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The Importance of Making Your Business Socially Responsible

Written by Andrew Morello
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You feel good when you do good. You look good when you do good as well. Your business could win more customers over while helping those in need through practicing social responsibility.

The role of an entrepreneur or small business in social responsibility should not be all about Public Relations (PR) and brand awareness. If you’re only helping people to market yourself, then you’re in it for the wrong reasons.

In this blog, we're going to discuss the importance of social responsibility in business, and why you should start thinking about how you can practice it too. If you’re a business owner who wants to give back to the community, this is for you.

If you want more in-depth training on running a successful business and helping those in need, The Entourage has some business training courses just for you.

What is social responsibility in a business?

Being socially responsible in a business begins with your business values. If you can align how you want your entire business to behave and project itself to the world, then your business as a whole can begin to live these values and be shown to live these values through your socially responsible practices, and more.

  • Social responsibility is having a code of ethics for your business and sticking to them.
  • It is having a health and safety program and an inclusive and accepting way of behaving.
  • It is choosing who you work with that matches your values and ethics.
  • It is committing to sustainable work processes and an environmentally positive stance.

Why is it important to make sure your business is socially responsible?

There are many good reasons to have a socially responsible business, and pretty much zero excuses to not have one.

  1. Increasing competition will put you and your business against others whose models will be very similar. If you can stand out from the crowd through something more than just products and services, then you might be able to win more customers.
  2. Socially responsible businesses usually have a more loyal customer base. They may price their items a little higher, but where that money goes can often sway a potential lead into a conversion.
  3. Having a good social track record can draw employees to your banner as well. You will have people working for you because they want to, rather than having to.
  4. Having a strong local presence boosts your brand. Be seen supporting your local community, and that community will often support you back.
  5. The relationships you build through social responsibility often will be able to go beyond mere business relationships. Your brand (personal and business) can have the opportunity to be known for something more significant than your products or services.
  6. You could educate your staff and your customers about global issues and become the authority on these issues.
  7. This authority can also be important for SEO reasons and brand recognition.

Examples of social responsibility within businesses

Finding social responsibility within businesses is becoming easier and more widely done. More companies are empowering consciousness and lifting their brand from a location, into a community, into the local consciousness.

We've included some examples below of some of the businesses in our network and around the world that are practicing some great, and varied, ways of social responsiblity.

StudioHawk

One of our partners at The Entourage, StudioHawk, is big on educating business owners on how to utilise SEO marketing for their business, empowering anyone who wants to learn. They do this in 2 main ways:

  1. SEO Meetups - This is a public group, free to join and free to attend. Based in Melbourne, it has 2150 members. They meet on the first Tuesday of every month for a catch-up and a networking opportunity to meet other people in the SEO space, trade stories, and talk about the latest update Google is throwing at the SEO world.
  2. Hawk Academy - A free to learn online SEO education toolkit. They have online videos to teach you the basics of SEO and plenty more, so if you want to, you can improve your Google rankings yourself without the need to hire an SEO agency.

    It also opens the world of SEO to many people. You get to learn the terminology, so when speaking with an agency, you’re not bamboozled with big words and complicated ideas. Knowledge is power, and StudioHawk is trying to give everyone knowledge.

If you are interested in hearing about their Founder, Harry Sander's journey from homeless to $4M award-winning agency owner, check out his episode on Australia's leading business podcast right here.

Bendigo Bank

The Bendigo Bank markets itself as the 5th Big Bank, and the Community Bank. They have three main social responsibility campaigns they promote on their website:

  1. Community Bank - They create jobs for local people and the profits from the bank get invested back into the local community. Each branch is owned by a local as well, so it remains a part of the community.
  2. Scholarships - Many scholarships are given to first-year TAFE students or those at an Australian university. Many are given out by the community branches themselves for students from that local area.
  3. Sponsorships - These can include sporting teams, but also events and locations can be sponsored as well.

OzHarvest

OzHarvest was founded by one of our close friends at The Entourage, Ronni Kahn AO, in 2004. She saw a massive amount of food going to waste from supermarkets and restaurants. She has since grown OzHarvest to be the biggest food rescue organisation in Australia.

There are 3 primary campaigns this socially responsible organisation is participating in:

  • Feed Hungry People - This is the driving force behind OzHarvest. Saving wasted food, taking in food donations from catering companies, supermarkets, and more, and providing healthy, nutritious food to those less fortunate and those who would likely go without a meal.
  • Fight Food Waste - They have a target to halve food waste by 2030. Fighting food waste starts in your kitchen through good habits. It can save you money and save the environment because food waste is responsible for 8-10% of global greenhouse gasses!
  • Education - Educating everyone on how to avoid food waste and use their food better is key to OzHarvet’s 2030 Fight Food Waste targets. FEAST is a school program for years 5 & 6 to teach healthy eating habits and reduce food wastage.

Want to hear exactly how Ronni is making it happen with OzHarvest and making a change locally in Sydney, and around the world? Check out her podcast episode on our podcast, The Make It Happen Show, here.

Thankyou

Thankyou is another one of The Entourage’s long-term friends and one of Australia's most successful social enterprises that use profits from the sale of its goods to help end world poverty. They want to change the consumer system so that what we spend money on can help real people who are living in poverty.

Ways they are helping to save the world:

  1. Chapter One - Written by Daniel Flynn, co-founder of Thankyou, this 'pay-what-you-want' book plots the enterprise’s beginnings and rise to prominence. It is inspirational and helps you overcome any blocks so you, too, can become a socially responsible entity.
  2. Coles & Woolworths - Both supermarkets declined to meet with Thankyou for 5 years. A campaign was created, where everyday people wrote to both supermarkets and urged them to get involved with Thankyou. Now, both companies stock Thankyou products and are part of the process of change.
  3. Impact - The Thankyou Charitable Trust grants money to partners to help change the world. These investments are helping to alleviate extreme poverty, close the funding gap and increase social enterprise in others.

See how Daniel and the Thankyou team are still making a massive impact on the world through unconventional strategies and methods to success on his episode with us on our business podcast here.

How can you make your business more socially responsible?

Now you know why it is a good idea to become socially responsible, and you’ve seen some great examples of what social responsibility can look like, how can you become socially responsible yourself?

  • Start internally - It’s a good idea to discuss with your staff any ideas for social responsibility. You can get some ideas about what issues are important to the team. Some of them might already be a part of the community. Empowering your staff to get involved is great for morale.
  • Create partnerships with other responsible businesses - find businesses that think and feel like you do. Combining the powers of social responsibility can do big things in the community. It can also lead to some referral business and profitable partnerships.
  • Take part in the local community - Be visible and be seen. Yes, the core reason you want to be socially responsible is altruistic, but let's face it- you are in business to make money. So be visible in the community so you can get support from your community too.
    Also, participating in the community will help it become a better, cleaner, more prosperous community. Only positive things can happen when you’re involved in making your town a nicer place to be.
  • Implement sustainable practices - This is particularly relevant right now, with the zero-emissions talk about 2030 and 2050. The vast majority of Australians want to see more sustainability and responsibility from the Government and the private sector. Take notes from businesses like Coles and Woolworths who are advertising on things like how they will produce their own renewable energy by 2024.
  • Create a written code of ethics for your business - this is similar to documenting your practices but with an ethical and moral backbone. Write down what you believe. Have it posted on the walls in the back office and anywhere your customers can see. Include it in your marketing, in your emails, and stick to it. Be held accountable for your own ethics, and don't be afraid to stand up for them.

Key takeaways

Having a socially responsible workplace and business is enjoyable and meaningful. Your workday becomes more than work, it can give you a bigger purpose. It can bring you a legacy.

We can help show you how to implement it, to come up with the perfect ideas that may need some help. Lucky for you, we have business operations training that can equip you with the knowledge and skill to bring in social change, a community of passionate customers.

The Entourage can help you change the world!

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