One of the key reason’s why I wanted to set up my business was to run it in line with my values and beliefs. I had ideas on the way I wanted to work with clients and the wider community which I just couldn’t put into practice in a large organisation where ‘Time was Money’.
I’m sure many of us have ideas on what we’d like to do better, but the need to earn a living often means such ideas end up at the bottom of our ‘To Do Lists’.
Craker Business Solutions has been trading for 9 months, and as any new business knows, time is very precious. That being said I wanted to share my progress in meeting 2 of my Ethical and Environmental Policies:
5. To engage with the wider community to raise awareness of ethical and environmental issues facing businesses and communities and to promote ethical and environmental causes.
6. To engage with the wider community to raise awareness of the role of financial management in helping a business to meet its aim and to raise awareness in younger generations of the importance of financial management and careers in finance.
Here are some of the ways I’ve worked towards these goals:
- I’ve attended and participated in various conferences, seminars, and community group meetings which work to provide solutions to the environmental issues we all face. For example, I’ve attended various Transition Town meetings and am currently working with the Energy Group to help set up the Annual Eco Energy Fair – you’ll see me on the door selling tickets on the 23rd October.
- I use this blog and my tweets to promote and spread awareness of various environmental and social causes. I also use it to share my experiences of those I have worked with, be it a great environmentally sound supplier or a group who is helping to make the world a better place. I had a HUGE smile on my face the day I heard people had read my Website Hosting blog and actually switched their host to a more environmentally friendly alternative.
- Whether working with clients, out meeting local businesses or community groups when I talk about my business I talk about the key driving principle to ensure that what I do has a positive impact on the environment and community in which I operate. Whilst trying not to preach – it’s all about lots of little steps in a positive direction!
- I also attempt to dismiss the perception that accounting equates to a once a year process to produce accounts for Companies House and submit a tax return. It is about generating useful information throughout the year which a business can use to make decisions. Financial records should not be a burden but a tool.
- I’ve recently joined the Business Community Partnership (BCP) – a fantastic organisation working to link those in business and the Third sector. Among other things, they act as a broker to match those with skills in business to Third sector organisations. I’m looking forward to my first partnership.
- I’ve also signed up to the BCP Mentoring programme, and have been on training this month so I can mentor people on their journey back into employment.
- I’ve been looking for a partner to help me pass on my experiences to younger generations, and I have met with an organisation which I’m hoping might lead to exciting opportunities to work with school children – watch this space for developments!
I probably could say that if I hadn’t been spending time on some of the areas above, I could have been using that time to pursue money making opportunities. But for me business is not all about money. I think it’s important to enjoy what you do and a ‘job’ that enables me to work in line with my values and beliefs is worth more than a few extra pounds in the bank.
I am also certain that by doing what I believe in, I have opened up doors to exciting opportunities both money making and pure fun!
One such opportunity came from a chance meeting at a conference on Coops as part of Cooperatives Fortnight. From that chance meeting I have now started working with the Brighton Energy Coop whose members will be working towards creating renewable energy in the Brighton and Hove area. I have already learned a great deal about renewable energy from working with the fantastic people there and you’ll be hearing more from me about renewable energy.
If you are thinking about what your business can do to follow your values and beliefs, firstly I’d recommend writing down what those values are, and secondly to focus on just a few things at a time. There are so many worthy and exciting opportunities out there to get involved in so take time to find the right ones for you. As a small business owner or employee you have a direct ability to make changes in the way your business operates. I assure you that you will get out more than you put in.
I challenge you to help break the divide between ‘social enterprise’ and ‘business’ – surely they needn’t be mutually exclusive?