In this health and financial upheaval, your customers, investors and employees are watching you and how you react. So, how is your small business helping to make the world a better place? asks Bronwyn Reid
We’ve heard all the sayings – “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life”; “Passion will make you succeed in business”; “Passion leads to success”.
While I have never believed that passion alone is sufficient to create a successful, growing business, there is now one more ingredient to add to your list of non-negotiable skills; Social Responsibility.
The science doesn’t lie – according to multiple investigations, academic research projects, and industry surveys, organisations with a strong, believable “Why” are far more likely to attract customers and suppliers.
It’s no longer sufficient to have some nice-sounding words on your boardroom wall and in your annual reports. Today’s customers and investors have a laser-like vision and can see through that thin veneer of words.
What today’s customers are looking for is organisations that truly embed social responsibility into everything they do, in every part of the organisation. And your reaction to this current upheaval will be reflecting that central driving force, for better or for worse.
Why you should be genuine about your social responsibility
There are several excellent reasons why you should be joining the growing number of socially responsible organisations – those that question how their work makes the world a better place.
It’s the right thing to do
Firstly, of course, because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t have to expand on this one!
Global investment markets are watching you
Global money is increasingly filtering where investment funds are allocated by looking at social purpose. The amount of money involved in this “Impact Investing” is currently $502 billion (yes, with a b), and growing. That’s one-quarter of all global assets under management!
“One in four dollars of professionally managed assets (amounting to USD 13 trillion) now consider sustainability principles” according to the Global Impact Investing Network.
The conclusion to be drawn from these figures is that if your organisation wants to be considered by global fund managers and investors, you will need to be making strides in social responsibility within your industry.
Your employees are watching you
Employees, especially younger staff, have lost trust in the major institutions who dominate our societies. Sixty-five per cent of informed people and 47 per cent of the mass population distrust institutions, for a number of reasons.
These people are disenchanted, and feel the frustration of not being able to create positive changes in their world through traditional institutions – including their politicians, so they are turning to their employers to help them navigate a world that is letting them down.
Seventy-five per cent of people surveyed in the latest Edelman Trust Barometer say they trust their employer. That’s 27 points more than Government!
So, if you want to attract the best, brightest and most committed employees to your team, you will have to meet their expectations of being a leader on social action.
Your customers are watching you
Consumers are increasingly voting with their dollars and will shun companies that do not align with their values and desire to make the world a better place. More than eighty per cent of consumers expect that their purchases will give them more than just a product or service. Three out of four consumers will purchase “responsible” brands.
I found a quote recently that sums up this trend beautifully.
“ … an increasing number of people recognise that their money should do more than just make more money.”
There are many responsibilities that you carry as a small business owner. Your responsibility to make a positive social impact is right up there with the traditional roles.
So now that you’ve considered the reasons why joining the growing number of socially responsible organisations is important, what are you currently doing and how can you continue to ensure that your Small Business is helping to make the world a better place?
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