B Corporation Community

Helping business become a force for good

By Michelle Ratcliffe

Make business easy – tune in to The Big Idea, a bi-weekly column from the Whistler Chamber showcasing a Whistler Business innovating in their sector.

It’s commonplace for the bottom line to define business success, but there is a growing global network of over 2,000 Certified B Corporations leading a movement to redefine success. These B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. 

Whistler’s Seeds Consulting is part of this global movement and Principal, Diana Mulvey believes that a healthy profit can be achieved parallel to progress for the planet and people. 

Mulvey has built a business that takes action on social and environmental issues. Working with companies that aim to do good for humanity and for the planet, her business helps growing enterprises define the difference they are trying to make in the world and market themselves, creating an inspiring identity that stands out. 

She believes that while already sitting at an impressive height, Whistler businesses have the opportunity to elevate their impact on the world.

“Whistler’s business community could be known not only as the best IN the world, but the best FOR the world,” said Mulvey. “I’m helping mobilize business owners to be a force for good and tackle social and environmental challenges in their industry.”

Planting Seeds with Purpose

As any gardener knows, even with seeds in hand, your work still requires a little digging before you can plant and nurture growth.  Seeds Consulting’s strategy starts with digging deep to find a client’s highest mandate.

“I’ve been helping clients uncover their higher purpose and get clear on why they are in that business,” explained Mulvey who says she shares the philosophy of author and corporate culture thought leader Simon Sinek, who teaches organizations how to inspire people by starting with “Why.”

“I Share Simon Sinek’s belief that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” said Mulvey.

Once the “why” is clear, she can set sights sky high and map out the route to lift her client’s entrepreneurial ambitions to great heights. Clarity on a clients purpose empowers them to create an identity that rises above the noise, attracting the right customers and building brand loyalty.

Events Inspiring Action

Mulvey is a key fixture in the entrepreneurial community in Whistler – an inspiring group of innovative minds.

Her respected perspectives have led to collaborations with likeminded organizations and created events aimed at inspiring entrepreneurs to do good for their community.

“I’ve spoken at and introduced events in Whistler that encourage entrepreneurs to learn about and take on environmental and social problems,” she said.

In the last year alone, her hands-on help has seen her teach workshops for the Whistler Centre for Sustainability’s Social Venture Challenge, present on “how putting employees first boosts your brand” and at the Whistler Open Forum Speaker Series and collaborate with the Business Development Bank of Canada to bring a screening of “The Millennial Dream” documentary to Whistler accompanied by empowering discussion around different kinds of success in the new economy.

Confronting the Status Quo

In addition to speaking up with new ideas entrepreneurial events, Seeds Consulting connects with and empowers with their market online. The thought leadership exemplified by Mulvey on the Seeds Consulting blog offers an inspiring a dialogue for change, contributing valuable knowledge and resources to her community.

“I’m and avid blogger,” said Mulvey. “I use this platform to share ideas, confront the status quo, introduce best practices and build the business case to tackle social and environmental problems.”

Mulvey’s leadership is being felt throughout the resort where the number of businesses who are embedding social causes into their strategy is snowballing and her impact was recognized earlier this month, with Seeds Consulting honoured as a Finalist for “Sustainability in Action Business” at the 2017 Whistler Excellence Awards. Mulvey is helping shape a thriving local economy, from inspiring startup social ventures in their infancy to helping established organizations redefine an inspired brand identity. 

“Companies that are better for workers, better for communities, and better for the environment will lead the way and raise the bar for business success beyond the bottom line”

“Companies that are better for workers, better for communities, and better for the environment will lead the way and raise the bar for business success beyond the bottom line,” said Mulvey.  “I believe Whistler business owners have an opportunity to take on social and environmental problems and be recognized around the globe as being the best for the world.”

Bike to Work

November 22 event: The New Economy Will Be Driven by a Millennial Mindset

Could your business do well by doing good?

Decades ago, the concept of The American Dream was to study, work hard get a job, buy a house, pay off your debt and build wealth. Not only would many agree that this was a lie,  a whole generation of our workforce just do not buy into it as their dream. “The Millennial Dream” is a feature length documentary that explores the values that may replace the cultural motif known as The American Dream.

As the Millennial generation becomes the most significant portion of the workforce, what will change about what we want from our education and jobs, what kinds of companies will succeed in the new economy? And with values and lifestyles shifting, what kinds of communities will be desired and what can cities and regions do to attract this new economy? The filmmaker’s interviews with experts such as best selling author Seth Godin and the personal reflections of young workers stir debate and encourage a dialogue around what might emerge as the Millennial Dream.

On November 22 BDC, Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, will showcase The Millennial Dream documentary in Whistler followed by an empowering discussion on what kinds of companies will succeed in the new economy.

If the Millennial Dream is about doing well by doing good, how do business owners need to adapt?  

Some business owners may be struggling with the belief that Millennial workers are not as loyal as previous generations. But evidence shows they will work harder and be more committed if they believe in the higher purpose of the organization. In fact, according to a Deloitte survey of over 7,700 Millennials from 29 countries, Millennials are more likely to stick with an organization if they share its sense of purpose.

During an interview with filmmaker Greg Hemmings, he mentioned a focus on relevancy as the biggest opportunity for business to seize the Millennial dream. Traditional institutions stuck in their ways are being sideswiped by companies like Uber and airbnb that are crowdsourcing solutions to systemic problems, effectively disrupting entire categories in their industries. Further, these companies lead with their values, openly sharing stories about their impact in the world.

If the Millennial Dream is about doing well by doing good, how do business owners adapt? #BCorp Click To Tweet

At the film screening in Whistler, business owners can learn how they need to adapt and aim to do well by doing good. After the film, examples of how business can be used as a force for good will be shared through a panel discussion with Greg Hemmings from New Brunswick-based ‪Hemmings House, along with Whistler-based Leah Garrad-Cle from ‪Love Child Organics and Diana Mulvey from Seeds Consulting.  The evening will wrap up with a chance to continue the conversation while mixing and mingling with entrepreneurs and representatives from BDC.

The Millennial Dream Documentary Film Screening in Whistler

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
5:00 p.m. Networking, Appitizers, Drinks
5:50 p.m. Introduction
6:00 p.m. The Millennial Dream
6:45 p.m. Panel Discussion moderated by Carla Heim, Senior Advisor Social Entrepreneurship at BDC
7:15 p.m. Networking (cash bar)

       Click here to reserve your seat today!    

View the Trailer

header_big-news-story

PR may be dead, but it’s taking on a new life

Is THE PRACTICE OF Public Relations really A done Deal?

Guest blogger Sandra Nomoto of Vancouver-based Conscious PR weighs in…

In the last few years, people have been saying that the Public Relations practice is dying. In fact, Robert Phillips, author of Trust Me, PR is Dead, declared the practice “dead” after a career spanning 23 years, eight of them working as a President for the largest PR firm in the world, Edelman.

After I put off reading the book for a year, I finally took the plunge and was surprised to find myself agreeing with most points in the book. But before I go into all that, we should define what PR is and how it relates to Marketing.

#PR is the management of #relationships between a company and its public, through #communications,… Click To Tweet

PR AS THE NEW MARKETING

I have been saying for years that instead of PR dying, it’s become the “new Marketing.” With the exception of direct mail and sales promotions, every Marketing Communications touchpoint can now serve public interest and involve a customer responding directly to a company’s call to action.

Marketing teams can no longer just think about push campaigns, but rather what’s going to engage their audiences the most. When I participate in PR chats on Twitter, I’m surprised to see that peoples’ examples of “Best PR campaigns” are simply advertising campaigns that have a good message. Not necessarily PR, but Marketing campaigns integrating PR tactics into them. Many marketing practices are now blended together.

PR AS PART OF CSR

Now, onto the Corporate Social Responsibility part of my premise. In Trust Me, PR is Dead, Phillips iterates that PR will be replaced by open, honest, and explicit relationships between a company and its customers, a sort of “citizen capitalism” relationship. Leaders will earn trust through honesty, transparency, and accountability, and businesses will only be able to achieve success through social responsibility, becoming a “social movement corporation.”

@citizenrobert: Business can and should be an agent, a catalyst for societal change. – Trust… Click To Tweet

A big part of PR is the concept of Internal Relations and how employees engage with each other and the outside world. In the era of transparency and workers wanting more than just a place to earn a paycheque, what goes on inside a company is becoming just as important as the stories they share externally with their target customer. Enter CSR.

Last month, I presented on the concepts of CSR and Public and Media Relations, and my research on CSR reaffirmed what I’d read in Phillips’ book. Companies must not only have CSR policies or programs, they need to implement these through engaged employees. Otherwise the CSR plan is just a document, and disengaged employees could potentially breed bad stories for media (think Glass Door ratings).

In PR strategist and author James Hoggan’s latest book, I’m Right, You’re An Idiot, he talks about his observations and insights following his 30+ year PR career. Like Phillips, he argues that in this age of excessive messaging and ego, we should get back to basics and learn how to connect, engage with, and genuinely care for each other in order to practice good business and move the world forward.

This idea of human love before PR is pretty wild, but also foundational. Companies that have genuinely integrated CSR and take care of their workers will have employees that become ambassadors for their companies. Authentic stories are then amplified through the employee network. Related story

RE-LEARNING HOW TO FORM RELATIONSHIPS

Today, instead of clients asking us to help them with social media, they manage their channels in house, understanding that their own voice is the best one to represent their brand.

The Media Relations aspect of PR still remains a mystery to businesses.  I find that companies are aware that it takes relationships with media in order to get good story placement, and this is a big part of our client service. Unlike other companies: we don’t use news releases. We target messages to each person, make phone calls, and use Twitter or whichever means of communication they prefer.

Even if PR tasks get swallowed by other departments within companies, media relations is one of those practices that you just can’t just manage off the side of your desk or assign to an intern. It’s so much more than having a media list; it’s being able to pick up the phone and have a real conversation with a media person. Not leaving a message on voice mail. Relationships, baby.

While it’s easy to say that PR is already dead, without good relationships – the basis of good communication – it will be very hard to change the status quo and create a world where all will prosper.

Trust is forever fragile and attempts at control futile. Robert Philips #transparency… Click To Tweet

If building relationships with media interests you, register for Conscious Public Relations’ Be Your Own PR Star in 90 Days online course and use the code SEEDS10 for 10% off.

A fellow B Corporation, Conscious Public Relations Inc.’s mission is to positively change what we see in the media and online by passionately embodying Positive Relations in all aspects of our work and lives.

If you’d like to learn more about James Hoggan’s approach to PR, join Diana from Seeds Consulting at the Whistler Chamber’s Power Lunch on October 27.

Purpose wooden sign with a forest background

Harness the difference you want to make in the world

your purpose is the foundation for business growth

Much of the work I do with clients involves reviewing business goals, then mapping out a marketing strategy to help drive those goals forward. Before we get started, it surprises me if the leadership team can’t clearly express the company purpose, vision, and mission. Sometimes, founders bumble along for five minutes and insert explanations. Chances are, if the leadership can’t easily share these foundational concepts, it’s unlikely their employees can. How is company purpose tied to marketing and why should you care? There is growing evidence that it can be a competitive advantage and big reason why some companies thrive while others wilt.

My preferred definition of purpose, mission, and vision come from Conscious Capitalism, a book and a movement developed in collaboration with Whole Foods’ co-founder John Mackey:

“Purpose refers to the difference you’re trying to make in the world, mission is the core strategy that must be undertaken to fulfill that purpose, a vision is a vivid, imaginative conception or view of how the world will look once your purpose has been largely realized.”

This simple hierarchy sets a solid foundation for a business, laying the groundwork before designing the business or marketing strategy. A clear purpose can be the glue that holds a company together and a draw to attract the right people – from employees to customers, suppliers and investors, to your big idea. Purpose gets everyone pointed in the same direction; while a well-designed strategy maps out HOW to get there.

Your company purpose is a competitive advantage. What is your Why? #consciousbiz Click To Tweet

So what is your WHY? According to Beyond the Brand, Why Business Decision Makers Buy Into Strong Cultures, 80% of over 500 executives surveyed around the globe felt that the biggest idea of a company is likely the one upon which the company was built. What exactly inspired your founders to start the company in the first place? Getting to the heart of a founding idea is a key differentiator for any business. It may be that untapped opportunity for a company to completely stand out from the competition.

According to 80% of respondents, the biggest idea of a company is often the one upon which the business was built. Beyond the Brand, Why Business Decision Makers Buy Into Strong Culture

If you’ve launched a business, gained momentum, hired new people, and taken a few turns, have you veered off track and lost sight of this? That same study noted above found that the penalty for losing your culture and sense of purpose may be losing your customers.

To better understand this reality, you need to look at human nature and how decisions are made. The rational side of our brain looks at analytical thought and language. The limbic brain however, looks at our feelings, such as trust and loyalty. It guides human behaviour and decision making, but not language. This side of the brain connects to that lingering feeling in your gut when you have to choose between a few options.

This science is the premise behind Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. His big idea genuinely resonates with my clients when we talk about it in the context of purpose, branding and marketing:

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

The video of Sinek’s TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action,” has received over 27 million views. Its popularity is a sign of the times, illustrating that more than ever, people seek to make a deeper connection with a business before buying.

Beyond the Brand also revealed some other notable insights: about two thirds of respondents that develop long-term relationships prefer to do business with companies that clearly define what they stand for. This is a huge message for brands in the B2B space. Further, while purpose may have previously been an idea reserved for rallying staff at annual retreats, companies are now more transparent about their big ideas, with 85% of executives now sharing their company purpose with a range of stakeholders.

85% of executives are sharing purpose with stakeholders, more than ever in last 5 years. Beyond the Brand, Why Business Decision Makers Buy Into Strong Culture

So before embarking on a strategic initiative in your business, how about starting with WHY? Reconnect to purpose, mission and vision. Dig deeper, ask Why? at least five times to get to the soul of why you do what you do. Remember what inspired this journey to begin with before hitting the road and taking a new direction.

When you’re ready to explore how to embed these ideas into the heart of your brand, don’t overlook how your purpose nourishes corporate culture. Contact Seeds Consulting for advice on how to get started. Learn more in a related post: A healthy company culture = stronger brand promise.

BrandLove

A healthy company culture = stronger brand promise

why a solid company culture bolsters your brand

I recently had breakfast with a young professional who decided to hang up a shingle and go out on her own as a writer and content marketer. A millennial with big career goals, she left behind a great job with a director-level position at a well-known brand. The reason: the company was not living up to its brand or the inspirational values it promoted, particularly in how it treated employees. Business owners who want to build a stronger brand that is known and respected with their target audience need to take note. The health of your company culture shows up in how your brand is viewed in the marketplace. If your employees are not buying into the brand promise, chances are your customers won’t either.

A company’s brand strengthens when it is consistently represented across all touchpoints, inside and outside of an organization. Marketing (what you do) is really what builds the brand (what you are), and your employees are a critical target market that are often overlooked. Ever design a marketing campaign aimed at informing employees or designed for recruiting new ones?

This is not just about sharing the business strategy or sending out an internal newsletter highlighting a new marketing initiative. It’s about finding ways to activate the brand in the workplace and convince employees of the brand’s power and promise that your customers have come to expect.

“You can’t be special, distinctive, and compelling in the marketplace unless you create something special, distinctive, and compelling in the workplace. How does your brand shape your culture? How does your culture bring your brand to life?”  William C. Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company

A brand often becomes fragmented when employees sense that the leadership team are not living the company values. For example, if the front line does not trust the brand, it’s unlikely your customers will have great experiences. If operational staff aren’t aligned with company culture, they may cut corners, which shows up in product or service quality.

A brand often becomes fragmented when the leadership team are not living the company values. Click To Tweet

So how can you improve company culture to help build a compelling brand promise? Start with sharing a lofty purpose: What’s the difference you want to make in the world? Go back to why the company was built in the first place and revisit what motivated its founders to start the business.

six measures of a strong company culture

Once you’re clear on the big WHY?, consider these six components of a strong company culture noted by John Coleman in a Harvard Business Review article on organizational culture:

Vision

A foundation for the corporate culture. Imagine your company purpose (the why?) has been realized. What’s the vivid, aspirational view of the world when this happens?

Values

These are guidelines on behaviours and mindsets. Choose up to five and consider writing them as verbs so they are active and alive in the organization.

Practices

Your policies need to support certain behaviours and values. Ensure your team is empowered to enforce the desired outcomes.

People

Hiring people who share and want to exemplify the core values. Do you recruit and attract new hires with a focus on higher purpose and values? Are they truly on board?

Narrative

History, folklore and easy-to share anecdotes about the company. What’s your organization’s unique story and who can share it? Make sure your are passing along wisdom and insight from company founders.

Place

Aesthetics, architecture, virtual and in-person gatherings. Does the place you do business reflect your values? Let’s say your company values include ‘open communication’ but employees are constantly closed up with office doors shut, perhaps the work environment could use an overhaul.

Take the time to audit company culture across these six areas and see where there may be gaps. Better yet, ask a millennial on staff where they think culture is broken. Like my friend noted above, these young employees really care about the company’s foundation, and they’re the new ‘culture police’ you can enroll to keep the purpose and company culture at the forefront. Review each component of company culture and pull these ideas together into a story that can be shared within your organization. When your internal ‘customers’ believe the company culture is alive, it will resonate with your target audience.

“By weaving the brand messages into employees’ everyday experiences, managers can ensure that on-brand behavior becomes instinctive.” Selling the Brand Inside, Harvard Business Review

Linking company culture to the brand’s essence is imperative to creating a brand your customers and employees will love and respect. Their loyalty and positive word of mouth referrals are priceless and can help a company reach its wildest goals to grow and thrive.

Need help auditing your brand and igniting it within your company? Contact Seeds Consulting and get started today! We love working with purpose-driven brands.

B the Change

A B C’s of becoming a B Corporation

Certifying businesses that take on social and environmental problems

More and more entrepreneurs are going into business and growing their enterprises with a broader focus than building shareholder returns. Instead, these purpose-driven leaders see the potential for a much broader impact, one that includes society and the environment.

Increasingly there are businesses that want to create value for all their stakeholders, not just their shareholders. These companies are competing not just to be best in the world, but best for the world.” B Lab Founder Andrew Kassoy

Certified B Corporations are leading a global movement to redefine success in business. Companies that achieve B Corp certification have agreed to voluntarily meet higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance. They know that they can stand out in a cluttered marketplace through their higher purpose and a shared vision that businesses can create benefits for all stakeholders; not just shareholders.

What’s driving business owners to invest in the certification process? There is growing acceptance of brands doing well by doing good. Across the globe, 75% of consumers believe it is acceptable for brands to support causes and make money at the same time (up 33% since 2008). A full 80% of consumers feel it is important for companies to share their efforts to address societal issues. Edelman goodpurpose Study

“These companies are competing not just to be best in the world, but best for the world.” B Lab… Click To Tweet

How do companies earn B Corp certification

Starting with an online impact assessment, business owners can complete a questionnaire that summarizes their business as it relates to four categories: Workers, Governance, Community and the Environment.

Just the exercise of tackling 174 questions in the four categories above is time well spent by any organization. As a business grows, questions like these below can shape the future of the company:

  • What percent of non-executive, full-time employees participated in the company’s bonus plan in the last fiscal year?
  • What practices apply when evaluating the social and environmental performance of your suppliers?
  • Has your company gone through an environmental review or audit in the last 12 months?
  • Are there key performance indicators or metrics that your company tracks on at least an annual basis to determine if you are meeting or social or environmental objectives?

Some organizations may not be able to achieve the minimum 80 points required to earn the certification, but the impact assessment tool is an ideal way to focus resources toward next steps. Learn more about my journey toward certification.

A growing NETWORK with many benefits

Companies aiming for a passing grade have done the math for the business case and understand the ABCs of joining this fast-growing group of certified companies:

A – Affiliation: A B Corporation will join a community of like-minded businesses that want to change the status quo. Fellow businesses in related or complementary industries have a network of entrepreneurs they can rely on to help manage business challenges.

B – Baseline: Rather than re-inventing the framework, the impact assessment can shape a company’s commitment towards: Workers, Governance, Community and the Environment. There are ample opportunities to learn form other B Corporations on how they raised the bar in each category.

C – Credibility: Since the assessments are conducted by a third party, this helps ensure there’s no greenwashing or trying to look good with slick marketing. It is unbiased and based on a consistent approach that helps owners measure what matters and ultimately, build a better business.

About 150 businesses in Canada are currently certified, along with over 1,600 companies in 48 countries. BC-based Persephone, Salt Spring Coffee, Lunapads and Fairware are in good company with global brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Method. This movement is growing fast and Certified BCorps achieve brand lift from their affiliation, which also helps to attract employees, earn publicity an gain competitive advantages in their sector.

Ready to measure what matters and understand your company’s impact in the world? We work with conscious brands that are ready to “B the change”. Let’s talk about how to build and share your stories.

B Corporation Community

Why Become A Certified B Corporation?

Building a global economy that uses business as a force for good

In 2015, Seeds Consulting became a Certified B Corporation. A growing network of businesses across the globe, ‘B Corps’ are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. It’s a standard that will not only guide the company forward as it grows, it is a beacon that pulls like-minded businesses together and sends a signal to target customers that we’re serious about using business as a force for good.

‘Whistler-based Seeds Consulting is now a Certified B Corporation, joining 150 Canadian brands Click To Tweet

As a curious kid who asked lots of questions, my aunt thought I would become a lawyer as I had a deep sense of what was just and fair. At my first job, I learned that business was not always what it appeared. The delicious aromas from this bakery masked a stink from behind the scenes: the immigrant bakers, refugees from Cambodia, were told to log their extra hours on two punch cards so the owner could avoid paying them overtime. They knew it was wrong, but did not want to risk losing their jobs so they kept quiet.

As a young professional, I went to grad school to study an MBA. I continued to ask lots of questions since many of our case studies included businesses that put profits before people and the planet, though there was no good reason for trade-offs. Many of my classmates thought the course on Business Ethics was fruitless. In hindsight, it was likely added to the curriculum ahead of its time, taught as a required course pre-Enron, pre-mortgage crisis, and pre-VW scandal.

As my career advanced, I took on some challenging roles as a marketing director for some global brands. The shift toward more transparent business practices became a big part of my job, whether it was implementing new accounting standards to protect shareholders (Sarbanes Oxley), introducing new reporting tools to inform communities and stakeholders (corporate sustainability reports), or creating company values and codes of conduct to guide business practices. I am still learning to navigate the unexpected shift in power from business to the consumer, who are now using social media as a very public forum to get their questions answered.

For Conscious Businesses that want to stand out

As my consulting business grew and I was looking for a way to stand out, the B Corp Certification made a lot of sense for Seeds Consulting. Our mission is to plant ideas for positive change. We do this by advising purpose-driven leaders how to grow their business consciously. By voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, Certified B Corps are distinguishing themselves in a cluttered marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.

B Corp Declaration of Interdependence

Together, companies that are B Corp Certified take on a Declaration of Interdependence with the following shared beliefs:
  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

Small actions that create a ripple effect

What are some of the things that set Seeds Consulting apart to get certified?
  • We choose two wheels instead of four… except when the snow flies.
  • We’ve chosen to operate out of Whistler’s greenest community and work virtually with clients whenever possible to reduce our footprint.
  • We give back to environmental causes through our commitment to 1% for the Planet.
  • If we print, it’s on paper made of straw instead of virgin forests.
  • We volunteer in our community.
  • We aim to create value for society, not just shareholders.
  • We work with clients that aren’t afraid to take on environmental and social challenges.
Interested in joining the B Corporation movement? Connect with Seeds Consulting and learn how you can design marketing and communications strategies to grow your organization. Read our ideas, share what conscious growth means to you.
1 Percent For the Planet

Whistler-based Seeds Consulting Announces Partnership with 1% for the Planet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       

For more information, contact:
Barbara Friedsam 1% for the Planet
barbara@onepercentfortheplanet.org
+1 (802) 496-5408

Whistler, British Columbia, December 16, 2015 — Seeds Consulting, a marketing and communications consultancy, has joined 1% for the Planet (1%), pledging to donate 1% of annual sales to support non-profit organizations focused on sustainability.

”Signing on to 1% for the Planet shows that Seeds Consulting has a strong commitment to investing in sustainability efforts,” says John Tashiro, Interim CEO. “They’re using business as a tool to engage and motivate their stakeholders while partnering with environmental organizations that complement their brand. We’re excited to welcome Seeds Consulting to our global network.”

“At Seeds Consulting, we work with many passionate business leaders who play as hard as they work in British Columbia’s beautiful outdoors. Focusing our charitable giving through 1% for the Planet on environmental causes that are close to home not only aligns with our values and goals, it helps to build the movement for businesses to drive positive change.”

Members of 1% for the Planet contribute one percent of annual sales directly to any of the approved non-profit environmental organizations in the network.  Non-profits are approved based on referrals, track record and sustainability focus. Over 3,600 non-profits worldwide are currently approved.

“In our 10th year we’re celebrating that our members contributed $100 million of critically needed funds and it’s just the beginning,” comments Tashiro. “We see that brands benefit too by financially investing in the environment; consumer demand drives much of this success. There’s a paradigm shift happening and we’re thrilled that so many innovative businesses are sling-shotting the movement into high gear.”

About 1% for the Planet

1% for the Planet is a global network of businesses that donate one percent of annual sales directly to approved environmental and sustainability nonprofit organizations. Over 1200 member companies in 48 countries give back to this big blue planet through over 3600 nonprofit partners.  Started in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, 1% for the Planet helps people buy better products and protect the planet we play on.  To date, our network has given over $100 million back to blue. To learn more go to: www.onepercentfortheplanet.org.

About Seeds Consulting

Seeds Consulting is a BC-based strategic marketing and communications firm that advises purpose-driven enterprises that are ready to grow.  Started in 2008 by Diana Mulvey, a seasoned marketing director who has worked with well-known Canadian brands, Seeds Consulting develops measurable strategic and tactical plans for organizations that have become embedded in the way they do business, setting them on a path toward their goals.
www.seedsconsulting.ca.

Crystal Brown Photography

Lean on Me: Support for Small Business Owners to Navigate the Road Ahead

Lessons from the Whistler Open Forum

Getting an enterprise off the ground is a great accomplishment. Once a business venture gets traction to grow or become a market leader, entrepreneurs are often faced with a crossroad. When business owners are uncertain which path to choose, advice and mentorship can break down barriers and offer clarity.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are cornerstones of the Canadian economy. According to a BDC study, successful SMEs have a few things in common: these businesses innovate, ask for outside advice and have a plan to measure progress. The entrepreneurs behind the most successful SMEs don’t figure everything out on their own, they often reach outside of their core team, circle of friends and family to find unbiased and industry-specific support for the next phase of their business.

During Small Business Week, the Whistler Open Forum showcased these local leaders to share personal stories of how mentorship and partnership helped them dream bigger and accomplish more than they ever thought possible.

The power of partners and mentors

A few years ago, Louise and Bob Van Engelsdorp had a vision to bring Epsom salt float pods to Whistler. A new trend at the time, this sensory deprivation experience required a large capital investment but was a tough sell for a typical lending institution. After hearing about non-profit Community Futures Howe Sound, Louise called to pitch her idea. They coached her to a stronger business plan and soon after, a deal was struck and West Coast Float opened its doors in December 2013. For Louise, the road to becoming an entrepreneur has been full of twists and turns, but Community Futures has continued to provide invaluable mentorship and guidance along the way.

When Nicolette Richer made the leap from policy developer to entrepreneur, she did so with a clear vision, solid business plan and an incredible amount of energy fueled by green juice. The Green Moustache moved forward using her own savings, creative bootstrapping, a retail partnership with 3 Singing Birds and an investment from Futurpreneur. Over the last two decades, non-profit Futurpreneur has provided financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18 through 39 across Canada. With their advice, Nicolette expanded to a second location in Vancouver and is collaborating with an expert to accelerate growth across North America through a franchise model.

Co-Founders Joe Facciolo and Skai Dalziel already had a successful business, Whistler Tasting Tours, when they decided to pivot from hospitality into the tech sector with Guusto, a mobile platform that sends food or beverage gifts to your contacts at restaurants in over 250 Canadian cities. Starting with investment and mentorship from Futurpreneur and additional coaching from a tech accelerator, the entrepreneurs then became the first BC-based company to successfully raise funds through equity crowdfunding. Unlike traditional crowdfunding that solicits donations, equity crowdfunding involves startups selling shares directly to investors so Guusto’s early adopters and loyal customers can have a stake in the game. Next up for Joe and Skai: making a pitch for further investment on CBC’s Dragon’s Den November 11.

Sometimes, entrepreneurs need another set of eyes to see the road ahead. These made-in-Whistler successes are textbook examples of how small businesses can launch and thrive with the right level of partnership, investment and mentorship.

Have an idea for a business networking event we should host in Whistler? Contact us and we’ll see if we can line it up at the next Whistler Open Forum.

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BEYOND BOOTSTRAPPING: ENTREPRENEURIAL LESSONS FOR LAUNCHING AND REACHING NEW HEIGHTS

Leveraging The power of partners and mentors

Launching an enterprise and getting it off the ground is a great accomplishment. Laying a foundation to grow or become a market leader is the next step. Owners often get side-swiped with operational tasks and day-to-day challenges, and by year-end, the plan for next year or the road ahead might be an afterthought. Once a business is off the ground, almost every entrepreneur is faced with a crossroad. When you’re stuck and don’t know which path is the way forward, outside advice and mentorship can break down barriers and offer clarity.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the cornerstone of the Canadian economy. Those SMEs that are successful have a few things in common according to a BDC study of small business. The top three predictors of success: innovate, ask for outside advice and have a plan to measure your progress.

Top 3 predictors of SME success: innovate, ask for outside advice, have a plan to measure… Click To Tweet

At the next Whistler Open Forum during Small Business Week, hear personal stories of how partnerships helped local business owners dream bigger, aim higher and accomplish more than they ever thought was possible.

Get inspiration from our panel of entrepreneurs who have leveraged partnerships and investment to gain recognition, create opportunities and achieve excellence in their industries.

After this event, walk away with practical ideas and tips to:

  • Attract the right partners to move forward and achieve business objectives;
  • Harvest your potential through mentorship on best practices, shared knowledge and meaningful connections;
  • Better understand options for financial support, whether through traditional institutions or alternative investors.

Join Seeds Consulting, Lighthouse Visionary Strategies and Local Whistler as we get the inside track on the power of partnerships, mentoring and investment from these Whistler-based business owners:

The panel will share their lessons learned from opening a new flotation therapy experience in Whistler, launching a juice bar that is expanding through with franchisees, and advancing growth of a gift-giving app through a unique crowdfunding model.

Over the past five years, the Open Forum Speaker Series has offered the business community something a little different. Our mission is to offer intimate, compelling and authentic events that inspire, support and connect entrepreneurs. Every entrepreneurial leader who attends walks away with tangible tools they can apply to their business venture. These tools don’t just sit on the corner of someone’s desk since Open Forum events are enhanced with meaningful connections and networking opportunities to create support and build confidence propel their business forward.

Space is limited so reserve your seat today!

Date/Time:  Wednesday, October 21 / 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Location:  Nita Lake Lodge Library

Tickets: Don’t miss out. Click here to purchase.