As a small business owner, you may feel powerless in your ability to enact positive, far-reaching change. After all, corporations like Microsoft and Walmart have millions of dollars at their disposal and teams of highly educated planners ready to initiate projects that have measurable impacts on people’s lives. What could you possibly do with your small business? The answer will surprise you.
Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, first emerged in the 1960s as a response to the burgeoning cultural movements that challenged social and economic norms. Many of the rights we currently take for granted trace their roots to the countercultural protest movements of this decade. CSR has become synonymous with corporate ethics and despite being originally a fully self-regulated mandate, over the past decade corporate social responsibility has moved considerably from voluntary decisions at the level of individual organizations, to mandatory programs at regional, national and even transnational levels.
Align Your Business with Your Values
As an entrepreneur your business is an extension of yourself. Your values, beliefs, ethics and passion infuse all that you do, reflecting your ethos to both your customers and wider community. This is why it is tremendously important to align your business with your personal values. Take a moment and reflect on whether your small business emulates your own moral beliefs. If you strongly believe in environmental preservation, do you actively recycle and source sustainable supplies? If community is important to you, do you provide mentorship programs for youth and encourage your employees to give back? By aligning your businesses with your values, you have the opportunity to create change in your local community.
Highlight an Important Issue
You don’t have to look far to find a social problem in need of attention. Do you feel strongly about an issue that lacks public awareness or where change has been slow? Educate yourself about the issue and use your business as a platform to raise awareness. By aligning yourself with a cause that is important to you and your employees, you can enact positive change and raise your company’s profile in your community.
Transformative change also necessitates the development of a long-term strategy. Your business plan should possess a section detailing your chosen issue and how you plan on utilizing your available resources. Creating annual impact reports is an excellent way to measure the positive effects of your work. They also allow you to earnestly take stock of your efforts and plan accordingly for the next year. You may need to adjust your business plan and incorporate impact business models into the structure of your company.
Strive to Become a B Corporation
B Corporation certification is a private credential issued to for-profit companies by B Lab, a global nonprofit organization that believes we should be measuring what matters most: the ability of a business to not only generate returns, but also to create value for its customers, employees, community and the environment. As of June 2019, there were over 2,750 certified B Corporations in 64 countries.
To be granted certification, companies must receive a minimum score on an online B Impact Assessment for social and environmental performance. B Lab is transforming our understanding of for-profit companies. No longer must profits and social responsibility be mutually exclusive pursuits. Thanks to their impact assessment tool, you can easily measure the impact of your work and strive to transform your company into an elite B Corporation.
Invest in Local People
Does your business truly invest in people? Hiring the right team members is crucial to the success of your business, but are you making an effort to invest in your employees? Besides providing much needed incomes for local members of your community, your employees deserve opportunities to better themselves and advance their skills. Many companies are embracing this idea and provide ongoing education and training throughout their employees’ tenure. These efforts can be combined with volunteer opportunities where your business shares it expertise and knowledge with not-for-profit community partners. Investing in people helps build strong, resilient communities, and when an employee does decide to seek opportunities outside your company, who knows what meaningful change they will bring about in their new position thanks to your investment in them.
SolidTrust Pay’s Sharing Philosophy
We believe that sharing should be integral to a company’s core values. That’s why a sharing philosophy lies at the heart of our mission statement. Every year, we dedicate a portion of our revenue to charitable giving, both near and far. Currently, we support UNICEF, the Canadian Red Cross, the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, Smile Train, World Vision Canada and the Fistula Foundation. We also assist our own members, providing monetary support to those in need. Read our Mission Statement to learn more.