Small Business Financial Article
Rich Best has spent 28 years in the financial services industry, as an advisor, a managing partner, directors of training and marketing, and now as a consultant to the industry. Rich has written extensively on a broad range of personal finance topics and is published on several top financial sites. Recent books include The American Family Survival Bible and Annuity Facts Revealed: What You MUST Know Before You Invest.

How to Create Shared Economic Value

How to Create Shared Economic Value

Many people who sacrifice their time, energy, and resources to build a business do so because they seek a higher purpose in their lives. They derive immense satisfaction knowing they are contributing to the betterment of society in addition to their own prosperity. It’s where they find their passion, and it’s the legacy they leave behind. For people with a purpose, life is better and more gratifying. What if you could use that purpose to create shared economic value–a way to amplify your influence and contributions to create greater societal value.

Expanding Your Value as a Contributor to Society

Creating greater societal value is not just about social change. It’s about increasing society’s capacity to drive positive economic and social progress. Even more so than charitable organizations, businesses can be a driving force for creating a level of economic value that can transform a community. When businesses can get more people involved, including their staff, customers, and community members, they can create an ever-expanding circle of economic value, like the butterfly effect, to produce a sustainable pattern of societal progress for everyone involved.

The great part is that creating shared economic value is not complicated, and it doesn’t necessarily require additional resources. However, it does require a different perspective of success and how you define it. Businesses typically define success in terms of profits. Those who want to expand the value of their profits look at them in terms of the total economic value they can create.

Leveraging Your Good Will for Maximum Value

Creating shared economic value doesn’t have to cost you a dime. You could benefit your community by donating a portion of your profits, which most businesses do. But, when you mail a check, that is a "cost" (albeit a deductible cost). Though charitable contributions are welcomed and appreciated, they don’t necessarily produce any real economic value beyond the check amount. The return to your business is limited to some temporary goodwill.

Shared economic value provides businesses with the opportunity to showcase services and resources in ways that the best-intentioned government and social agencies can’t match. Along the way, businesses earn the respect of their employees, customers, and communities. It can also change the perspective that profits are a bad thing.

Instead, you can use your profits to create opportunities for learning, skill development, volunteering, increasing financial literacy, or sponsoring a charitable event or community cause. If you provide products or services that can improve people’s lives in your community, you can offer free access along with educational workshops. You can leverage the economic value of your profits by creating a pay-it-forward mentality when you encourage attendees to reach out to others in the community for an opportunity to gain free access to your products or services.

We live in a world made up of patchwork communities and societies, so we are a part of something bigger than us, whether we know it or not. But we do have a choice of whether our participation is intentional or not. Given the tools, resources, and platform that empowers us as business owners, we have an obligation to use them deliberately for doing good.

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