Jul 302010
 
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This is an extremely important point – throughout the course of building your company, you will be presented with many decisions, some of which will involve an ethical judgment.  It’s key that before you run into any very tough decisions along these lines, you invest some time in thinking through how you will handle difficult ethical issues.  It is much easier to be clear-headed and exercise good judgment before you are in a situation that pits your desire to profit against your desire to do the “right” thing.  Certainly stay on the right side of the law, but even if you do that religiously, you will still run into some gray areas.  If there is even the hint of a conflict of interest, it is in your best interest (professionally and personally) to be very careful, and if you decide to proceed, be very honest in disclosing the potential conflict.  You (typically) can only do very well in business as long as you maintain your reputation; don’t risk it over what seems like a lot of money or a particularly advantageous deal.  An ethical misstep can stick with you for a long time, like potentially the rest of your career.  Some of the best advice I have received was, “if it’s gray, stay away”.  It’s just not worth it..

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