Given the opportunity, would your business share a message of technology, environment, education, culture or nationalism to the larger, global audience? Would you focus on a story that touched on your cultural and ethnographic eccentricities, or would you set the altitude of the discussion at a bigger level and focus instead on the macro human condition? These questions are worth asking, whether your enterprise is in the Fortune 100 rankings or the Fortune 1,000,000,000 rankings. A blog post now can be shared among the billion plus internet users world wide, literally one out of every seven human beings on the planet. That’s a heady impact and an equally large responsibility, for those who share the global stage. I believe that includes all of us, headline makers and crafters of headlines alike, with a shared responsibility to tell the stories that do the most good for our human collective.
When I think of messages to send to a larger audience, I always think of my children first
Then, after I think of my children, I think of my cousins, the other children who share the same generation as my children and the next generation overall. Recently, I saw an article about reclassifying a generation as “C” instead of “Y”, and I keep getting confused am I “x” or “y” as I’ve seen a few different breakdowns of the age ranges. Regardless of what generation I happen to fall in, I believe the concern for the future, for the generations of children who follow in our footsteps, to be a primary driver of many of my decisions. I’m sure other parents view their decision making patterns in the same way, which is to say that they also strive to leave the world in a better place for the generation that follows them. With this framework, I have been focused on technology and advancing the state of the art, as I see it, in every way I can whilst starting businesses that hope to have a larger community impact above and beyond their profit and loss statements. For some, there might be a distinction between helping the community and running a successful business, however, my personal take has always been that a byproduct of a successful business has to be a healthier, stronger community.
If you are focused on metrics beyond your profit and loss statement, you might do something like the economic impact report from Google, which attempts to quantify, in economic terms, the value their business has brought outside of their own balance sheet. What’s great about this kind of study is that it shows Google is not only interested in examining the overall health in which their company lives, but trying to proactively be a bigger part of that larger community success story. By believing in technology and solutions to the very real human condition, Google and other companies have demonstrated a clear bias towards that which can extend and enhance our lives. As a small business owner, I recognize the challenge of trying to balance the community impact with the balance sheet and operational necessities. It’s important to make sure you stay in business, otherwise, you can’t by definition have an impact to the community as a business. From experience, having seen a business I owned a share in, take off and also crash and burn, when you focus in a real, easy to understand way on the larger impact your business has above and beyond the dollars and sense, you will perform better. At peak, the business I helped run also had the most volunteers, and the most fans, link partners and more. It’s not a coincidence these things all were in place at the time we had our highest traffic ever, in hindsight, we never had as many social good projects going as we had at the very peak of our business, from a customer metrics perspective.
What message would you send? Me, I’d send a simple message, which necessitates technology innovation to solve the real world issues. Perhaps such as that of drinking water accessibility, energy efficient and environmentally sound policies and bandwidth availability to access the internet as table stakes in the larger theme of improving the duration, quality and connectivity of our lives. The problems I aim to solve currently will become the solution to a very basic and simple need. Many times, just the mere definition of a community need can help define your business message.