If you read my personal newsletter, Growers, you’ll know I attend group therapy. I share real life updates with the other participants. We’re like family. I told the group about the new business idea. We even dug into some of my concerns, like the ethical implications of success. It was good, because it pushed me to solidify my position.

4 ethical imperatives for my startup

Upon receiving some group challenges, I firmed up my stance. There are four things I’d like to be considerate early on. I believe focusing on these issues earlier allows for proactive measures or planning. Instead of reacting in the heat of the moment. It allows us to think through potential shareholder conflict as well.

1. Consider ethical questions before we build.

Considering these issues now allows us to decide how to shape a plan forward. It prevents getting caught on our heels without a plan in the future as well. Building with strong ethics helps you navigate negative externalities. Such as, the influence of money and relational pressure down the line.

2. Build with as many ethical parts as possible.

My co-founder and I want to build a company where employees love working. All the normal things are important, like productivity and results. But, we prefer to not create a people grinder. It’s not necessary for big time success. You can build a company that gives people meaningful, fun work and real ownership. And yes, it will have its challenges too.

3. Share and live by our ethics and values.

It’s hard to trust these days. When transparency is absent, you increase skepticism. I’m building a startup in public for a few reasons. I love the idea of documenting the process for others to learn from. It may have powerful marketing impacts. It’s a way to hold myself accountable. I will still mess up and not get things right. We’re more forgiving when we own our mistakes, not hide them.

4. Have an economic success plan before being successful.

When this startup is successful, I don’t want to be scrambling in the dark. I want to already know my magnetic north. Luckily, this won’t take a lot of work. For instance, I know I’d love to invest in underrepresented founders. And, I’d love to provide some of that money as grants without equity attachments. Expanding access to capital is huge to me. Finally, I’d love to figure out ways in which I can help rewrite a broken system. I’m hoping I can support with advocacy, charity, and political capital.