What does success look like to a socially minded business?

What does success look like to a socially minded business?

You run a successful business and also see yourself as socially minded. You like to support your local community by employing local people. You try to make good environmental choices and recycle when you can. You encourage your staff to volunteer. You also like to give some of your time to a local community group, to help them support other local people.

Does any of this make any difference to your customers? After all you know they are happy with the service and products you provide. Do they really need to know anything else? Maybe….

You know that measuring the success of your business is straightforward in relation to turnover and profit; these can be counted. However, trying to measure the difference your business choices, your staff, your processes and systems, and your time, make to both your customers, and the people, and places, within your local community, is much harder. The ways in which you bring value to your community cannot be told by numbers alone.

Does employing local people make a difference? If so, how? Does giving time to a local community group make a difference to them and the people they work with? Does any of this actually matter to your current and future customers? Maybe. Have you asked them? You might be surprised.

If you would like to spend time with other socially minded business owners exploring some of these issues, as well as being introduced to some of the tools that will help you tell your social value story, then please get in touch or check our the details of our next workshop here…https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/give2gain-summer-workshop-tickets-61625673047

Our Favourite Customer

Our Favourite Customer

We like to help our customers as much as we can and inevitably, we have our favourites. So, I am going to share one of our favourite customers with you. Maybe this is you?

You set up your own business from scratch and have built it up over the last couple of years. Since setting up your business you have been careful to make sure that you have looked after all your customers. Customer care really matters to you. You like to make sure all your customers are happy and that they have received the right service at the right time. Also, should they have any questions, queries or complaints you are always keen to deal with them as soon as you can. As a result, you have built up a very loyal customer base, who return to buy from you time after time.

In recent months, as a result of growing, you have taken on staff. Yes, you are now an employer and it is important to you that you look after you staff as much as you look after your customers. In return you are keen that your staff treat each other, and your customers, with dignity and respect. You also want to know that your customers are still receiving the great service that you have always provided and are now known for.

As you are so busy, you now have your staff looking after your customers, alongside you. All is going great until Thursday morning when you receive a phone call from a very unhappy customer. They have had a problem with the service or product they have purchased from you. They have spoken to one of your employees, but they did not feel they were listened to, in fact they felt fobbed off! Customer care has deteriorated as far as they are concerned!

You are devasted. You value your customers and are sure your staff do as well, but how to make sure that customer care continues to be delivered, by everyone, to the same high standard that you have always done? This is where we come in. We can help you make sure that all your staff understand your business values and by doing so ‘walk the talk’. We do this by offering facilitated workshops that enable your team to explore what is important to you and them and how to make it happen, in your business, every day. 

Why not get in touch. You could become one of our favourite customers too!

Social Accounting & Stakeholder Engagement – It’s Good to Talk!

Social Accounting & Stakeholder Engagement – It’s Good to Talk!

Kamran Riaz is a Trustee at Signpost Stockport for Carers https://www.signpostforcarers.org.uk/ Here he shares with us some of his thoughts about using some of the social accounting tools…..

I am a trustee at a Stockport-based charity and we are looking at how social accounting can be used to help us define the kind of organisation we are now and want to become in the future. So far, this experience has been rewarding and at times overwhelming too, especially at the beginning, because you’re not sure about how to approach this challenging journey. But, whatever route you decide to take, there is one key thing to remember – engage with your stakeholders. This is one of the most important things I have learnt by attending Give2Gain’s Accounting for Social Good Network.

The idea is to listen to different views and to reach a consensus so that your key messages – in relation to your vision, mission, objectives, values and activities (VMOVA) – will be clearer and more connected, and that will reflect through your everyday work, your policies, plans and funding applications. Sounds pretty simple right?  Of course, nothing of any true value comes that easy. So be prepared to think things through – the learning curve on the social accounting journey can be quite steep, but, the benefits are clear to see once you bring people on board and engage with them.

A good place to start is to ask yourself what you want to achieve through this process and why? For example, our charity wants to demonstrate that we are placing stakeholders at the heart of our plans and that we are being accountable to those people that we help.

By involving stakeholders in this way we can:

  • Implement a joined-approach to strategic planning and governance, so that everyone is working together towards meeting shared organisational goals.
  • Validate our approach with our service users by giving them an opportunity to identify the matters that affect them the most, and a chance to come up with potential solutions.

Once you make a start, keep up the momentum, make the process your own and continually engage with your stakeholders – as they say, it’s good to talk!

Want to know more about Signpost Stockport for Carers? Please visit https://www.signpostforcarers.org.uk/

Getting Started!

Getting Started!

Margaret Powell is the Chair of the Board of Trustees at https://www.mellorcountryhouse.co.uk/ In her Blog, she describes some of her journey of getting started with social accounting…..                                                         

I can’t remember the date I first heard the term “Social Accounting” but I do remember thinking “what on earth am I getting myself into”.  At first, like a lot of people, I thought, how can I manage to find the time, I am so busy, but realised that the first step is to think big but start small.  I have done a lot of thinking, overwhelming going around and around in my mind. I admit that it has taken me a fair while to become used to the terminology used but slowly it has become clearer.

I now believe that Social Accounting is the way forward, it will be a huge asset to a very small charity run entirely by a handful of volunteers. The word Transparency has become, in itself, clear and probably one of the important tools that are necessary for success along with Stakeholders. I realised that I don’t, and should not, do this all on my own, firstly taking small sections, all of the stakeholders, everyone connected to the charity, should be involved.

By going though and following the steps, slowly but surely, I have made small progress by reaching out to a small group of volunteers, asking three questions about the charity, Who are we, What do we do and Why do we do it.  I don’t know what will happen or what the response will be, but that is part of the excitement of the process.  All information is welcome for transparency, what is needed is careful reasoning minds in dealing with the good and bad in some sort of way. 

All this work and information will lead eventually to a solid foundation on which the charity can build our future which will sustain us in the hard times to come.

Want to know more about Mellor Country House? Please visit https://www.mellorcountryhouse.co.uk/

Start ups and Impact reporting

Start ups and Impact reporting

We often get asked by people, who are thinking about setting up a business, when they should start thinking about social, environment and economic impact reporting.

We always say that it is never too early to plan for impact reporting. Many start up businesses assume that there will have no impact to report. We remind them their business will have some impact on people and places, no matter where they are and what they do. 

For example, you may be thinking of employing local people. Your employees may spend some of their earnings locally. Already your business could be having an impact on your local economy. Then there are the environmental impacts of recycling and other green approaches, in your business. Maybe you have a plan to reduce the use of plastic and paper. Now the impacts are adding up! You may be happy to give time to a local group, do other regular or one-off volunteering, or be encouraging your employees to do some volunteering. Giving time, in this way, even an hour, will make an impact on some local people and places.

It may also matter to your customers that you are having a positive impact on your local community. It is well documented that we are increasingly making ethical choices about how and where to spend our money. Being able to reach out to those people who want to understand your ethical business choices can be done by sharing your business values and impacts.

So yes, we think it is important to start to introduce strategies for impact reporting, in your business planning, as soon as you can.

Why not get in touch to find out more.