April 14, 2017

The Business Case for Ethics

My father died 7 years ago, today.

He was an entrepreneur, a business man, a tongue in cheek self-described ‘wheeler and dealer’ and he loved it. The challenge and reward of building something from nothing enthused him right up to the end. He was energized by new ideas, inventions, and being the first to do something.

Born during the depression he started with nothing and amassed a collection of waterfront properties, two Mercedes, a Rolls Royce, boats and two aircraft. A couple of recessions and a string of bad luck left him with nothing in the end. His only possession in his final year at age 80 was a converted Econovan that he lived in. Despite this modest end, his positive energy and new business ideas never stopped flowing. He had it all and lost it all but was still smiling, joking and dreaming of the next big idea. I inherited exactly $1,000 from the sale of his van.

A year later I walked into the Brisbane ASIC office with $1,000 cash and registered Alpha Digital for $469. The rest was deposited into a new business bank account and after registering a domain name and building a website, Alpha began trading.

It’s been 6 years now and Alpha Digital is a successful company that has earned a reputation for results and happy, long term relationships with its clients. I look around the office and I see a talented, enthusiastic, and helpful team focused on getting the best possible results for our clients.

It’s something I wish Dad could have seen. I’ve thought about him a lot more than usual lately, probably because I’m a dad now… We are 11 weeks in with our baby girl and so far, so good. It has changed my perspective and I find myself in more reflective moods.

Hence the reason for this blog. I’ve had some time to reflect on Alpha and what I am most proud of is our ethics.

Alpha Digital is a specialist digital marketing agency. Highly ethical, we do everything following best practice guidelines and are fully transparent with our clients. As our clients succeed, we succeed.

In this industry, there can be the temptation to be like a dodgy mechanic, talking complex jargon, selling unnecessary services, and charging for two hours when you only worked one. This strategy has the potential to make more money in the short term, but I believe it catches up with you in the long run. Dishonesty is contagious and toxic to a high functioning team. Conversely, a positive, honest work ethic is just as contagious and motivates a high performing team.

I like to think that it’s a fun, vibrant and energetic place to work too. It can be stressful for sure but in a good way. We encourage our clients to ask hard questions and hold us to account. It makes it harder but harder is better. Success is most rewarding when it follows hard work.

Our vision statement sums it all up nicely “To be recognised as Australia’s most highly regarded digital agency by 2020”. This came out of a day of organisational psychology consulting. As did what ended up being our collectively most commonly held attribute – Helpful. I love that and it is reflected in our core values:

I think Dad would have been proud and hopefully, one day, my daughter will be too.
Matt Cooper

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