The other day I wrote a blog post about mistakes business owners make with Facebook. One of them is holding a contest on Facebook without adhering to Facebook rules.

I continuously see small business owners as well as big businesses hold Facebook contests that do not comply. Often they are completely unaware of these rules. When confronted with that fact, small business owners often ask me what the big deal is and why they should stick to these rules. The rule seems so unnecessary to so many people.

Of course, it would help if Facebook would explain their sometimes mysterious ways. However, they don’t and if you are using their free application, you have to stick to their rules. At least that would be the polite thing to do. Like you would respect the house rules of friends you stay with over the holidays.

A similar thing applies to copyright. Guest blogger Charlotte Meindersma from Charlotte’s Law & Fine Prints recently wrote the first post in a series on copyright. It was on International Copyright. Many people copy other people’s work or use it without permission. Sometimes people are just unaware, but very often they are not. What is the big deal in using someone else’s photo, or copying someone’s website concept? Well, it is not yours, first of all and by using it without permission someone may lose income. Or, in the case of the copied website (I had that happen to me) one person pays for a copywriter, graphic designer and a web builder, and the plagiarist doesn’t pay a dime. Of course, it is also against the law.

© Ivelin Radkov – Fotolia.com

It is also a question of ethics. I believe that a large part of the economic crisis the world has been in lately, has to do with a lack of ethics within business and organizations. When you are a business owner, your business’ ethics start with you and behaving ethically and with integrity (or not) reflects on your business and your brand.

In following rules or adhering to laws you have a choice to build a business and a brand with integrity. Or you don’t. There is no middle ground.

What do you choose?

By Pepita Bos