Any successful business is special.

They figured out a way to provide a product or service that people want badly enough to pay for it.

Not only that, they figured out a way to provide that product or service in a manner that is cheaper than what they charge you for it. Sometimes we take the concept of “profit” for granted, but it is much harder than we give it credit for.

A Social Business is really special because their mission is to do good and make a profit. As if making a profit wasn’t hard enough on its own.

So, what is a social business? Is it any corporation that gives money away? While there are many definitions of a “social business” – the short answer is “no.”

A social business has a social component in its mission. In other words, it’s ”baked in.”

Toms Shoes: A Social Business Example

Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Toms Shoes is an example of a social business – you buy a pair of shoes, they give one away. One of our partners, Benevolence LA, is a social business; for each piece of jewelry you buy, they give a substantial amount away. It is a part of their mission. It is who they are.

A business that gives 1% of profits away on a typical year is not a social business because what happens if they have a bad year? Oftentimes, the money is not given away.

What about Tom Shoes, or Benevolence LA? They still honor their mission – it is who they are. To them, not giving a pair of shoes away, or not giving money away, is just as crazy as apple not selling iPhones anymore.

That is what makes a social business so special.


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