We all need to make money to make our way in the world, but self-fulfillment is just as important. In the business world, doing good work that you can feel good about is the first step. Companies from all over the world and a wide range of industries are finding ways to create lasting social impact. Whatever your business, you can make a difference, too.
Build A Business On Your Passion
Do what you love, right? It’s sage advice. You have to care about something to feel good about doing it. Doing good and giving back isn’t just for nonprofits. Parents start businesses selling products that will help their family and other families. A vegan establishes a line of prepackaged vegan foods. Yes, a business needs to be sustainable, but you can enjoy what you do. The first step to feeling good about your business is selling a product that makes you feel good and makes a difference.
Here are some great examples of companies selling feel-good products:
Alternative Apparel sells sustainably sourced clothing that’s Fair Trade certified.
Seventh Generation sells eco-friendly products that are packaged in 100% recycled material.
Warby Parker sells eyeglasses. For every pair sold, they donate a pair.
Grove Collaborative sells paper goods made from 100% bamboo.
Build It Into Your Business Plan
Every business isn’t selling bamboo paper towels or sustainably sourced clothing, and that’s okay. You can still do good by building it into your brand. You don’t have to wait until you’re well established to give back either. Build it into your business plan from the very start. If you can’t afford to make monetary donations right now, build quarterly volunteer days into your business plan. You can include monetary donations in your business plan for when your start-up is off and running. Factor donations into your budget and projections. 2 years from now, how much do you want to be donating? 5 years from now? Set goals for yourself, then track your progress. Get your team involved, so everyone can feel good about their contribution when you meet a goal.
Your business plan is the blueprint for your business. What you choose to put in it is entirely up to you. It can just be about profit and loss, or it can also be about doing your part to make a lasting change in this world.
Build An Atmosphere of Giving
As the founder of a company, you set the tone. If you make charity a focus of your business, it sets an example for all of your employees. If you want to make a difference but aren’t sure where to start, hold a meeting to ask your employees’ opinions. They may have some great ideas! Or perhaps, they are already involved in volunteer work and need assistance. Don’t just assign an eager employee as head of charitable contributions and step back, either. Get involved yourself and set a positive example. You may inspire your customers and business partners to get involved, as well.
Build A People-First Philosophy
Customers know the difference between a company that values its customers and one that values its bottom line above all else. Chewy, the pet retailer, sends condolence cards to its customers when they lose their beloved pet. Acts of kindness like this will win the hearts and minds of your customers.
Yes, good customer service is good business sense, but a people-first philosophy is more than that. A people-centric business is one employees want to work for because their time and input are valued. They have fair wages, good working conditions, and an understanding boss. A people-first philosophy means implementing policies that protect the physical and mental health of your staff. From adequate leave time to group health insurance, there are a lot of things an employer can do for his or her employees. A smart business owner knows a company’s success depends upon how hard its employees are willing to work.
Build A Reputation for Good
As a business owner, you have choices about how you package your products, how you advertise your services, and what vendors you use. You choose how you treat your employees and how you run your business. Make choices you can proudly share with your customers. It will establish your business as one that cares about people over money. People don’t just want a good product at a good price. They want a product they can feel good about buying.