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Will My Employer Sue Me for Starting My Own Business?

This story appears in the December 2014 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: When people come to my dental practice for a second opinion, they often tell me about recommendations other dentists have made that, to me, seem aggressive or excessively expensive. Isn't it unethical to lead patients to an overkill solution? What are my responsibilities when other people's patients are being steered unduly toward costly solutions?

Illustration © Jason Schneider

A: This question got me thinking about the ethics of upselling. Dentists aren't the only ones who push a Cadillac approach when a midsize remedy would do just fine. Whether inspired by perfectionism or the pursuit of more money, upselling is based on rationalizing value to clients, not confirming it. The problem is made worse when entrepreneurs don't regularly discuss ethical behavior and values with employees, who may end up thinking their sole motivation is bigger sales.

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