There’s no room for funny business


5th August 2019

Temptation. Convenience. Pressure. Lack of awareness. There are many reasons why basic ethical practice is often sacrificed in business today.

Where do you draw the line regarding what is, and isn’t, ethical? One company will have a different tolerance or viewpoint to the next. In fact I’ve found it very hard to articulate because I’m so uncomfortable about making any kind of misleading claim.

My own personal nature often errs on the side of caution and I notice my conscience guiding my decisions on a daily basis. I want to be seen as a good example of how to run a business but does that mean Upshot is a whiter-than-white business; ethical and morally blemish-free, or that all other agencies are unscrupulous reprobates? Far from it! However, our own morality is important to the way we operate, and worth considering and evaluating.

So what does ‘no room for funny business’ mean, practically speaking, for Upshot?

There are three key aspects:


Are we being true to ourselves? Are we delivering what we say we deliver? Are we using buzzwords to try and sound trendy and current? It all comes down to authenticity. There’s a tendency in business to resist transparency, to act in a particular way so as to show the world how important or knowledgeable one is. Our business is about building relationships and working in partnership – it’s much more important that we are genuine and warm than to appear aloof and superior.

…our own morality is important to the way we operate, and worth considering and evaluating.


Sooner or later dishonest tendencies are uncovered and it never looks good. We’ve been known to reduce a fee at invoice stage for our charity clients, explaining that we’ve spent a bit less time than planned and wanted to pass part of the benefit back to them. That can be quite an easy way to show honesty. It’s much harder having to come clean about an error or something that might reflect badly on ourselves (also something we’ve had to do). Being vulnerable isn’t a great feeling and occasionally it won’t work in our favour, but that’s not the point.


Resist that temptation! Pay for what you use. Don’t rip people off. Avoid taking part in activities that devalue your industry (entering crowdsourcing competitions and free pitching creative work, for examples). Having a lack of integrity is a very unappealing quality in a business and unscrupulousness will devalue your business and others’. Even less obvious (but no less underhand) practices such as distributing fonts outside of their license shows contempt for other creators and contributes to unwelcome common practice.

We don’t want to pretend to be trailblazing ethical warriors or moral police. We just want to do business in a way that shows some responsibility and awareness of our behaviour.

Written by Owen