Nothing Personal, It’s Just Business
Money. It has to come at expense of someone or something else. It’s nothing personal, just business, right?
These same people volunteer, donate, and contribute in their personal life. Then switch off to that good nature at work?
Does it all boil down to the old argument supported by economist Milton Friedman in a 1970 New York Times Magazine. Often misquoted:
“There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud”
Times are a changing! People want businesses to hold a higher standard. I will show you how this old thinking will be the death of many businesses. And how bringing your good self to work means more fulfillment, positive impact and healthy profits.
The Good Business of Doing Good Business
In years long past I worked for brands that makes my stomach twist in knots. It did not feel good, and I did not enjoy the work.
For many reasons I am a different man now (that is another book!). Today, I want to feel good about the work I do. All the time!
I want to deal with awesome people doing amazing things and on my wavelength. I want that for my team. So I am selective about working with Good Businesses. And those with the intent to become one. Because that is the journey we embark on together.
What is Good Business?
Is the world better with your business in it?
Let’s start with the cost of doing business. Have you stopped to consider the true cost of your products or services?
True cost is the holistic footprint of the production, sale, delivery, usage and disposal of what you create and sell.
To calculate it you need to take into consideration many factors. Think about the physical, emotional and spiritual costs.
The factors differs between businesses, as all products and services are not equal.
Some of the factors to consider when calculating the true cost for your business are:
Entire Supply chain wellbeing
Good business ought to know their true costs and work to improve them over time. Good business is responsible and ethical.
Framework and measurement is the key. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are some you can readily adopt such as the B Corp assessment. More on B Corp in this chapter.
Good business has positive social and environmental impact and makes a healthy profit. Both are necessary for sustained benefit of all!
Positive impact can be many things. In Part I we delve into Impact Model deeper.
Social impact can address the care, freedom or wellbeing of needy individuals, groups or communities. It can be fighting to change rights, perceptions or beliefs.
Positive environmental impact options can be vast too. From protecting habitats, fighting climate change and pollution. To creating new and cleaner ways of doing damaging things.
The choice is endless! What are your team passionate about changing in the world that aligns with your business?
Aligning with your business is important. Clear connection between your business and intended impact helps your customers get invested.
Creating positive impact can be through the production or delivery of products and services. Where benefit outweighs the cost of course.
Outland Denim, is an Australian premium denim brand. Started to empower women rescued from human trafficking and give them a sustainable career path. They also source the most ethically and environmentally sound raw materials.
It is not necessary for your business to create the impact directly. An organisation or agency who are already delivering the impact you want can be better.
With people already on the ground and delivering, your impact can be immediate. Without the infrastructure costs and trial and error.
Who Gives A Crap is an Australian toilet paper company. It launched after learning 2.3 billion people worldwide don’t have access to a toilet. 50% of profits go to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. They also use bamboo fibre, not trees in their paper.
The positive impact must outweigh the true cost. And you must not contradict it through other aspects of your business. Authenticity is key!
Good businesses factor all this and embed impact in their business model and brand story.
This kind of brand makes everyone feel good. That means you, your team, your customers, and everyone that learns your brand story.
Are you in the business of good business? If not yet, do you have the intent to become one?
It is a journey. Measure, improve, repeat!
Within this book you will discover many benefits that come out of being a good business.
Why Now Is The Time
This is an era of technology and hyper connectedness. It’s created a new global awareness. The problems impacting humanity and the planet are playing real time in our news feeds.
We are living with climate change. More educated and entitled than ever in history, now we can have a voice and make the changes we seek.
Millennials are vocal and voting with their choices. In Part I we explore the millennial concept in detail.
Social media has leveled the playing field and opened up dialog with brands and politicians. Advertising and marketing messages are not the only reality consumers have of brands.
There is an awakening of consciousness. It reveals itself through the demand for sustainable goods, organics, and ethical choices.
As too in the mainstream growth of good businesses such as Wholefoods and Patagonia.
Further proof is the groundswell of established good business movements. Good business tribes.
Good Business Tribes
After my purpose moment I felt quite isolated and alone. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know anyone else, or where to start. So I started to build my own model and business rating system. Invested a lot of time and money!
Luckily a friend introduced me to B Corp. It didn’t meet my idea of what a certification ought to be. I was creating mine to be much tougher!
The next thing I did ended up being one of the best things I have. I certified my company. Then I met my tribe! Admittedly it would have happened a lot quicker in the other order.
Benefit Corporation Certification and B Corporations are through B Lab.
B Corp Certification is to business as Fair Trade is to coffee. Meeting the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance. And public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
The Benefit Corporation, a type of corporation, is for building the B Corp mission into the DNA of the corporation. It’s legal protection of the purpose of a business.
Passionate B Corp people act on a local level to bring together communities of good businesses. I am one such B Corp.
There are other organisations doing great work.
While not a certification, Conscious Capitalism has chapters around the world. Members unite around the four tenets from the book of the same name by Raj Sisodia and John Mackay of Wholefoods.
Find your tribe.
Get together often with other conscious business people in your area. It is the best thing for your business to thrive. You will gain inspiration from their experience.
Speaking from experience, being around good people feels awesome. If it doesn’t exist yet in your area, create it.
I am writing my book in 21 days which started on the 10th December and ends on the 31st. I am journalling the process in this blog along with content that I feel compelled to share.
That’s it for this session. Under target today with <500 words to complete this draft.
Love to read your comments.