Integrity in business, especially on the internet, seems to be a quality that, unfortunately, is rarely found nowadays. The internet marketing world has become so glutted with hype, scams and empty promises that even the most trusting of us have become skeptical about the claims we’re subjected to on a daily basis. So when we find a company or a person with real integrity, we’re impressed, and much more likely to do business with them.

Integrity is the basing of one’s actions on an internally consistent framework of principles. Integrity is also the cornerstone of every truly successful business. It is the idea of living consistently so your actions are in harmony with your professed principles and beliefs. It is one of the building blocks of earning and maintaining trust.

Integrity is described by Webster as the state of being sound or complete, being upright, honest, and sincere. It is primarily a virtue that comes from within, and the best way each of us can promote integrity is to exemplify it, to lead lives that embody our beliefs and our sense of moral values. Integrity, in short, is doing the right thing, doing the next right thing and doing things right, knowing that even if nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not, the rewards you will receive are much greater in the long run. It is the first step to true greatness.

Moving through life with integrity is freeing because there is nothing to cover up, no guilt, and a clear guideline for how to respond in every situation. The greatest fallout from a lack of integrity is the loss of trust, both from those we work with and, ironically, even within our own subconscious. A lack of integrity can have a subtle, but powerful, effect on our psychological state, which, in turn, affects our ability to be successful in the long term. Unfortunately, integrity is an old-fashioned virtue that, for many, has become a low priority in the quest for increasing profits, maximizing market share, or acquiring votes or tenure.

True integrity is more of a journey than a destination. It’s not something you do once and you’re finished. It’s an ongoing series of personal choices that we make as we go through our lives. If you’re running a home-based business, personal integrity is as important as the products you sell or the services you offer. As an entrepreneur, a reputation for integrity is your most valuable commodity.

Integrity, like most other good things, begins at home. Little things make a big difference. Developing a habit of honesty will set you free in ways that most people don’t even begin to realize. If we’re honest with ourselves, it is always easier to be truthful. For one thing, if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. The greatest homage we can pay to ourselves and others is to walk with integrity. Making morally clear life choices is actually much easier and much more profitable in the long run. Do the right thing and speak the truth.

Whatever business you’re doing, it’s important to practice integrity in the way you operate on a daily basis. Serve others. Avoid making claims or promises that are not true. Offer real value through the products or services that you market. If you do these things, it is inevitable that you will succeed. If not, you’ll just get lost in the crowd.