Honesty: Still the best policy?

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This week in Tech a headline emerged that shocked the world and struck a chord with me: In business: how important is honesty to build credibility?

You may already have heard that Elon Musk of Tesla was asked to step down as Chairman of the Board. He will remain the CEO but will resign as chairman within 45 days. All in order to reach a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Yikes!

What led to this? How did we get here?

Well, last month the Tech magnate tweeted that funding had been secured to take Tesla private at $420 per share. This was not true. Musk claims he did it as a stunt, for the amusement of his girlfriend.

Now you may be thinking: Wow! What an irresponsible thing to do! If you aren’t, this article is actually for you.

This singular action kicked off a series of unfortunate events, beginning with the face that the Securities and Exchange Commission is bringing a major lawsuit against Musk. Tesla’s stock has now sunk 30 percent. At market close, stock shares were $264.77

We won’t even begin to analyze what this could mean for technology innovation!

What does this have to do with me?

I’ll tell you! I have seen time and again the rampant dishonesty of businesses. It has become okay to lie about your product, your service, make guarantees that aren’t true and promise things you don’t intend to do. Small business owners are often insecure about pricing and create offers to lure a client just to make a sale. I hope this in no-way describes your professional compass. But the reality is: fraud in small business is rampant.

In the name of business credibility

In this particular case, we’re talking about a very public personality who has always prided himself in being honest with his shareholders and customers. Not one month ago, Forbes published an article about how transparent companies have become “role models” to consumers. ONE MONTH AGO. The article goes on to outline that “consumer cynicism runs high” and they look to do business with those that are “genuinely transparent.” They referenced Elon Musk as someone who is not free of controversy but has prided himself in making his designs for electric vehicles “open-source”, or public. 

The problem is: Shareholders were directly affected by carelessness and stock prices continue to plummet. It begs the question: Will investors and consumers forget this or will he be perceived as a loose canon? Musk is a cautionary tale to all. Although he may have “meant no harm,” there are direct consequences to lies, deceit, and dishonesty in business. As in life.

How To Keep Your Reputation In Tact

  1. Be mindful of what you post on Social Media. Do not Drink and Tweet.

  2. Always remember your actions have direct consequences for your clients and shareholders. Period.

  3. Do a self check: Do I always focus on profit or do I do what’s best for my clients?

Regardless of your business, never do anything that could hurt the consumer. They are your shareholders, in a sense. They are the lifeline of your business! Be honest about pricing, functionality, and specs. Stand by your product always. If the client isn’t happy, find out why and MAKE IT BETTER! The same applies for negative reviews. It is worth every effort to make it right.

When was the last time a business failed to deliver on their services? How did you feel? Tell me about it in the comments!



Edith Duarte, Latin Medius Creative Director

Welcome to the blog! My name is Edith and here you will find my thoughts on how to grow your business organically and with intention. When I am not writing, I am busy running my digital design boutique which focuses on helping small business owners boost their personal brand and attract their ideal client with brand design, photography, and Squarespace website design.

I live in McKinney, TX with my husband and a 2-year old Maine Coon cat named Lilou.