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One of the first lessons I learned as founder and CEO of Truly Free is that good understanding does not guarantee success. Years ago, when we were a startup, I had it in my head that all I needed to be successful was an unwavering vision to make a positive social impact, a must-have product, not a nice-to-have, and a light product. – website for use. Reality quickly dispelled that notion.
Anyone new to e-commerce quickly learns that having a website doesn’t mean website traffic just shows up. However, basic logistics forced us to reconsider everything – the shipping cost of our natural laundry detergent cost as much as the product itself.
We’re back to the beginning. This did not mean simply finding a solution to the immediate problem, although that was central to our endeavour. We started with the main goal of our business: to provide a safe product for families, especially children and those with specific allergic reactions to harsh chemicals and ingredients. The result was for us to completely rethink the modern laundry room and the way we did business.
Four key elements emerged as we scaled our business into a successful social impact brand. These critical components required more than good intentions and a website, but the journey—and more importantly, the results—has generated a positive social impact far beyond our original vision. Here are four ways social impact businesses can increase their brand’s purpose and bottom line
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1. Make relationship building a core competency
For us, customers are family. This approach is more than just a way of thinking – it’s our way of doing business.
With every decision, we challenge ourselves to reflect on whether we would do this for our family. Would we want our family to use a product with these ingredients? Would this offer or price be fair and something we would recommend to our families?
Every detail matters. Attention to detail can be an idea put to good use. However, when customers actually witness the attention and energy put into every detail—from their website experience to the ingredient list on the product—they begin to see your company not just for the products you make, but also for your values and mission. that are bringing you out into the world. These efforts result in transparency and authentic trust, the foundation for a solid, long-term relationship.
For example, we put every ingredient on the products so our customers can do their own research. Based on customer feedback, it has played a major role in creating the long-term relationships we aim to create with them.
Building relationships can be a one-sided initiative, but it goes a long way with every client. We understand that transactions pay the bills, but our experience proves that relationships build companies.
2. Connect people to people
Our non-toxic fabric softener dryer sheets are handmade by women rescued from poverty and trafficking. Our customers know this and resonate with this. Our customers also know that the money they spend with us goes to help women and children from trafficking, housing and feeding orphans, and even a village in Haiti that is hearing impaired.
We make it a priority for our customers to know the power of their purchase and how it positively impacts other people’s lives.
Transparency combined with purpose makes for good business. Reinforcing the human element of your business right out of the gate can quickly communicate your mission statement and strengthen your position as a business with social impact.
3. Prioritize convenience
Everyone is busy. We don’t want trouble, and neither do our customers. We may have the best of intentions, but people won’t buy into our offerings if we’re having a hard time doing business.
Brands should always prioritize convenience for every customer interaction. For example, as an e-commerce, subscription-based business, we thrive on subscriptions. If brands can make a customer’s life easier by automating an offer such as a subscription and savings model, then they should integrate it into their website, promotions and sales. At the same time, we also recognize that a new customer may not be ready to make a repeat commitment after the first brand interaction. To ensure that you are introducing options that will enable new potential subscribers to become familiar with the brand, businesses must offer a way to purchase single transactions at the checkout and a compelling offer or package that will attract them Next they try the subscription and save with no strings attached.
At first, some brands may feel that this model reduces subscriptions when it results in a “dating” opportunity, where a new customer can get to know the brand without full commitment beforehand. As a result, and if done right, your subscriber base will likely continue to grow.
By prioritizing convenience in every customer interaction, you are empowered to reduce friction and ultimately meet the unique and situational needs of each existing and potential customer.
Related: 4 Tips to Improve Customer Experience
4. Reimagine the business model
As mentioned at the beginning, logistics forced us to reimagine our business model for good. Shipping for laundry detergent costs as much as the product itself. Our initial plan was a surefire way to get out of business quickly.
What was the problem? Weight. What can be done about it? This question challenged us to approach laundry detergent in a whole new way.
Water makes up most of the detergent. Removing the water would solve the problem and help us fulfill our mission to eliminate millions of single-use plastics. This solution led us to pioneer a completely new vision of the cleaning and laundry space for homes. Today we sell refills, not giant plastic bottles that end up in landfills.
Business doesn’t have to be business as usual. A closer look at operational challenges presents opportunities to completely rethink product development. And when you look carefully at the details, you can completely reimagine the direction of your business for the better.
Related: 8 Ways to Get Your Business on the Road to Growth