– Choosing compostable paper bags over plastic packaging in your store.
– Offering fresh leftovers to the less-privileged living close to your eatery.
– Free haircuts every weekend for neighborhood kids whose parents can’t afford salon fees.
– Scaling your brand by cutting down on some less critical divisions in favor of affordability.
– Hiring well-vetted ex-convicts in your establishment.
The list goes on and on.
Beyond a pure profit-driven era and in an ideal world, the social impact of a business is just as critical to its overall success as the economic impact. Your business should be held to the moral responsibility of contributing to positive efforts, on any scale, against social injustice and other challenges faced by its host community. Contrary to the general misconception, social impact isn’t just about philanthropy.
“Social impact is tangibly improving the health and wellbeing of other people in society,” says Durell Coleman, an American entrepreneur, social impact consultant, multi-niched engineer, and Stanford lecturer. “The challenge in the definition is that a lot of things can appear to mimic this impact. However, the parameters for measurements are questions such as – who are the people who have some of the biggest health and wellbeing challenges? Are we making things easier for them? Are we creating things that are improving outcomes for them? As a social impact strategist, I think of who’s not being designed for and who’s not being served. Who’s left out of the systems that we currently have? This is how improvements are effected.”
Coleman is the founder and CEO of DC Design, a leading Black-owned social impact consulting firm and strategy development brand headquartered in San Francisco. With many years of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and governments, Coleman has developed countless long-lasting community-centered strategies for directly impacting lives where it actually matters. He shares some thoughts on how social impact can be incorporated into everyday businesses on any feasible scale.
Social impact as part of your core business plan
One year. Five years. Twenty years.
It doesn’t exactly matter how long your business has existed. At any point in your growth trajectory, quality change can be envisioned. Cost-effective or non-cost strategies can be developed to scale your business up to an establishment making positive and genuinely helpful impacts on society. You’d have to identify what area of community or society you’d like to touch directly. For example, do you want to include more affordable options in your product list to tend to lower-income families, or would you like to include a free delivery option to nearby neighborhoods?
“Start with the people you want to serve,” Coleman says. “Not simply thinking about what’s needed to create change, but talking to them directly about what their experiences have been like in confronting the problem you hope to solve. If you want to affect homelessness, talk to the homeless. If you want to affect Black wealth inequality, talk to low-income Black people. If your work is about reducing mass incarceration, talk to those who are or have been incarcerated. They understand where the system failed them, where they could have chosen differently, and what your priorities should be.”
A combination of these insights is then applied to come up with solid approaches and viable strategies for creating directly visible impact. The result is the elevation of these social challenges as these ideas are solidified into long-term sustainable solutions.
Inclusivity against all forms of inequality
Escapism and denial about the social injustices thriving in the world, especially in the United States, would only hurt society in the long run.
“Inequality affects people across every demographic, spanning through parameters such as race where Black and brown people are undeniably affected by ongoing social injustice,” says Coleman, who runs Design the Future, a flagship program teaching high school kids to design products and apps for people with disabilities. “Other factors are gender, where women still battle career biases and representation; income levels, where lower income earners are often confined to lower quality schools, healthcare, and services; rap sheets as ex-convicts re-enter society with little hope for survival; and post-employment care, where war veterans are left to fend for themselves with inadequate assistance from the government.”
A business or brand seeking to make a real social impact must embrace the obligations of equality of inclusion in its range of services.
Tech firms can hire just as many males as females, cosmetics brands can include more dark skin tones in their product array to serve people of every color, fashion brands can supply plus-sized clothing at the same prices as other sizes, clinics can offer free therapy to war veterans, real estate agents can offer lower service percentages to the less-privileged, and more businesses can give formerly incarcerated people a chance.
Be kind to your labor force
A business can make all the social impact in the world but it would all be for nothing if the employees or hired labor, the actual driving force of the enterprise, are unhappy and uncared for. Social impact starts from the immediate environment and broadens out toward larger society.
In conclusion, Coleman describes his personal approach to employee wellness.
“Henry Ford had it right. He paid his people enough so that they could hopefully buy the cars that they were producing, and it all worked out,” he says. “I run a for-profit social impact business. I have to be efficient and I have to make enough money to support my people, my employees. I try to bring in the best employees possible. I try to give them health care. I want to make sure that they have everything that they need to thrive in their own lives.”
From Pocket Change to Power Player: The Strategic Ascendancy of Yvenson Israel
Yvenson Israel’s entrepreneurial saga is a gripping narrative of resilience, strategic foresight, and triumph against the odds. Emerging from humble beginnings with only a few dollars to his name, Yvenson, affectionately known as Vince in entrepreneurial circles, has orchestrated a remarkable journey to become a titan of industry.
Raised in a single-parent household, Vince assumed the mantle of responsibility at a young age, driven by the desire to provide for his family. However, he soon realized that traditional paths to success were fraught with limitations. With unwavering determination and an innate understanding of the power of ownership, Vince embarked on a daring quest for financial independence.
The pivotal moment in Vince’s journey came when he ventured into the world of Business Consulting. Recognizing the seismic shifts in the digital landscape, particularly the burgeoning dominance of Amazon and the exponential growth of the ecommerce sector, Vince strategically positioned himself at the forefront of this revolution. His vision? To harness the limitless potential of the digital realm and carve out a path to entrepreneurial eminence.
Over the course of several years, Vince meticulously cultivated his consulting enterprise, transforming it from a modest venture into a powerhouse operation with a global footprint. With a keen eye for talent and a knack for strategic scaling, he assembled a team of like-minded individuals who shared his passion for innovation and excellence. Together, they propelled the business to unprecedented heights, with monthly revenues soaring into the millions.
However, Vince’s journey was not without its challenges. Faced with adversity and setbacks, he remained steadfast in his resolve, drawing inspiration from his humble beginnings and unwavering belief in the power of entrepreneurship. Each obstacle became an opportunity for growth, fueling Vince’s relentless pursuit of success.
At the heart of Vince’s triumph lies his mastery of the Amazon platform. What began as a supplementary income stream during his college years blossomed into a thriving enterprise, catapulting Vince into the spotlight as a leading authority in the world of ecommerce. Through his guidance and mentorship, he has empowered countless individuals and businesses to achieve unprecedented success on the Amazon marketplace, cementing his legacy as a pioneer and trailblazer in the field.
In essence, Yvenson Israel’s story is a testament to the transformative power of entrepreneurship. It is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to dream. From pocket change to power player, Yvenson Israel’s journey is a testament to the enduring legacy of vision, determination, and strategic brilliance.
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