There are so many obstacles a startup has to consider. There are so many things to take into account. The greater good and philanthropy rarely comes into conversation. Many companies see this as a preserve for successful corporations who should give back to the society that helped build them.
Nevertheless, there are those who believe social good is for everybody. I interviewed Fam Mirza, the CEO of Mirza Minds, to discover why philanthropy and social good should be a part of every startup.
AJ: Thank you for joining me today. Before we get into the meat of this subject, could you inform my readers about what Mirza Minds does?
Mirza: Of course. I am the CEO of Mirza Minds and I believe that every company has a responsibility to do the best for society. Mirza Minds is a full service product design and branding firm. It's about allowing companies to put their best foot forward and tell the world what they are all about.
AJ: And during your work with Mirza Minds, how does philanthropy come into this?
Mirza: Philanthropy is about so much more than simply writing a check. Although this is part of it, there are so many other ways to give back. Consumers are more socially conscious than ever before. When they look at a product, they want to see more than a good deal.
Companies need to make it obvious that what they do change the world for the better, even if it's only in a small way.
AJ: So you would say it's an essential part of doing business?
Mirza: I read an article by Forbes Insights to prove this point. 45% of companies address social services and 44% address the environment in their corporate social responsibility efforts. Both of these issues are central to the economy and the society we live in.
Business relies entirely on a healthy and happy society. Capitalism flourishes when people are in this good place. It makes sense for them to give back to society because ultimately it better enables society to give to them.
It's an indirect way of generating business. And this is purely looking at things from an economic point of view.
AJ: For startups, how would you say this kick starts growth?
Mirza: It provides something that so many companies lack. It provides them with a purpose. You as the CEO may have this fantastic money-generating idea. That's great, but your employees don't really care. They get paid the same no matter how much money it makes you. They will do their jobs, but they are not going to go the extra mile for you.
However, if the CEO has come up with a product that really makes a difference in people's lives, it changes the playing field. Your employees are going to be more motivated and they're going to break their backs to get your company off the ground.
Why do you think charity employees are so different from employees working for huge corporate entities?
AJ: And what about the influence on customers?
Mirza: That's a relatively easy question to answer because the new generation of consumers is more socially conscious. Study after study says that a customer would stick with a brand in times of recession if they were committing to social good.
You are creating more loyal customers simply by concentrating on making the world a better place. The best thing is any company can do this.
AJ: How would a startup get started without potentially hampering their growth?
Mirza: Of course, you can be too generous and you can spend too much time on these side projects. Every company has to concentrate on its core business first. However, the 1-1-1 model is a popular one for startups. This is where you pledge to dedicate 1% of your profits, 1% of your equity, and 1% of your employee's time to philanthropic efforts.
This may not sound like a lot, but it can make a huge difference. What I personally love about this is it scales depending on the size of your company. 1% of a startup may be a drop in the ocean, but 1% of a corporation amounts to millions of dollars.
I believe that starting with philanthropy early on in your business's life is the key to a long and fruitful relationship with you customers.
AJ: I would like to thank you for speaking to my readers today and educating them on the need for startups to embrace social good.