MIKE MICHALOWICZ (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings, he systematically bootstrapped a multimillion-dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; a former small-business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; MSNBC’s business makeover expert; a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and the author of the cult classic book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan, has already been called “the next E-Myth!” For more information, visit
As a business owner, it can be easy to throw on the blinders and focus exclusively on profitability. But what if becoming permanently profitable and supporting the causes closest to your heart could go hand in hand? Social entrepreneurship can actually boost your employee retention rate and their productivity at the same time.
Nowadays, people (especially young people) want to do meaningful work, something that translates into more than just a 9-to-5 job. When you blend your company’s for-profit goals with larger societal aims, your employees will feel more accomplished and satisfied with how they’re using their time.
Still, your mission doesn’t have to be solely about donating money. Here are some creative ways for you and your team to incorporate humanitarianism into your day-to-day work life.
1 Teach classes at your local community center. Everyone on your team has some specific skill related to your industry. Equipped with this knowledge, your team can run a workshop at a nearby community center. You might be surprised how many people will find this useful.
2 Switch from paper to digital. Not only will this minimize your environmental impact, but you’ll save money on printing costs. This extra change could be donated to charities that combat the effects of deforestation, such as the Jane Goodall Institute or Plant a Billion Trees.
3 Buy locally. If you want to support your fellow local businesses, take part in Small-Business Saturday. As a team, make a list of the businesses you want to patronize and take turns leaving them reviews. This also encourages cross-promotion between your company and these other businesses.
4 Referral program. This strategy is a win-win. If you want to boost your number of customer referrals, advertise a deal in which your company donates $30 to a charity of your choice for every referral. This will quickly build your reputation, not only for a quality service or product, but for your socially conscious practices.
5 Offer your services. Or, you could always go with classic pro bono work. Offer your services to one or two potential clients who are lower income or otherwise disadvantaged. Create teams to tackle these cases each quarter, on the clock. Although you’ll lose a bit of money to opportunity cost, the inspiration and enhanced productivity your employees will experience will more than make up for it.
Don’t underestimate the immense impact socially responsible entrepreneurship can have on your office culture, employees and the world at large. For your team, it can be the extra motivation they need to truly tap into their passion and drive. Denise Blasevick saw these results firsthand in her own company, and we’ve seen them at Profit First Professionals in our mission to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty. It could also be the solution for you.