Social enterprise isn’t niche – it’s the new norm

None of us operate our businesses in a vacuum. We’re living in a time when the world is breaking – it’s crying out for us to change our ways urgently. But are we really listening? Or are we too busy looking for the usual economic life rafts to pull us out of the recession while the pandemic, myriad of social injustices and climate collapse still rage on around us?

It’s time for every business to take responsibility for its impact: socially, environmentally and economically. And not just because it’s good for the ‘greenies’.

Business as a force for good is good for business.

If you’re looking for some fast stats to back up the argument, get a load of these:

  • In a study conducted by Porter Novelli in 2019, almost 80% of consumers say that they feel a personal connection to brands which align with their own values; 
  • In the same study, 86% of consumers said they’re more likely to purchase from purpose-led brands;
  • A study conducted by Edelman in 2018 found that businesses are in many cases more trusted than governments, so in terms of having ‘permission’ to step up to the plate on social and environmental issues, the slip is right there for the taking.
  • The same study found that 64% of consumers will actively choose, switch or boycott brands based on their stance on societal issues. This ‘belief-driven buying’ was found to be mainstream globally.

Now is the time to foster stronger, more meaningful connections with our customers, based on shared values and meaningful action – as doing so is an act in future-proofing our businesses.

Remembering our brand purpose

I never started my business to make “7 figures” as certainly the online business world tends to hype ad nauseum. I started it to make an impact, by putting my skills to better use. I want to help business owners build brands with more depth than aesthetics and work with those interested in more than simply the pursuit of money. Brands for which purpose really does come before profit. And whose purpose links to the betterment of people and the planet.

I also started it to enable the lifestyle I wanted, which I am privileged in so many respects to be able to do. 

In my view it’s imperative and mandatory (not a nice-to-have, feel-good extra) for every business to do business responsibly and to give back in a relevant and significant way.

Thankfully there are so many ways we can do that.

Brand purpose and values guide your brand impact – and every micro impact adds up

Once you’re clear about your brand values and greater purpose, choosing a cause that aligns with your brand should be pretty straightforward.

Ask these key questions to help you get there:

  • What is the change our brand is here to make in the world?
  • What evils does our brand rally against?
  • What good does our brand fight for?
  • What sort of contribution will align with our brand? (For example, financial, in-kind donation, pro-bono services, volunteering).
  • What sort of contribution will align with our brand? (For example, financial, in-kind donation, pro-bono services, volunteering).
  • What contribution will be most meaningful to the cause? (For instance, will our support be a drop-in-the-ocean for the cause or recognised as highly valued?)
  • How will this contribution be woven into our brand story? (How can we share our impact to continue to raise awareness, inspire and create positive sentiment among our audience?)

I’ve chosen to throw my support behind B1G1, which struck a chord with me due to their alignment with the UN Sustainability Goals. With every digital product I sell, I fund 50 days of support to women with literacy and business skills, because I believe the more women who are empowered with education and financial independence, the better the outcomes for everyone (and the planet). With every new coaching client or project, I save 10 square metres of the Daintree Rainforest, because I believe in creating a greener future. 

What will all those 6 and 7 figure businesses be for exactly?

No, Tracy, I don’t have a “money block” because I don’t want to talk about how many figures my business is making and don’t give a flip how many yours is making. Thanks for the concern about my mindset, though.

What I do want to talk about is the urgent need for positive impacts on society at large; meaningful steps towards a more sustainable, greener economy; positive contributions to ending inequality, poverty, violence against women, disease,….etc.

You know, because I’m a human person who is paying attention to what’s happening in the world around me in 2020. 

And as a business owner, I can make a contribution to the solution. I’m actively looking for ways to continue to do so.

If in our pursuit of all those zeroes, we’re not actively looking for ways to meaningfully give back, we have to ask ourselves: what the hell is it all even for?

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