Scale or fail: 4 ways to run a successful business with social impact

Scale or fail: 4 ways to run a successful business with social impact

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One of the first lessons I learned as the founder and CEO of Truly Free is that having good intentions does not guarantee success. Years ago, when we were a startup, it was in my mind that all I needed to be successful was an adamant vision to have a positive social impact, a must-have product, not a nice product to have, and an easy to use website. Reality quickly dispelled that idea.

Anyone new to e-commerce quickly learns that having a website doesn’t mean that website traffic just appears. Basic logistics, however, forced us to rethink everything: The cost to ship our natural laundry detergent cost as much as the product itself.

We are back to the beginning. This didn’t mean simply finding a solution to the immediate problem, although that was central to our effort. We started with the main goal of our business: to provide a safe product for families, especially children and those who have specific allergic reactions from harsh chemicals and ingredients. The result has been that we have completely reimagined the modern laundry and the way we do business.

Four key elements emerged as we transformed our business into a successful social impact brand. These critical components required more than good intentions and a website, but the journey and more importantly the results generated a positive social impact far beyond our original vision. Here are four ways impactful companies can increase their brand’s purpose and profits

Related: How to know when to give up, when to pivot, and when to persist

1. Make relationship building a core skill

For us, customers are family. This approach is more than just a way of thinking – it’s the way we do business.

With each decision, we challenge ourselves to consider whether we would do it for our family. Would we want our family to use a product with these ingredients? Would this offer or price be right and something we would recommend to our families?

Every detail matters. Attention to detail can be a timeworn idea. However, when customers actually witness the care and energy put into every detail, from their website experience to the ingredients list on the product, they begin to see your company not only for the products you generate, but also for the the values ​​and mission you create. they are putting into the world. These efforts translate into genuine transparency and trust, the basis for a solid and lasting relationship.

For example, we put every ingredient into the products, so our customers can research for themselves. Based on customer feedback, he has played an important role in building the long-term relationships we aim to establish with them.

Relationship building may be a one-sided initiative, but it goes a long way with every client. We understand that transactions pay the bills, but our experience shows that relationships build businesses.

2. Connect humans to humans

Our non-toxic fabric softener dryer sheets are handmade by women rescued from poverty and trafficking. Our customers know this and are in tune with it. Our clients also know that the money they spend with us is used to help free women and children from trafficking, shelter and feed orphans, and even a village in Haiti that is hard of hearing.

It is a priority for us that our customers know the power of their purchase and how it positively affects the lives of other people.

Transparency combined with purpose makes good business. Amplifying the human element of your business early on can quickly communicate your mission statement and strengthen your position as a social impact company.

3. Prioritize convenience

Everyone is busy. We don’t want problems, and neither do our customers. We may have the best of intentions, but people won’t subscribe to our offers if it’s difficult to do business with us.

Brands must always prioritize convenience for every customer interaction. For example, as a subscription-based e-commerce business, we thrive on subscriptions. If brands can make a customer’s life easier by automating an offer, such as a subscription and save model, they should integrate it into their website, promotions and upsells. At the same time, we also recognize that a new customer may not be ready to make a recurring engagement after their first brand interaction. To ensure you present options that familiarize potential new subscribers with the brand, companies should offer a way to purchase single transactions at checkout and an attractive offer or package that further entices them to try the subscription and save money with no obligations.

At first, some brands might think that this model cuts subscriptions when it results in an “appointment” opportunity, where a new customer can get to know the brand without the full commitment upfront. As a result, and if done correctly, your subscription base will likely continue to grow.

By prioritizing convenience in every customer interaction, you have the ability to reduce friction and ultimately meet the specific and situational needs of each existing and potential customer.

Related: 4 tips to improve convenience for consumers

4. Reinvent the business model

As noted at the outset, logistics has forced us to reinvent our business model for the better. Shipping laundry detergent costs as much as the product itself. Our original plan was a surefire way to quickly shut down the business.

What was the problem? Weight. What could be done about it? This question challenged us to approach laundry detergents in a whole new way.

Water makes up most of the detergent. Removing the water would solve the problem and help us achieve our mission of eliminating millions of single-use plastics. This solution has led us to pioneer a whole new vision of the cleaning and laundry space for homes. Today we sell refills, not giant plastic bottles that end up in landfills.

Business doesn’t have to be business as usual. A closer look at operational challenges offers opportunities to completely rethink product development. And when you take a close look at the details, you can completely reinvent the direction of your business for the better.

Related: 8 ways to gear your business to kickstart growth

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