Mind your own business
The great thing about having a business is that it really is your business. How you run it is your business too.
Now I am assuming that you will know when you need advice from someone like me. All good business owners should know when they need help, and there is no shame in asking for it. It is the right thing to do sometimes. I get help myself, sometimes with things I am not good at, or don’t have time to get up to speed on.
What we don’t need is unsolicited advice, people telling us how to run our businesses and self-appointed experts judging our moral character based on what goods and services we sell.
I choose what I want to sell according to my own morality. That doesn’t mean that in my business I sell anything in my area of business which is legal for me to sell. I decide where to draw the line. It has to do with my ethics, my image and my reputation. I sell what I am comfortable to sell. It is my choice.
Yet in the tax world there are self-appointed guardians of our souls who tell us what we should be doing, who set themselves up as experts, who get invited by broadcasters and other media to pronounce. (There is a lesson in self-marketing and self-promotion to be learned from them, but that’s for another day).
I “sell” what tax savings I feel are reasonable and fair. I sell my expertise in avoiding tax pitfalls. Do these people think we should let clients fall into elephant traps and pay more to the Exchequer than is even fair? Recently I had a client who came to me too late. He had fallen foul of a trap and paid a disproportionate amount of tax on his gain. If I could have saved him the excess of tax over the normal rate, would that have been unreasonable? I don’t think so. But some strident commentators apparently think the Treasury deserves everything it gets.
Telling us what to think
The other day I was listening to the radio while driving, and there was a feature on the latest on-line and now off-line book sensation, Fifty Shades of Gray by E L James. I have not read the book and understand I am not within its target audience. Apparently it is an erotic novel featuring a younger woman in a submissive relationship with an older man. It is a book the mainly female readership can read on their e-readers on the train without the paper cover giving away their reading matter. Of course the paper versions are now available.
The radio feature first played an interview done a couple of months ago with the author, and then brought on a couple of critics, one an academic. They both criticised the author for writing material that demeaned women or (as far as I could tell) portrayed a poor role model. One went on to criticise crime fiction where women were victims. Well, hang on, women might be victims and so might men. Many of the best crime fiction novels portray strong women cops or forensic pathologists solving crimes.
This is fiction. It is not about role models. People can make up their own minds what they buy and read. They don’t need moral judges any more than do the authors of the on-line and off-line booksellers. Fantasy is private to ourselves.
You have the choice as to what you sell, whether services or products. Your motivation will be what the market wants that you can supply, and your direction will be affected by your own values, as well as the law.
I don’t need a moral judge other than myself, and neither do you, do you?