If you think that Mark Cuban and the Dalai Lama have very little common, you’re probably right. However, they DO exist on the same continuum between altruistic motives and profit motives (they’re just on opposite ends). However, smart companies know that the sweet spot lies right in the middle…
The mantra for my company has long been, “Do Good, Make Money”. In 4 words that encapsulates our goals, our mission, our vision and our purpose. A successful business cannot have one without the other. This is a revolutionary change that started less than 24 months ago. A look at what sold/mattered most in past decades:
The next decade will be all about Sustainability/CleanTech/Planet. We’re already witnessing a sea change in the way ‘big corporate’ (Fortune 1000) talks about sustainability. It’s on their radar because of 2 pressures:
Upward pressure from stockholders, customers, media to go green. Downward pressure internally to cut expenses/save jobs.
It’s a perfect storm of obligation for big corporate. More people become aware of ‘green’ issues due to media attention. These same people demand more sustainable answers/solutions from big corporate. Big corporate responds, thus creating more media attention. Rinse and repeat. The tipping point has been reached and it has forced big corporate to react.
This perfect storm of obligation is a perfect sea of opportunity for small/med sized businesses. I call these guys ‘quick corporate’ because decisions can be made faster and they are more nimble. Quick corporate can seize the opportunity of sustainability and become a market leader in their industry in little time.
For example, In The Now Investments is a real estate investment company that started 2 years ago. It’s run by Shanan and Ryan Burk, a husband and wife team out of Irvine, California. They purchase dilapidated foreclosed homes, fix them up, get them rented and sell to investors as rental income property. Over the last 14 months, they’ve done over 90 deals. They recently hired me to be their Chief Green Officer to develop a green business strategy and green up the properties they purchase. We’ve been working together for 6 months and they’ve quickly become the market leader in their space. By becoming a ‘green’ real estate investment company, doors have opened for them that would not have otherwise. They’ve gained new partnerships, new clients, free press, and created new streams of revenue for their business. All of this is happening because they’ve seized the opportunity that sustainability offers to quick corporate.
In regards to the illustration above, the key is to operate your business in the sweet spot of doing good and making money. It’s crucial to not only pursue both but to let your prospects, vendors, customers, community, media, etc. know that you actively pursue both. A nice ancillary (or major depending on your perspective) benefit of this is that the more good you do, the more money you make, which allows you to do more good and make even more money.
That is good for you, good for business and good for the planet.