I remember many years ago when Tom Shoes debuted their “buy-one-give-one” business model. It was revolutionary at the time and no one else seemed to be doing it.
Back then, I was developing a business idea for my business school’s pitch competition. Two classmates and I decided to model after Tom Shoes and pitch a business called “Rice2Rice,” which would give a bowl of rice to those in Nepal for every curry bowl sold.
Our idea won by a longshot and we received first place. Why? Because we put forth something into the world that was deeply needed—a business that partnered with consumers in making positive change.
It’s 2017 and we now confront even more global challenges than we did when Tom’s Shoes was launched. This type of business model is no longer an early adopter approach, it is a necessity.
While giving may seem counterintuitive to profit, it’s actually proven to increase earnings. One 15-year study found businesses who supported a good cause outperformed the S&P 500 fourteen to one.
That’s because 83% of consumers today are making conscious buying choices and selecting companies that support social and environmental causes over those that don’t. Millennials, who represent $2.45 Trillion in spending power, are 66% more likely to purchase from brands who do good.
So just how do you make your business a force for positive change in the world?
One co-founder has created a step-by-step methodology to start a business or adapt your existing business to this “do-good model.”
Meet Dmitriy Kozlov, the co-founder of Vision Tech Team and the founder of Maverick NEXT, a network for exceptional entrepreneurs under age 25. He’s also a contributor to the newly released book “Evolved Enterprise” by Yanik Silver that has been endorsed by Sir Richard Branson that teaches entrepreneurs how to start companies that make more profit by making more impact.
Kozlov calls these do-good companies “evolved enterprises” because they are leveraging business as a vehicle to create powerful global solutions.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Kozlov shares what it takes to create an evolved enterprise.
Align With A Cause You Stand Behind
With more global issues than we can count, it shouldn’t be hard to find a cause that works to combat an issue you care about. It’s essential that you have a personal stake in it, whether you or someone close to you has been personally impacted the issue, because otherwise your business will lack real drive—if you find yourself in a rut, you may not be able to withstand the pressure and withdraw from the cause altogether, appearing inauthentic to consumers.
“Choose wisely where you invest your heart because that’s the life force that will matter most,” Kozlov says.
Make A Real Impact
The bigger the impact you make in the world, the easier it is to rally consumers behind your product. In other words, don’t be stingy—donate a significant portion of profits to your cause. Consumers can sniff out when you’re only supporting a cause for the sake of the badge from miles away, and it may have the opposite effect of deterring them from your business.
Some of today’s most successful evolved enterprises include Bombas, a sock company that netted $2 million in revenue in its first year by donating a pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair sold, and Barnana, a banana snack company growing at 130% annually by eliminating waste on food farms.
90% of consumers want to be informed about the concrete ways you’re benefiting your cause. They are partnering with you in using their dollar to make an impact, and it’s your responsibility to inform them about the results.
Be transparent and notify your customers when significant milestones are achieved, whether through your website, your product label, or your email list. When you share your achievements, your customers participate in the positive feeling and will continue to buy from you.
The book “Evolved Enterprise” sold 12,000+ copies within days of its release at more than double the shelf price by partnering with buyers to lift an entire African village out of poverty. In being transparent about his intended results, Kozlov was able to enlist others in his cause who were happy to help.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com