference between the two. Take as example a client who divulged some very personal things about him or herself during a session with you. Now, you know about confidentiality. This person trusted you with some pretty sensitive information. You also have sessions with a neighbor of this client. During one of these sessions, the neighbor starts to talk about how "so and so" has a big problem, and the two of you start to gossip - about the client. It gets back to the client that you spoke with their neighbor... need I finish this scenario? Take another scenario: you have a payment system whereby the client pays monthly for sessions with you. The client is scheduled every Friday during the month at a particular time. You start getting very busy on Fridays - apparently that's when all your clients want to schedule sessions. You quickly get bogged down and start missing scheduled appointments, and clients get mad, feel ripped-off, and start bad-mouthing you and going elsewhere for sessions. What do you do now?

Business ethics are the professional value-based rules that you personally live by. Here are some questions to ask yourself: Do you keep quiet about gossip you hear from one client to another? Do you try to change the conversation when "gossip" comes up? Are you fair to the clients who have been with you, and schedule appointments around them? Are you honest in telling them why you missed an appointment with them? Are you dependable/consistent and have integrity in the things you say? Do you follow through on your promises? Are your transactions with your clients fair and honest? Do you show respect and fairness?

If you can answer "yes" to all these questions, good for you. Remember, if you do not have business ethics, the perception is that you are untrustworthy. Word will get out and you will be out of business. Sound business ethics promise stability, growth and profits. They are the guarantee that you will succeed and have longevity in your practice.

Until next time, be healthy, be good, and stay focused and motivated.

Click here for previous articles by Perry Isenberg.


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