When it comes to starting a business, having a social conscience might be low on your list of considerations. But, while you’re juggling employees and sales targets don’t let it fall too far in your priorities. The social conscience of a business is a reflection of how your business works on the inside and out – it mirrors the values, the vision, and the goals you have for your business so building your firm on a strong social conscience will serve you well.
But do businesses really need to have a social conscience? No, in truth, it’s not a ‘need’ thing. After all, perhaps your view of business is focused on profit and providing employment and that’s where it stops? And truly that may be enough for some businesses but evidence shows that organisations with a solid social conscience have consistently performed better in recent years of trading and here are some reasons why.
Start with community
Businesses are made of people. And people form the communities that in turn support businesses. No business can exist in isolation so embarking on a business without taking into consideration your impact in the community and how you are viewed by the very people you need to success would be ill advised.
No moral vacuum
The success of any business is permitted by the employees and the customers that buy into it. The lives of those individuals are impacted by the social and moral decisions of governments, financial institutions, and businesses. Having this is mind there is no way to avoid the moral questions that arise when any business integrates with partners, communities, and suppliers. The decisions and goals that a business works towards can be extremely powerful both in the positive and the negative so making the correct plans around these is vital.
Get what you give
Businesses who integrate with their customers and communities in a socially conscious way build invaluable trust and loyalty all around. A business who invests in their people, who gives back to important causes and who is committed to building a stronger, fairer community will outshine any competitor.
It has been widely recognised that socially responsible businesses often have a far more engaged and motivated work force. Those businesses who reinvest in their employee’s education and progress, who commit to fundraising for causes that are important to their team, and who give back to the community, are shown to have a positive impact on employee moral which in turn increases productivity and staff retention.
Businesses with a high level of social integration and a successful social responsibility programme are shown to rise higher in the market than companies without. At the outset of business, success can often be defined by market share and bottom line but over time customers choose loyalty and brand values over a business who shows little to no social conscience. As markets and the economy become increasing underpinned by ecological concerns, the importance of labour conditions and the moral compass of a company, a business built around these core values will naturally have a competitive edge.
How to be socially conscious in practice?
So how do you integrate a social conscience into your every day business activities? What are the ways in which you can show community commitment and demonstrate your core values to your customer?
Social conscience can show up in various ways. It’s important to spend some time identifying your business value and goals and then translating them into a clear set of social responsibility goals. What could you do that would align with the business values overall? Talk to your employees, make sure you understand what is important to them and bring them on-board through extra training in order to properly roll out your plans.
Objectives could include:
A percentage donation of profits to charity. Establishing a relationship with a charity whose objectives align with those of your business could work best. Or working with charities that are important to your employees is another route.
Allocate certain times of the year for fundraising efforts. Ask your team what they’d like to do and makes sure everyone is motivated to participate fully.
Focus on the continued education of your team. Offering help for further education, continued professional development or any kind of further training is a means of giving back to your team who in turn will be able to offer more to your customer and your community.
Volunteer your services to your local community. Set aside a certain number of products or hours of service provision and offer them freely to community groups or individuals who would most benefit.
Examine your business processes and relationships from top to toe. Are there changes you could make to run a more environmental business? To cut down on waste or minimise your carbon footprint? Are you confident that labour conditions are being respected throughout all sectors of your business, no matter what level of partnership it might be at? Making small changes at various levels of your business can make a significant impact overall.
Whether you are in the launch or build phase of your organisation, getting to grips with the social impact of your business is foolish to ignore. Establishing robust plans around the values and objectives you want to pursue in the long term sense will set your business up well for not only launch and growth but, for sustained success.
Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch . Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.