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How to Do Good AND Make a Profit

How to Do Good AND Make a Profit

How to do Good AND Make a Profit

    With the world economic and business outlook still so uncertain, a key question is just how the businesses world can continue to do good as well as maintain their bottom line.

    Over the last few years, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become such a buzz word for business people with companies sprouting all sorts of CSR initiatives, but are companies really embracing CSR because they believe in it or are they in it for entirely selfish reasons?

    Are they really acting out of some kind of moral duty or is the reality still that they only care about the bottom line?

    In simpler terms, CSR means “doing the right thing”. A company’s commitment to CSR therefore implies ethical conduct and a moral sense of what is right and what is wrong, and it should aim to eliminate or minimise any negative impact of its business activities.

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      With the unscrupulous behaviour of the major banks over the last few years which has led to the current worldwide economic downturn, never before has it  been so pertinent that business people are seen to be doing the right thing.

      Even President Obama has been urging businesses to do the right thing and become socially responsible. His approach and vision is refreshing from all that has gone before us for so long.

      So the business person today faces a major dilemma. Whereas on the one hand, his or her company has to minimise the negative impact of its business activities on the environment, employees, suppliers, customers and the wider community, on the other hand it is only by maximising the company’s return can all these stakeholder groups be served adequately.

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      What is Personal Social Responsibility?

      The pre-requisite for understanding and accepting the need for CSR and subsequently implementing it successfully is the concept of Personal Social Responsibility (PSR).

      PSR is all about doing to others what you would like others do to you. It is about recognising how your behaviour affects others, and holding yourself accountable for your actions. It is about being in integrity and doing the right thing for the right moral reasons.
      The key question to ask is how can we as individuals and businesses improve the world?

      Ideally a PSR aware person will:-

      1. Always endeavour to have a positive effect on others.
      2. Have a mind set to contribute.
      3. Refrain from causing negativity in his environment e.g. by throwing litter on the ground, or by gossiping.
      4. His social and economic activities will have a positive or neutral impact on the environment.

      However the real challenge the world faces today is for people at the top of the business world to do the “right” thing for themselves, their children and the world.

      Increasingly more and more companies must wake up to their responsibilities to the environment, the larger community and the global implications of their activities.

      Create your own PSR vision and journey

      Clearly the business debate is no longer about whether a company should make a substantial commitment to CSR but just how? Business people really do have to get their CSR act together and actually start doing stuff.

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      So where do you begin? Start by firstly becoming aware of the concept of PSR. By coming from a place of being socially responsible for all your actions, you will immediately begin to think differently. And that will form a solid foundation for understanding and developing CSR in your business.

      Remember that PSR is more than just merely recycling paper or giving out money to your chosen charity. It is all about taking a firm stand and making a commitment towards giving back to society and at the same time ensuring the long term viability and profitability of your business.

      To get you started, my PSR vision is that as individuals we always do the best for us and the people in our lives, and at the same time our businesses endeavour to do the best for the world at large.

      Reach your own PSR vision by spending some time and answering the following questions. These questions will help you to develop your own understanding of PSR and CSR and ultimately create a plan of action that suits you and your business:-

      1. How will the world be a better place because you have lived?

      2. How will the world and future generations benefit from your company’s activities?

      3. What legacy are you leaving behind through your work?

      4. What would you like to be said about you after you die? And about your work?

      5. If you only had six months to live, how would you spend some of that time making a difference in the world? In which area would you create the most urgency and why?

      6. What does Corporate Social Responsibility mean to you? What does it mean to your company / business?

      7. Do you believe that you and your business have a moral duty to respond to world problems? Why? What’s the ideal response to the various problems?

      8. Can companies be socially responsible and be profitable at the same time? What level of profits is acceptable to you and why?

      9. What do you think about this statement – “Responsible business should be about profit making, not profiteering?” Why?

      10. What positive lessons can you learn from businesses that you think have a social conscience? What do you really like about the ethics of those businesses whose ethics you admire? What can you learn from them to apply in your own business?

      11. If your children asked you if your business was ethical in all its activities, would you be able to look them in the eye and honestly say YES?! If NOT, what will it take for you to answer YES?

      12. What legacy is your business creating for the children of tomorrow? Socially? Ethically? Environmentally?

      13. What do you NOT want your business to continue doing?

      14. If there was one thing you could change about your business and its ethics policy, what would it be? When will you make this change?

      15. What is really stopping you and your business from being more socially responsible? What will you do next?

      16. Having been on this short journey of discovering Personal Social Responsibility, how will you now live your life differently?

      17. In what ways will you apply Personal Social Responsibility in your life from now on?

      So begin today on your journey through this exciting, challenging and ultimately fulfilling world of business ethics, social responsibility and sustainability.

      Make your life and your actions count from today.

      Make it happen! Good luck and enjoy your journey.

      Come from a place of being socially responsible – you owe it to our future generations. ~ Arvind Devalia

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      Last Updated on October 18, 2018

      10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

      10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

      When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

      Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

      People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

      These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

      1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

      Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

      To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

      Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

      When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

      Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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      2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

      Things go wrong when you run your own business.

      Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

      Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

      Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

      Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

      If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

      3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

      Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

      As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

      Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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      After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

      Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

      He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

      4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

      No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

      It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

      You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

      Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

      An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

      5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

      You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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      As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

      Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

      Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

      You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

      6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

      In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

      Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

      • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
      • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
      • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

      By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

      7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

      Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

      As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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      8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

      No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

      Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

      9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

      Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

      If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

      10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

      Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

      Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

      If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

      The Bottom Line

      Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

      Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

      Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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