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Thursday, 16 November 2017 09:54

5 ways your business can give back while driving the bottom line

5 ways your business can give back while driving the bottom lineRegardless of the size of your company, giving back to your society and environment has the potential to improve company culture, attract top talent, while also contributing to your bottom line. Have a look at these 5 great examples of how your organisation can share its successes with others.

1. Develop skills amongst previously disadvantaged people

Beauty salon brand, Sorbet, set up the SEW Trust, where they take women from disadvantaged backgrounds and train them to become beauticians – helping them to improve their circumstances and earning potential. The training is funded by small contributions from their customers. Once all training and practical hours are complete, candidates are trade tested and offered employment within a salon. This not only provides the beauty industry with a pool of talent to get skills from, but also helps Sorbet themselves, to secure high-caliber employees for their growing business.

2. Establishing new businesses

Riaan Langeveld, founder of RL Wood & Aluminium (RLWA), which manufacturers custom-made aluminium doors and window frames, made the decision to take his inhouse teams and set them up in their own businesses. He then worked with them as subcontractors as opposed to employees, which helped them to develop and grow their businesses. This decision not only empowered the subcontractors, but it also proved to be a better business model for RLWA, as Riaan spent less time managing teams, and focused more on other parts of his business. In addition, performance of the teams improved significantly now that they ran their own businesses.

Another example of a company helping individuals start their own business is EOH’s ECI Coastal Division, which designs and implements IT infrastructure solutions for companies. They have started to outsource their project installations to woman-owned network-cabling businesses, whom they also train. This helps build new businesses, while providing the Division with a pool of subcontractors to work with.

3. Mentoring entrepreneurs

EOH’s ECI Coastal Division is also involved in an entrepreneurship development programme for tech entrepreneurs at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. They put in time, money and effort into helping these businesses succeed. Simultaneously, this also presents them with opportunities to find new businesses to invest in and do business with.

Sorbet founder, Ian Fuhr, has written a book on his journey in business, and often gives talks on how Sorbet has created an admired company culture and brand, inspiring and teaching other entrepreneurs how to create great businesses.

4. Become a member of an industry body

Some companies may give back by sitting on boards that help to improve the industries they operate in. Sasha Kozinsky of flooring company Finfloor, for example, sits on the board of the South African Wood & Laminate Flooring Association (SAWLFA) as the Vice Chairman. The association works hard to regulate the standard of imported laminate and wood flooring products in South Africa. They also address skills shortages by training installers of laminate and wood flooring, and ensure that they deal with customer complaints – all in efforts to protect the reputation of the industry. Ultimately, Sasha’s involvement in the association helps him broaden his network in the sector, and ensure that he stays on top of industry trends and developments that may affect his business.

5. Perform charitable acts

Empowered Spaces Architects is an architectural firm that gives back by giving their staff an amount of money each year, which they use to perform a random act of kindness. This not only helps to improve the lives of people in their communities, but it also provides their staff with a great team-building experience. Different staff members in the company get to know each other better while working together, which encourages a better company culture and facilitates better team dynamics on the work front.

Smaller, growing businesses tend to neglect the need to give back, thinking that they need to put all their surplus time and funds directly into their businesses. But if they apply their minds, businesses of all sizes can exercise conscious capitalism and create win-win solutions for their society, environments and themselves – just like we’ve seen in these examples.

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Article by: Graham Mitchell, Business Coach and Founder of GROW Business Coaching

ABOUT GROW:

GROW is a premier business coaching firm that works with over 85 companies a month to accelerate the growth of their businesses, people and profits. They support business owners with training and practical tools that can be quickly and effectively applied to achieve results. For more information please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.grow.za.com.

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