As I think back to my days of college when I was studying business, I recall a quote from economist and Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman. He said “There is one, and only one social responsibility of business — to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.” Does this still hold true? Do we live in a society where profit is single most important factor? When I think about all of the successful business owners and leaders that I know, they all have a purpose, a “why” that goes beyond making a profit. They want to raise awareness for a cause or problem within society. Once the business has discovered the “why,” people naturally want to support that business. It actually helps businesses grow and flourish, despite the fact that it may take time and cost money to help the cause. The business is making an investment.
What is your passion? Is it to help the community? To protect the environment? To help clean-up a neighborhood? To assist women in shelters? To help the homeless? To raise awareness for autism? To raise money for victims of tragedies? To help mentor children? The list is endless. There are so many ways that we can give back to society and make a difference.
As I was writing this blog post, I was thinking about all of the wonderful business owners that I have met through the Global Sisterhood. Every one of us has a passion for our causes. As you read each of the sister’s individual stories, you become inspired. The excitement and passion is contagious! When I attended the Global Gala day sessions where 50 women spoke in March, I can honestly say that there were many tears shed, lots of laughter and friendship bonds formed as each one of the women discussed their cause and personal journeys. Don’t worry if you missed it, we are fortunate enough to be able to watch them online through the links on the Inspiring Lives International YouTube Channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtaS77GH5UVPx02wzntAwCw
Why were all of these women’s presentations outstanding? It wasn’t because they tried to sell something to make a profit. They told their story. They explained their “why”. They were passionate and sincere. While these businesses are successful, the success is beyond profit.
The one thing that has most impressed me about the Global Sisterhood is everyone’s desire to support one another. We genuinely want to see each other succeed. At one time, I witnessed people that competed against each other (as if there could only be one winner). There are so many different opportunities, we don’t have to compete with each other. Rather than compete, why not figure out how we can help support one another? The truth is that we can all succeed. And while our businesses must earn money to remain open, profitability should not be the only factor. Businesses that have a cause are much more likely to be sustainable.
So what type of business do you want to support? For me the answer is simple, I want to support businesses that are socially conscious. It just makes sense to me. And as a business owner, I know that it may cost time and money to support my causes, however, the return on investment far outweighs the cost. In fact, I have found that most people prefer to do business with organizations that care – the ones that have good intentions. It makes them feel good to help support not only the business, but the cause too.
If you are running a business or considering opening a business, what is your “why”? While earning profit is one ingredient in a successful business, creating a business that is socially conscious makes “cents” in many ways. Being socially conscious brings out the best of people. Together, we can make this world a better place.