Benefits of being a socially responsible small business
Businesses with a social mission are all around us. You may not be aware of it, but many major companies like Google, Disney, and Ben & Jerry’s are certified Benefit Corporations (B Corp). What’s a B Corp? It’s a special certification that companies can apply for that certifies that their business meets social and environmental standards.
So, why should smaller businesses care? While becoming a B Corp is a lengthy legal process that’s onerous for a small business, being a socially-minded company offers great benefits to any business, big or small. Embracing social and environmental standards builds customer loyalty, which leads to more business.
Consumers prefer to buy from socially responsible businesses
Data from a study by CONE, who are leaders in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) space, revealed the following insights about a shift in consumer behavior toward more socially responsible companies.
- 79% of consumers surveyed seek out products that are socially or environmentally responsible.
- 89% of Americans say they would switch brands to one that supports a good cause if the price and quality are comparable.
Besides being profitable, consumers want the companies they buy from to also be socially-conscious. Here are some of the things that consumers look for in a company.
- Being a good employer (94%)
- Protecting and contributing to society and the environment (90%)
- Investing in local and international causes (87%)
- Taking a stand on social justice issues (78%)
In regards to social justice issues, American consumers believe companies should take a stand on racial equality (87%) and women’s rights (84%). As an example, here are some of the steps that Hiscox took to create a more inclusive workplace.
Benefits of being a socially responsible business
Being a socially responsible company can help your business grow in a multitude of ways. Here are some of the benefits companies realize when they adopt a social mission.
- Lower employee turnover, as employees feel pride in a company that does good.
- Become a vendor of choice: More people will want to work with you if you up-hold ethical business practices.
- Ability to recruit top talent: Studies show that many job seekers will take a pay cut to work for a company that supports their beliefs.
- Attract customers who choose to patronize socially responsible businesses.
How to be a socially responsible small business
You don’t have to have a B-Corp certification to be a socially responsible company, nor is it required to reap the benefits that come with being a socially-conscious business. Here is how to make corporate social responsibility part of your business’s DNA.
Start with a mission
Start by writing out what social cause(s) drives your business. Think of this like a mission statement to document what types of issues your business is passionate about and will contribute to. If you’re a cosmetics brand that is dedicated to using sustainably sourced materials, put that in your mission statement. If you’re a yoga studio that donates a portion of your proceeds to local schools and education programs, this too should go in a mission statement.
Create goals or milestones for your business to achieve. Maybe you want to raise a certain amount of money to donate to a local charity or you want to log 500 volunteer hours mentoring high school students. Write these goals down and track your progress.
Whatever your mission is, make your goals known to your employees, especially if it is something that directly impacts them, like upholding ethical labor practices or creating in-house development programs for employees.
You need to get everyone in your company on board if you are going to fulfill your goals toward meeting a social mission.
Share the news
Let customers and prospects know about the good work you’re doing. If they don’t know about your mission and the things you’ve achieved, how will they decide to choose your business over the competition? Use social media, email marketing, blog posts, and more to get the word out about your business’s socially-driven mission and any milestones you’ve met. That way, consumers will start to associate your business with doing good.
Making the effort to try to make the world a better place is always a good thing. It’s nice to know that it could also help your business succeed.