The rise of e-commerce as an extension of the online age means that it’s easier than ever for the average Joe or Jane to become an entrepreneur. All that’s required is little more than a domain name and a WordPress site.
But because we’re still in a Wild West stage of online commerce, virtual vendors are free to act as honorably or dishonorably as they wish. That begs the question: where are the ethical guidelines?
Here are six modes of behavior this ambitious person should adhere to when creating his online gaming empire.
Communicate a clear message
The subject wants to sell used video games online. This simple endeavor should form the basis of his messaging. First he’ll want to decide on a domain name that is self-explanatory and specific to his enterprise. He may want to look to theoldschoolgamevault.com as an example of a similar business that branded themselves effectively as an online game trader of classic titles.
Build from this simple foundation
Then it’s time to check whois.net to see if this elegantly straightforward name is already taken. If it’s available, GoDaddy or HostGator can facilitate the purchase of prime online real estate. Choosing the right content management system should also be about simplicity. Something built on the Genesis Framework, such as WordPress, is an ideal platform. Throughout this setup process be clear and concise about what the business is, and what it hopes to accomplish.
Transparency is key
Every business decision put in place by the owner should be transparent and above board. Our entrepreneur shouldn’t make promises he can’t keep, be it in the domain name (“Largestvideogamewarehouse.com”) or in practice (“We pay more for cash for selling your used video games than anyone else combined!). Adopting a “transparency first” approach will help the entrepreneur stay on the straight and narrow for the life of the business—and indeed help grow the operation through the years.
Understand the laws and regulations
So the domain name has been registered and the proper CMS platform has been chosen. Now comes the hard part: navigating the murky waters of laws and regulations. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a comprehensive primer for entrepreneurs looking to create their online operation. Some of the highlights include always protecting customers’ privacy online, engaging in honest marketing practices and adhering to digital rights/copyright law.
Pay fair wages, conduct square deals
If the guy who creates a company employs people to help him with to buy used video games online, he will need to pay those employees a fair and competitive wage. Ditto for those customers with whom he engages in business transactions. After all, if he lowballs folks looking to trade in video games on a continuous basis, then it’s only a matter of time before jilted customers disseminate the word on social media and message boards—which can kill our entrepreneur’s business in a heartbeat.
Create a top-down ethical culture
If a culture of ethics begins at the top—with our newly minted CEO of a video-game trading company—it will filter down to every level of the organization. An honest and ethical atmosphere fosters greater employee loyalty as well as outside investment. For this reason, there is no better way to grow a successful business faster than by doing it ethically.
In the end, the above principals will apply to anyone looking to create any type of online startup. Whether it’s a selling used video game marketplace online, or a clothing retailer, or a non-profit providing education for underprivileged kids in Southeast Asia, the idea is to stay true to your founding principals. Because compromising these ideals merely for short-term gain or to keep the lights on will render the operation ethically dead.