In this open letter to small & mid-sized companies, Fatima Homor, MBA, shares advice about social responsibility in all areas of life include business. Let her words inspire you to action and keep smiling!
For existing businesses:
Dear Social Entrepreneur,
Let me start at the end: I wish you profitable growth and also thank you for being a socially conscious businessperson.
Is it easy? Is it hard? Are you profitable?
Being a social enterprise from one perspective is easier, from the other is harder than it is for a rather unconscious business (UB).
First. A UB does not take a lot of crucial details into consideration, from paying the colleagues correctly and legally, to investing in renewable energy or sustainable NGO support.
Second. The UB focus is first and second on growing margin, it is a rather ego based attitude. Meaning, it won’t lead so easily to the give-up stage.
People committing to be social entrepreneurs chose a lifestyle, are more emotionally committed and therefore might feel overwhelmed more often.
Both the success and the failure of a social entrepreneur lies on their long-term belief they will be successful!
- Do not quit
- Talk about it to everyone
- Constantly read, research, and educate yourself
I have some good advice and practices to share with you in order to offer you some support..
Start finding locally available Angel Investors.
Many of them told me in 2017: I am tired of the same pitches all the time, start-ups willing to earn money by creating an App etc. I want to invest into value-creation, where the entrepreneurs are 101% committed, and they also possess great knowledge in their topic of sustainability!
You have to commit to sustainability at all levels. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) implemented into the core of the business starts with you personally.
For example, do you smoke? Do you drink too much alcohol? Do you use makeup products tested on animals? Do you take plastic bags from the supermarkets? Do you overuse electricity? Do you eat too much meat? (One of the biggest contributors to global warming…) Do you have 10 minutes long showers? Do you pay for processed food? Don’t you recycle your own trash? Do you drink your coffee or water from a plastic bottle?
Don’t you talk to your friends…?
Why the heck have I raised the last question?
Because the philanthropic way of living is the first and foremost aspect of real and successful CSR operations. You need to be consistent on that in all areas of your life.
How does it apply to you?
There are similarities and differences when we take into consideration the actual to do’s, but being human at all times is a key perspective. To learn about this more, hire and get into contact with smiley people, women, and youth.
As an important practice, you must internalize your external costs. E.g. if your business acknowledges the facts of its food-waste cost impact and internalize these expenses, you will see how much more both you and your evaluators will reflect on your real sustainability goals. The Business Commission on Sustainability has measured the impact of this practice: 99%.
Another impactful task is to raise the wages of your employees and yourself from the minimum wage to the living wage level.
If you are unable to do so due to funding constraints, build these aspects into your business plan and offer it with an explanation to the Angel Investors.
Further, a key perspective is the education of yourself, your colleagues and partners. According to recent measures connected to the SDGs (United Nations 2030 Sustainability Development Goals), one dollar invested into education brings back 10 dollars at least.
How can you educate yourself?
There are tons of articles, books, Online-studying opportunities, where you can further and further educate yourself on your subject. You need to be an expert in your topic and turn your expertise into convincing sales.
Here comes a challenging question: do you have to be a good salesperson? Yes, you do. Should you be willing to earn a lot of money? Yes, you should.
One of the largest stop signs of social entrepreneurs is that they are afraid of talking about money, asking for payment of their goods, services. Social enterprises are NOT non-profits. And they shouldn’t be. Money in good hands is the best tool ever!
Do not get confused with being social and earning good money! These shall be on the same page. Have you read the Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki? Or the quote from Sharon Lechter:
“Your money. Your business. Your life.”
Social enterprises should earn more money so they are able to invest back more into themselves and their socially committed businesses.
Yes, we must support each other. Yes, we, socially committed business owners and CEOs should leave our doors open and provide real value when we open our hands. Though our businesses will thrive only when we become conscious about our real value creation.
What about existing businesses?
You shall use CSR as the main basis for your incomparable advantage to gain your loyal customers and coworkers on the long run. You should lead by example as a business owner both in your business and in your private life, and communicate it at every event, forum, and conference. Share the word of the doing good while doing well phenomenon is happening. Be proud of it! It is really chic!
50 years ago or so it was a chic to be the godfather-type-of businessman. Today we open our mouth and many of us say, our religion is: we believe in doing good. This brings us inclusion.
The SDGs aim to affect all aspects of our life. We are the doers! The more we are committed, the more success we earn. The more success we earn, the happier we are as we feel our life is meaningful.
I am Fatima Homor, MBA researcher at the University of Liverpool, owner of the Angeling Profit, CSR Kickstarter Online social enterprise. Thank you for your care and listening.
Greetings from Hungary now!
Ps.: A smile is not unprofessional, a smile is self-confidence.