Making a living is one thing — making a positive difference in the world is another. Or is it? More and more often, today’s entrepreneurs are finding ways to make a positive impact on society through their business. Sure, they’re still working hard to make sales, but at the same time, they’re focused on something bigger than themselves.
While addressing poverty in your local community or trying to save the planet are certainly worthy causes, these are far from the only ways you can make a positive difference with your business. In fact, the way you do business could have just as much of a positive impact as any charitable efforts.
Your Business (Ethically) Does What It Claims
Practice what you preach. It may be a phrase you’ve heard so often that it’s become cliche, but it is the foundation for any business looking to make a positive difference. As an entrepreneur, it means that every claim you make — whether on your website or in a sales call — is going to be fulfilled. You don’t promise clients things you can’t actually accomplish. You’re honest and upfront about your capabilities and your limitations.
It also means you’re not going to cut corners in an attempt to deliver on your claims. Such tactics may help you make deadlines or finish projects in the short term, but they’ll lead to disaster in the long run.
The foundation for this ethical approach to business is dedication to your craft. Those who are truly dedicated to what they do don’t even consider the possibility of not delivering on a claim. Such a failure is out of the question. They will do everything in their power to ethically deliver the results that have been promised, and take accountability when they fall short.
Your Business Lifts Others Up, Regardless Of Who They Are
When I say “regardless of who they are,” I mean it! Your business should truly lift everybody who comes in contact with it — prospects, paying clients, employees or contractors and even competitors.
If a person comes into contact with you and your business, they should leave better off than they were than when they first arrived. Even if they don’t purchase your services, perhaps they learned some valuable information that will help them in another area. More often than not, these efforts to be genuinely helpful to everyone will pay big dividends later on.
This became apparent in a recent email conversation with Alexy Goldstein, founder and CEO of New U Life. He explained, “When you’re trying to lift everyone, you will find natural and surprising ways of expanding your target audience. With my company, we initially had a very narrow, niche target audience. But dedication to our craft helped us see that there was great potential with a broader customer base.”
Goldstein continued, “We realized that what we had to offer was something that could help those outside of our initial niche. No matter who you currently do business with, you should take the mentality of trying to lift everyone you come in contact with. You never know what opportunities might present themselves.”
Your Business Readily Gives More Than It Takes
The traditional corporate world tends to come across as secretive. You know, CEOs huddled up in their skyscrapers, desperately hiding any information that might help their competitors gain an inch of market share. Difference-making entrepreneurs take the opposite approach. As opposed to keeping secrets, you share what you know.
After all, knowledge is power. As an expert in your niche, you’re armed with plenty of it. Those who want to make a positive impact are willing to share what they know to benefit others — even if they don’t end up doing business with you.
This ties back into the second point of trying to lift everyone who comes into contact with your business. Ultimately, such moves are going to be a win-win. Yes, you’re helping others, but you’re also building an impressive personal brand.
For one thing, you’ll come to be appreciated as a true expert in your niche. This is going to get you referrals from people who recognize your value and help you land higher-paying clients. It could even help you get more publicity for who you are and what you do!
As it turns out, when you willingly give knowledge rather than hoard secrets, you’re going to receive even more in return.
Is It Time For A Tune-Up?
Nobody’s perfect — and that includes in how you’re trying to make a positive impact with your business. Take a step back and evaluate where you are.
Are you living up to your claims and helping to lift everyone who comes in contact with your business? Self-evaluation can help you identify where you are falling short so you can make a plan to bring about the changes you want to see.
Once you’ve identified those needed changes, don’t wait around. Positive change doesn’t happen by accident! Get moving right away so you can start making a difference that much sooner. Just remember to be patient with yourself. Change takes time, but it’s almost always worth it — especially when it’s focused on increasing your capacity for making a positive difference.