Doing Right While Doing Business
Written by James Garvin for Gaebler Ventures
Business is viewed by some as a necessary evil to generate a profit. Today's businesses and entrepreneurs, however, are approaching business as a new way to do social good while generating profits.
If you wanted to do social good through an organization, the usual means to do so was by setting up and managing a non-profit organization.
However, today companies from all over the world are establishing social responsibility programs that not only allow them to continue to generate profits, but even increase them. Social responsibility is more than just volunteering your time. Like a business, social responsibility firms should be scalable and replicable once a process is instituted.
Marc Benioff, the founder and CEO of Salesforce.com instituted the 1/1/1 policy where the company donates 1% of their profits, 1% equity, and 1% of their employee time back into the community. Many firms, including Google have adapted Marc's 1/1/1 policy and instituted various forms of their own 1/1/1 program into their own organizations.
When speaking at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business graduation, Marc stated that it is much easier to implement social responsibility programs into your business from the very start. Starting a social responsibility program from day one engrains social good into the culture of your company and provides your employees, partners, and customers, with a sense of mission, and a sense of good that can have profound impacts on the near and long-term success of your organization.
Blake Mycoskie started Tom's shoes on the principle that they would give away a free pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes that they sold. Tom's shoes has become wildly successful, due in part to its social mission to provide shoes to children in need, but also because of its quality product, corporate culture, and corporate brand that makes consumers feel good about buying Tom's shoes. Tom's shoes stands for a mission that consumers can connect to and feel good about. They have crafted a brand around social responsibility that drives customers to their products and helps them stand out from competitors.
Marc and Tom obviously did not start their company's to simply do social good, they did it to make a profit, but they have both proven that businesses are more than just profit driven organizations and are examples of how businesses, especially start-ups can successfully implement social responsibility programs into their organizations and still succeed in business.
Tom's shoes and Salesforce.com are just a few examples of how corporations these days are implementing social good programs into their business from the very start and building successful firms. It is up to you on how and what social responsibility you implement into your business, but as we can learn from Marc and Tom, social responsibility should not be ignored by entrepreneurs who are looking to change the world and make significant profits. Doing good while doing business will have positive impact on your business, yourself, your employees, your customers, and of course those that you are helping through your social responsibility programs.
James Garvin began his education studying biotechnology. In recent years he has turned his interest in technology to helping two internet startup companies. The first business was an online personal financial network and the second was an e-marketing platform created to help entrepreneurs demo their web sites. Currently a student at University of California Davis, James is spending his summer incubating two new online businesses and writing about his entrepreneur experiences.
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