You started your company because you are good at what you do – maybe even the best! You saw a financial opportunity to capitalise on that. As you progress down the Small Business growth pathway, chasing the dollar can’t remain your only objective. Businesses, both big and small, can have huge impacts on the environment, economy and society around them – and not always in a good way! Behaving unethically in the world in which you operate can have disastrous impacts on your brand. It is for this reason that you should be combining a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy within the very foundations of your business practices.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the idea that corporations have a responsibility to the world to do good. That they work ethical and responsible business practices into every aspect of their business model. While your small business might sometimes seem like the proverbial “island”, you are absolutely an integral part of your local community and are making impacts further than you might be able to see. Does putting profits above ethics seem like a smart business idea to you? You might need re-evaluate what you really know about growing a successful business in 2021. Forbes says that if your brand isn’t helping consumers feel like they are improving their environmental and social footprint when they buy from you, then you’re in danger of losing 88% of them!
To practice Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a company must vow to limit any adverse impacts it may have on society (including the environment and economy). It also needs to develop a philanthropic program aimed to offset these impacts if they do occur. CSR is self-regulatory by nature, meaning that it is up to the business to listen to feedback, observe their operations, and find ways to be more operationally responsible in order to live up to this agreement. A CSR policy will vary from business-to-business, but common tactics include:
– Supporting infrastructural developments in the local community
– Sponsoring youth education or vocational activities
– Donating resources
– Providing value to community groups / local councils
CSR may have typically been seen as something major corporations do. However small businesses also have the ability to enact real change as well. If your overall impact isn’t as great because you’re smaller, it doesn’t mean that things like recycling, cutting down on wasted materials and energy and giving back to the community can’t still make a big difference. In fact, smaller businesses helping locally can sometimes be more effective at creating real change than larger businesses!
CSR can have major benefits to a business itself, especially from a reputation and brand sentiment perspective. How your potential customers view you tends to improve if you’re a helpful and active part of your community. It’s not a stretch to say that giving back to society leaves a really positive impression on people!
As a business, adopting more sustainable practices can also help a you operate more effectively. For example, finding innovative ways to solve problems that are less harmful to the environment naturally reduce the amount of waste – hence reducing your overheads. A CSR policy may also lead to savings in the future. Initiatives like buying sustainable materials or switching to more efficient lighting may cost more in the short term, but these changes frequently pay for themselves in the long run as your running costs decrease. And with that, the improved efficiency, reduced waste, and greater customer and client loyalty help to increase your profit margin over time.
From a recruitment perspective, employees enjoy working for a company that isn’t actively harming the world! If you have built a company that makes people want to do the best they can at their jobs, you’re onto a good thing.
Basically – think of being responsible as an investment in your business’s long term success!
Doing good things makes more good things happen as a result. This is the positive ripple effect. If your business is actively working to help your community, you may just inspire those you’ve helped to pass that forward. We say it all the time at Oracle Tree – small businesses have the ability to enact real positive change! And whilst you might not be able to fix world hunger or end a war, being a responsible business owner means you can still make positive changes for the world at a grass roots level.
Oracle Tree helps businesses grow to become a force for good in the world. More than simply a marketing agency, we’re a partner that will help guide you in the right direction, keeping ideas like sustainability and responsibility in mind. We pride ourselves on partnering with companies that are as focused on growing their profits as they are on making real positive impacts in the world.
For us, we’ve made Corporate Social Responsibility part of our DNA. We work closely with charity groups like B1G1 and Zidisha to help underprivileged people in need find resources and training to improve their lives. This is all part of our Giving Back promise which you can read more about here. So, when you work with us, not only will you be helping yourself – you’ll be helping the world too!
What could you do if your business simply… worked?