What if I told you that, as entrepreneurs, we have forgotten who we actually start businesses for? Or that we have replaced an ethical, moral foundation with greediness and selfishness. Well there, I told you.
With a reported 61% satisfaction rating, the monopolized giant, Time Warner Cable, ranks as one of the worst customer service companies in the United States. Secret usage caps, rapidly increasing rates, and lawfully fraudulent business practices have undoubtedly dominated the cable provider industry, and Time Warner Cable proves to be no exception.
But what if I told you that entrepreneurs, like those behind Time Warner Cable, have recently reinvented themselves?
And what if I told you, that regardless of how entitled, lazy or coddled millennials are (that’s me — the millennial part… not the other stuff), that my generation is helping redefine both capitalism and entrepreneurship?
Dale Partridge, an entrepreneurial pioneer (watch him at TEDxBend), founded Sevenly.org with a radical goal: donate $7 of each purchase to a different charity, each week. In truth, selling Sevenly’s somewhat average apparel is not the focus— Dale realized that if he built an organization that people would fall in love with, Sevenly wouldn’t have to sell a thing.
Sevenly began with their employees: somehow, someway, Dale and Sevenly proved to their team that “people matter,” and that philosophy actually included their employees, too. Sevenly wove an empowering, appreciative culture into its DNA, and Dale published his successes and findings in his latest, must read book, People Over Profit.
Everyone has encountered an unfriendly fast-food employee… but why? Why does it seem that all drive-thru workers are so rude? Because they don’t ‘matter.’ They know their employer doesn’t give a damn about them. Dale Partridge is not just an employer — he is a social entrepreneur.
Social entrepreneurs give a damn. Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote has said, “There’s lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world.” America needs more businesses that are good, rather than businesses who simply do good, and it starts with a culture designed for employees — be the business upon a hill.
Okay, okay Jagger, get to the point.
You cannot build a brick building with Legos (no offense, Lego — I loved you guys as a kid, but I am trying to make a point), meaning that you cannot build a generous and prosperous company without being generous and benevolent to those who represent it. Wild success and conscious capitalism are not an impossible duo — see State Farm, TOMS, or Warby Parker — but it all derives from a positive, prosperous culture built on a solid foundation of morals and ethics. Go beyond the profit.
Mark Cuban is not wrong, “there has never been a business that has succeeded without sales.” Yes, this is true. But today, every process is streamlined, efficient, and often automatic — shouldn’t your sales strategy be, also? Like Dale Partridge, i would never suggest valuing people instead of profit, however, valuing people over profit will actually make your organization more profitable; start with your employees and construct a business that is right-swipe worthy, and your sales will drive themselves.