Doing good business!
It is never just about profit for UnitedSucces Members and Associates. But profit must come first: if a socially conscious business isn’t viable, it can’t do any good for anyone. How, then, does the business balance profit and mission? Running a business is difficult; running a socially conscious business is even more difficult.
Firstly, don’t neglect the nuts and bolts. Although it can be tempting for socially conscious entrepreneurs to devote all of their time to the marketing element, it is equally important to devote time to the numbers — projecting revenues and anticipating costs. Make sure to consider the most important question: how will this business make money?
Secondly, define whom and how the business will help. No business can solve all problems for all people: the ‘do good’ component must be targeted. Limiting the business’ social mission will allow you to anticipate the cost of your commitments throughout the year. The recommendation is that new businesses donate a percentage of sales, not profits, in their first few years until there are significant profits.
Thirdly, profit and mission can be aligned. Cause-based marketing – communicating your mission to a base of customers who care – can differentiate your business from its competitors and drive sales above expectations. Certain certifications – like 1% for the Planet, for example – can lend legitimacy to your business as socially conscious. Even without formal certifications, make sure your customers know about your altruistic commitments. This isn’t bragging; it’s demonstrating that business can be a force for good.
What advice can you share on doing business with a social conscience?