19 Jun The 4 things your impact business needs to change the world
When you’re starting or growing an impact business, with a big ambition to change the world, it can feel overwhelming.
You’ve seen a problem you want to solve or a way you can make the world a better place, and you know you’ve found your purpose, but now you need a plan to turn that vision into a reality – and still be able to pay the bills.
As a business mentor for impact driven entrepreneurs, I’ve worked with hundreds of inspired changemakers just like you, and I’ve come to realise that there are 4 key ingredients to their success:
#1 Goals with soul
Setting goals is an important process to help your ethical business grow. You wouldn’t set off on a road trip without a destination in mind, and without goals driving your business, you can end up equally lost.
But goal setting doesn’t have to be a boring corporate exercise focused on the facts and figures.
In her book ‘The Desire Map’, Danielle LaPorte recommends setting goals with soul by asking yourself “how do I want to feel?” and letting the answer lead the conversation.
Impact businesses should focus on 3 areas when it comes to goal setting:
Break down the big picture of the impact you want to make into small, manageable targets. This will help you with your impact reporting when the time comes too.
You can’t make an impact unless you’ve got a consistent revenue coming into your business. It’s important to spend time calculating how much income you need and setting yourself financial targets – even if numbers aren’t your strong point.
You’re not just here to sell ethical products and services – you’re here to create a movement for change. And you can’t do that alone.
Having targets for your audience development is an important part of any ethical business growth plan – but don’t forget to focus on quality and not just quantity.
Think about the type of customers and supporters you want to attract, the collaborators you’d like to work with and the publications you’d like to be featured in.
Look for people and opportunities that align with your core values – it’s not about having thousands of people on your email list or following you on social media – it’s about attracting the right people who will spend money with you and support your cause.
#2 An impact strategy
You’ve started your business to make a positive impact on the world – whether that’s through responsible sourcing, sustainable practices and transparent supply chains, or by embedding giving back into the heart of your business – or both!
Positive impact won’t sell your products or services for you, but it will make your marketing more effective and help you attract loyal customers.
According to Forbes, more than 88% of consumers think companies should try to achieve their business goals while improving society and the environment.
As an ethical business with values at the heart of what you do, you’re in a strong position to turn your impact into a competitive advantage – but you need a strategy.
First you need to decide how you want to make an impact, which causes to align your brand to and what charities or organisations to partner with.
Then you need a plan for measuring and communicating your impact – your customers can’t support you if they don’t know what you’re doing!
#3 An ethical marketing strategy
An ethical marketing strategy will help you raise brand awareness, drive sales and make the income and impact you need.
Think of your marketing strategy as a roadmap to your customers.
There are so many different marketing tools and techniques out there, without a plan aligned to your goals it can quickly become overwhelming.
If you’re not careful, you can focus your efforts too much on one area – like raising brand awareness, and not enough on converting followers into customers, which means you spend all your time on social media but don’t get rewarded with the sales you need.
An ethical marketing strategy will help you identify, find and connect with your ideal customer and put systems in place to convert them into loyal supporters and raving fans.
#4 A supportive community
Life as a business owner can be lonely. Often your friends and family don’t understand why you’d leave the security of a steady paycheck and take on the risk of entrepreneurship, and even if they want to support you, they don’t always “get it”.
In the social enterprise space, things can be even lonelier.
Living an ethical & sustainable lifestyle is sometimes considered ‘hippy’, out of the ordinary, and to some, even “a bit weird!” by people who aren’t in the space.
And when you go to traditional business meetups or networking events, you get funny looks when you explain that you’re not 100% driven by profit, and people assume you’re running a charity.
Even eco-idol Stella McCartney has opened up about how lonely the path of a sustainability champion can be.
Being surrounded by like-minded social entrepreneurs gives you a support network. People to turn to when things aren’t going right, friends who will celebrate your wins with you, and people you can trust to bounce ideas around with and share opportunities, contacts and advice that really help drive your business forward.
When I first entered the ethical and sustainable space, it was hard to find helpful information.
I began connecting with brand owners, bloggers and like-minded people, but there was no central space for us to come together, so support felt hard to come by.
That’s why I started #EthicalHour.
To create a space where people could feel supported in living an ethical & sustainable lifestyle while running a triple bottom line business.
Now I’m on a mission – to create the most impactful, productive and vibrant community for changemakers on the internet.
We’ve launched a member’s community to bring together the most driven changemakers from around the world.
Inside, we provide a curated selection of the best content from across the internet, making it easy for you to access the information and resources a busy changemaker needs.
We connect our members to our huge network of industry experts, trusted suppliers and inspiring impact entrepreneurs who fully understand the social enterprise space.
And we provide tailored support and training to help you unlock the skills, knowledge and strategies that will really move your income and your impact forward.
Membership is just £20 a month. Find out more about the perks of becoming a member and sign up here!