The Bible teaches that we should be as innocent as doves but
wise as serpents.
Apart from anything else, this is useful business advice:
“Be honest but do not be stupid”.
This principle cuts through the supposedly complex maze of
business ethics like a chainsaw. It is essential for the entrepreneur to have a
moral code – because, if he does not, there is no one else to have one for him
– but that does not mean he has to put himself in a position where others will
surely exploit him.
1 Be strict about
speaking the truth and only the truth – but also be discreet, and do not
volunteer information to anyone who is not entitled to it, especially not to
public officials or to potential competitors;
2 Obey the law, even
when it is irrational – but take advantage of its loopholes, even if they are
3 Pay every penny
that is legitimately due in taxes – but not a penny more;
4 Take advantage of
every government programme that puts money in your pocket, even if you would
abolish such programmes if you were in government, because the government is
also imposing many more burdens than you would impose, so be assured that you
are only reclaiming part of what you are overpaying; and
5 Be absolutely trustworthy
yourself but not too trusting – one has to trust others in order to do
business, but do not be too quick to bestow your confidence on someone you do
not know well, and let that confidence develop only gradually, through
experience and testing.