Nine Things Every Successful Ethical Business Needs

To be successful in business, you need to have passion and determination. But most importantly, you also need a plan.

The following are the eight keys to success that every ethical business owner should have when starting or growing their company.

A Great Product or Service

It stands to reason that a great product or service is the foundation of any successful business, and it’s especially important for an ethical business – there’s enough crap out there already.

The first thing you need to do when starting a company is to test the market and make sure that people actually want what you’re selling. If they aren’t interested, it’s better to find out now rather than later.

A great product or service can be a physical item (like a book or computer), but it can also be an intangible good (like advice or design – cough, hello).

The thing that makes these items so valuable is that they’re wanted by others who have money to spend on them—so if you have an idea for something people will pay for, then congratulations: You’ve found yourself a commodity, just make sure it’s a good one!

A Business Plan

A Business Plan is a road map for your business. It describes your products and services, how you will market them, sell them, finance them, manage them and grow them.

A Business Plan should be written in clear language and must be kept up to date as the business develops and grows.

Your Business Plan needs to describe what makes your company different from competitors – known as a competitive advantage or unique selling point (USP). It should also explain why customers would choose to buy from you rather than someone else.

It’s an important tool to help you stay focused as your business grows and evolves.

A Support Network

A good support network is vital to a business’s success.

Running an ethical business can be challenging. You’re not following the mainstream, business-as-usual model and will inevitably come up against challenges and hurdles. This means it’s important to have people who will be there for you and support your ethical business decisions when you need them the most.

A good support network can be made up of family, friends, colleagues, or even a mentor. It doesn’t matter where you get your support from, just as long as you have it.

Courage, Strength & Determination

You need courage, strength and determination to run a successful ethical business. You will face challenges and hurdles on the road to success, but don’t give up.

You will need to dig deep to overcome and push through the bad times, as yes, there will be bad times – but there will also be lots of good times.

Having these qualities will also make you a great leader, as well as someone who can inspire others to follow you on the ethical path.

A Mission

Successful ethical businesses always have a mission statement. A mission statement is a simple, clear statement of what your business is all about and should inspire and motivate others. It should be easy to remember so that it can become part of the culture of your company.

It’s not enough for a mission statement to simply state an aim or goal; it’s also important that it’s expressed as something positive—something you will achieve (rather than things you won’t avoid). The word “mission” implies purpose, and this purpose should be clearly defined in the statement.


Passion is the driving force behind any ethical business.

Passion is the reason why we do what we do, and it also helps to keep you going when times get tough.

Passion fuels your business by keeping it relevant in a saturated market, it drives you to create new ideas and look at alternative ways to do things to achieve your goals and make the change you want to see in the world.

A Strong Brand

Branding is the process of creating a unique name and identity for your business. It’s how you communicate with your customers, and no matter what industry or niche you’re in, branding is essential.

The importance of branding cannot be understated: it’s the foundation upon which everything else (marketing, sales, PR) will sit. If done well and consistently executed across all channels—from your website, emails and social media to signage and packaging —branding will be recognized by customers as soon as they see it.

They’ll build trust and a relationship with your business and ultimately become brand ambassadors.

Great Marketing

You have a great product or service, to ensure you can sell it you need marketing.

But marketing isn’t one thing it’s holistic—a cohesive, integrated campaign that builds trust with customers and prospects on every channel they prefer to engage with you: online and offline.


A successful ethical business needs money.

It needs to make money but it’s equally important that you start it with money. How much will depend on the business, a service-based business will need less money to start than a product-based business but regardless, they will both need investment to get off the ground.

No matter where your start-up capital comes from, make sure that you budget enough to launch your business without having to cut corners. A strong brand and great marketing take investment, don’t compromise your great product or service by having to scrimp on these and other vital areas of starting and running your business.

Long Story Short…

According to 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years.

Being a business owner means being in a state of constant learning and adapting. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to find your own path and do what you love. But we hope this article has given you some inspiration along the way.

Get the Ultimate Guide to Starting an Ethical Business

If you’re thinking of starting an ethical business, then you need the ultimate guide to starting one.

The guide is made up of 22 sections that are split into four chapters covering everything you need to know, including the size of the sector, the challenges you may face, how to fund it and more. It will take you through all of the steps you need to follow to bring your business idea to life.

Enter your email below to download the 56-page PDF guide today.

Written by Kayleigh Nicolaou

Co-founder of Kakadu Creative, Kayleigh has worked in the media industry since 2007, managing projects and campaigns for clients ranging from independent high street stores, to music festivals and international brands.
October 11, 2022

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