I am absolutely fascinated by the recent proliferation of socially conscious businesses. Over the past several years, more and more companies have realized they can be equally proficient at turning a profit and simultaneously doing good for society.
For far too long these were considered endeavors better kept separate.
What we’re seeing now are Generations X and Y leading a massive entrepreneurial renaissance wherein quality business ventures are incorporating social missions into their overall business plans — and succeeding with gusto.
TOMS Shoes is a great example. Through their model, a pair of shoes is donated to someone in need each time a pair of shoes is purchased by a customer. As such, the company does good for society while also selling product, all while inspiring their customers by showing them the impact of their purchase.
The billion-dollar company also proves that you can do legitimate good for the world without compromising the ability to operate in a profitable and scalable fashion.
A reflection of consumers
This shift away from the traditional business model of simply cranking out profit for the sake of profit has business and social good symbiotically paired.
The reality is that modern consumers are more educated than ever about issues like sustainability and corporate values — and their purchase history proves it is important to them.
Businesses that incorporate social good into their mission are achieving significantly higher levels of brand loyalty from their customer base than their competitors who operate under traditional models.
The more social good a business does, the more its customers want to continue supporting it through sustained patronage. Hence, packaging the two into a fluid business plan, understanding the full depth and scope of their symbiotic relationship, is key.
Josh Evilsizor, COO of PreneurLife, a Columbus-based social enterprise, says “Social entrepreneurship isn’t just important, it’s the evolution of business. The ’80s business model of greed and making money at all costs without concern for anything else is thankfully moving rapidly into the rear view — in favor of a more collaborative model of putting people and causes at the forefront, along with profit.”
Trickle down to employees
The data shows that employees of socially focused companies are more inspired and happy in their jobs as well.
The overwhelming common thread employees echo is a profound conviction in what they are doing every day — helping grow a company that makes a meaningful impact in the lives of others. Something they can be proud of.
I look forward to the day when businesses of all shapes and sizes actively incorporate a strong social mission into their model and thrive, all while making a profound impact in the world.
It’s the future of business and I, for one, am thrilled to get on board.
Luke Westerman is Chairman and CEO of Solomon Global Holdings. Luke is a Wall Street investor turned venture capitalist and entrepreneur. He actively invests in and advises dynamic startups through his companies Solomon Global Holdings and Endeavor Forward.