Doing well is hard enough for most entrepreneurs. How on earth are they supposed to make their business a force for good, too? Six altruistic members of The Oracles share how you can make the world a better place while building a wildly successful company for profit.
1. Start today, no matter what
The best advice is: start today, start right now! Many business owners think that corporate philanthropy is something that happens down the road. The reality is, anyone can make their company a force for good–whether you’re one person working out of your garage, a well-funded late stage startup, or an established brand.
At Salesforce, we baked corporate philanthropy into our ideals when we founded the company more than 18 years ago. We believe that all companies can make a big difference and the only thing you need is a desire to do it. If you're just getting started, do one thing and get very focused on it. Think about the core competencies of your business and start from there.
If you're a small organization and just getting started, adopting a local public school is a great place to start. Our CEO, Marc Benioff, believes that everyone can adopt their local K-12 school and ask the principal, teachers, and kids how they can help. Being a force for good isn't only about money. Volunteering at a school is a great way to have a big impact on your community.
Also, think about ways to reduce your environmental footprint. It can be as basic as ensuring there are enough recycling bins in your office space or switching over to a SaaS (software as a service) platform that will reduce on-site energy consumption. Another easy thing to do is to reconsider your hiring practices. How much consideration are you giving to diversity when it comes to hiring or gender equality when it comes to salaries? What about hiring a veteran?
There are many ways to give back. It's incredibly important to assign an owner to each of these efforts'Š'”'Šsomeone who will be responsible for it. Maybe you only commit to one project a year, but give that project a name and an owner. Go all in!
2. Do right by your community, even if they don't buy from you
I run a real estate coaching business, and the reputation of the real estate industry is only a step above used car sales. In today's era of automation and technological advances, consumers simply won't accept the broken real estate experience.
I'm all about providing education and tools to real estate agents who may or may not ever become a client. We provide free content to the real estate community as a whole: how-to videos, blogs and my regular #TomFerryShow episodes on YouTube. It's all in the name of creating a new, stronger generation of real estate experts.