The Ethics of Online Business: Navigating Grey Areas

Jun 21, 2024

 In this episode of Business Power Hour with Faith Mariah, my guests and I discussed:

  • The complexities of payment processing, pricing, and client qualifications in the business world.

  • The significance of setting clear expectations and boundaries in payment plans to maintain stability for both clients and service providers.

  • The potential impact of third-party payment plan processors on clients, including the harm caused by defaults and credit score issues.

  • The importance of human interaction and flexibility in handling payment issues compared to third-party systems.

  • Insights into recognizing and addressing internal biases that can influence business decisions, such as client selection and sales calls.

In the fast-paced world of online business, navigating ethical considerations can often be a complex and intricate task. In this Power Hour Episode, hosted by Kelsie Bentley and featuring guests Alyssa Hall and Liz Stapleton, a thought-provoking discussion unfolded, diving into the legal and ethical implications of handling bias, discrimination, and diversity inclusion in online business, coaching, and blogging. The conversation shed light on the intricacies of payment plans, pricing strategies, client qualifications, and program applications. 

Adhering to Ethical Payment Processing:

The conversation initially uncovered the challenges of payment processing, as Kelsie shared her personal experience of encountering issues with her monthly service payment. The necessity of navigating morally gray areas in business was emphasized, prompting the discussion to focus on payment plan pricing, access to capital, and client qualifications. The ethical implications of pricing and its impact on access and equity were articulated by Alyssa, highlighting the crucial importance of valuing results and addressing core marketing problems. This emphasized the ethical responsibility of ensuring that pricing does not create barriers to access while still ensuring the sustainability of the business.

Refund Policies and Program Advertisements:

Refund policies and program advertisements emerged as key discussion points, underscoring the significance of transparency and clarity in business practices. The importance of a thorough application process without discrimination was emphasized, aiming to create an inclusive and fair selection process for clients. This highlighted the ethical obligation to ensure that the application process is free from biases and discriminatory practices.

Importance of Clear Expectations and Boundaries:

Kelsie emphasized the critical role of coaching as a service, outlining the delivery of results for clients and underscoring the importance of a contract to clearly spell out expectations. The cultivation of clear boundaries emerged as a recurring theme, reflecting the ethical need to maintain stability and fairness in client interactions. This emphasized the importance of setting clear boundaries and communicating them effectively to foster a productive and ethical client-coach relationship.

Mitigating Harm Caused by Payment Plan Defaults:

The impact of third-party payment plan processors on clients became a focal point of the discussion, accompanied by considerations of the potential harm caused if a client defaults on a payment plan. The negative implications of credit score issues and the high cost of lower credit scores were explored, shedding light on the ethical responsibility of minimizing potential harm to clients caused by payment plan defaults. This highlighted the need for businesses to consider the potential consequences of financial decisions on their clients and to mitigate harm through appropriate measures.

Human Interaction and Flexibility in Payment Processing:

The conversation underscored the benefits of handling payment issues personally and offering flexibility, contrasting this with the potential drawbacks of third-party payment systems. Emphasizing the ethical imperative of human interaction and flexibility, the discussion highlighted the importance of maintaining a personalized approach to payment processing to accommodate the individual needs of clients. This underscored the ethical obligation of businesses to prioritize human interaction, understanding, and flexibility in their payment processing practices.

The Power Hour discussion provided invaluable insights into navigating ethical considerations in business practices, particularly in the realms of payment plans, pricing strategies, client qualifications, and program applications. By exploring the multifaceted nature of ethical business practices, the conversation underscored the importance of cultivating transparency, fairness, and inclusivity in online business endeavors. Navigating ethical business practices requires a conscientious approach that prioritizes the well-being and equitable treatment of clients, ensuring that business operations uphold the values of integrity and social responsibility. 

Meet this Week's Contributors:

Liz Stapleton, Lawyer; Blogger

Alyssa Hall, Business Coach and DEI Consultant

Maria Ortega, Inclusivity and Anti-Racist Coach

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