A Happier & More Profitable Future

  • Sep 17, 2019

 Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters

What would happen if we all took the brave step to create the world that we want to live in? A world where it is not only okay to choose to be happy but where happiness is encouraged and enriches your bank account. 

The world can be better. It can be a place where happiness is elevated and good acts are rewarded. You can make it happen. I can make it happen. Businesses can and are making it happen by prioritizing sustainability, ethical business relationships and investing in employees and their communities.

The financial data has been telling us for years that being good to your employees, your community and your supply chain can lead to more profit.  If we think of capitalism in terms of game theory, being generous leads to others being generous in return. Being a good community partner, leads to consumers wanting to support your business. It’s the best type of vicious cycle – vicious happiness. 

This summer business delivered bold action and took positive steps to create  good in the world while increasing profit. 

Business Roundtable took the bold step to re-frame the purpose of business in the U.S. The new purpose for business is to take the lead on sustainability and prosperity by creating long term value for consumers, employees, suppliers, and communities. 

181 CEOs signed the Business Roundtable statement to re-define corporate responsibility as benefitting society and move corporate responsibility away from a laser focus on shareholders. This phenomenal shift makes for a better world and higher profits. 

Another bold step was taken by car manufacturers, who were dissatisfied with federal government action on emissions.  Car manufacturers approached the State of California and worked toward a standard agreement on emissions. This outside the box thinking improved business and our communities.

I’m going to let you in on a secret…. Good things can and do happen. This ideal world where people do good things and capitalism is no longer a dirty word whispered in hushed corners, isn’t a pipe dream from a Swede longing for her mother country. It’s happening and it’s happening in the heart of capitalism.

Welcome to the future where we’re happy and we’re profitable. 

Ways to Find New Partners and Amplify Your Impact

  • Aug 14, 2019

We were asked to compile a list of the best ways to find new partners for mission-driven businesses looking to increase their impact, while staying focused on their business. Rather than keep those creative ideas close to the vest, we wanted to share.

  • Talk to your competitors. It may not seem intuitive, but by collaborating around goals of mutual interest, you save time and money, and combine forces to address your goals together.
  • Find nonprofits that are working on similar goals. To access funding, nonprofits often need private sector partners to join forces. They are set up to receive funds that can be allocated to your business for social impact goal development and implementation.
  • Talk to donors. While traditionally donors have funded nonprofits exclusively, the tide is turning, and foundations want to fund businesses that are improving social impact in areas they care about.
  • Find speaking gigs. Even at local meetups, or larger conferences, the more you get your message out about the work you are doing to address social impact goals, the more opportunities for partnership and engagement will come your way.
  • Ask your customers to get involved. From simple cause marketing tactics (add $1 to the cost of your product for a specific social impact goal) to more crowdfunding type opportunities, customers want to support socially-minded companies.
  • Consider ways your product or service could be incorporated into bigger brands or entities’ impact strategies. Partnering with bigger, more powerful companies doesn’t mean you give up autonomy. It just means you can amplify your impact and focus on profitability. (partnership does not mean buyout!)
  • Understand what your suppliers are doing. There may be ways to join forces with suppliers around a particular social impact project or program.
  • Join groups like We Mean Business (climate change) the Climate Collaborative, membership programs around the Sustainable Development Goals or programs through trade associations.
  • Learn about a new geographical region that’s important to your brand. Finding local partners can help accelerate your brand and messaging.
  • Find a mentor to learn from and share ideas with. Having a sounding board outside of your organization will help promote creative new ideas and can be a great way to test new products.
  • Be open to creative partnering. You never know when a coffee meeting with a company that is considered different or unique can lead to bigger things.
  • Find a way to survey local communities in geographies of importance to your brand. By targeting your services and products to specific needs, you have better opportunities for sales.
  • Apply for awards. There are so many new types each day and often the application isn’t onerous. The rewards can be fruitful both for impact and financially.
  • Admit where you have shortcomings and consider which types of partners could help you fill in existing gaps both for impact and for advancing your sales.
  • Find a like-minded brand to co-host a social media campaign to promote your social mission and draw visitors to your website/online store.
  • Start local. Reach out to local nonprofits or community organizations to identify opportunities for volunteerism or employee giving back days.
  • Leverage employee interests in their causes of personal interest. Dedicate each week or month to a different employee cause. Raise money and determine collectively (or in concert with the cause) how it can be utilized to best promote social impact.

Our thanks to guest blogger, Joanne Soneshine of Collective Impact. To learn more about Joanne’s work, go to https://www.connectiveimpact.com

The Expectation of Corporate Values

  • Jul 17, 2019

Creating and reporting on sustainability plans is no longer the exception among the world’s most successful companies. Sustainability reports are expected.

93% of the world’s 250 largest companies (in terms of revenue) are now reporting on sustainability and social impact. AMD, Xerox, Target, and Salesforce are just a few of these well-known responsible corporate citizens. 

Companies are increasingly taking a stand on social impact issues. Whether it is signing the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, the MacArthur Foundation’s CE 100 (Circular Economy) pledge, or joining the #EmbracingSustainabilityChallenge, major CEOs are jumping at the opportunity to let customers know they care.

Some corporations are moving beyond signing pledges and are creating sustainability plans. Many successful corporate social responsibility programs choose a specific issue that is carefully in alignment with the values of their employees and customers. Think HEB and education, Patagonia and the environment, or Dove’s Self Esteem Project.

By choosing a social issue that resonates with your client base and employees, your business stands to increase customer loyalty and employee engagement. Properly communicating your commitment to the issue grows your customer base.

Generations X, Y, and Z are increasingly concerned about social impact and 73% of all consumers believe that a company should do more than just offering a product or service. Customers research the sustainability, diversity, and benefits of a brand before making a purchase or becoming an employee. With Gen Z, a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers, it behooves all companies to begin social impact programs before customers choose a competitor they consider to be more in line with their values.

If your business already has a social impact, are you talking about it? Let the world know. Your company should be synonymous with your good works. 

If you’ve been waiting to implement a social impact program, the time is now to get started.

Get ahead of this growing movement. There are no drawbacks to doing good in the world. 

Environmental Sustainability Drives Profit

  • Jun 19, 2019

“Let’s Keep Austin Weird” has long been the ethos of Austin, Texas.  Live here long enough and weird just becomes normal. Even outsiders who might more readily see Austin’s weirdness, would likely agree that when Austin smelled like the sea during the summer of 2017, weird had reached a new level.

Hurricane Harvey, which sat over Texas for 4 days and dumped 60 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast delivered the smell of the sea 200 miles inland to Austin. It was bizarre, that’s for sure. Quirkier than the naked unicyclist.

Was Hurricane Harvey an aberration? Who knows. I do know that it seems like some part of the world is always being hit by a new record breaking weather event. Our new reality is full of record breaking weather.

Since none of us mere mortals control mother nature, what can we do to protect our businesses from increasingly severe weather?

Accept that mother nature is going to do some really weird things; Use data & technology to our advantage to meet changes in supply chains, financial complications, or business disruptions caused by weird weather; Adapt to the new normal of weird weather by thinking and planning based on what business will look like and what it will need; and Be flexible.

Businesses are starting to talk about adapting to unusual weather. The business academics, like MIT Sloan School, are planning for how businesses should rethink financial risk during weird weather events. This is a savvy introduction.

Politicians of all ilk are talking about adapting to and being flexible with our new normal of weird weather. In Florida, a Republican Governor appointed the first ever Chief Science Officer to find “science-based solutions” to environmental concerns. Let’s not care if they are motivated by tourism dollars or a love of the environment. Let’s relish that a positive, sustainable outlook is winning.

No need to panic when you’ve planned accordingly. Let’s get ahead of this trend and make strategic decisions today.

The world isn’t ending. We’re adapting. We’re planning. We’re making sustainable choices that also sustain profitability.

Caring for Employee Mental Health: Increased Productivity/Profit

  • Jun 04, 2019

Who among us hasn’t worked in a stressful environment? An environment where there wasn’t a spare moment to recharge your mind? 

During my nonprofit career, while barely making a living wage, I was often expected to promptly reply to texts and emails at all hours on my personal cellphone. I’ve been screamed and cursed at in front of coworkers and told to cancel doctor’s appointments while pregnant to attend last minute work meetings. Unfortunately, I doubt this is the exception.

Research indicates that it lowers morale, increases stress levels for workers and greatly reduces productivity as well as profits globally. According the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the three top European countries for hours worked, Greece, Poland, and Hungary, are ranked last for productivity. 

Are you ready for the GOOD NEWS? Employers who militantly overwork their employees are considered antiquated and unconcerned about profitability. 35% of large and mid-size businesses in the U.S offer stress-reduction programs. Many promote work-life balance, encouraging employees to disconnect after hours, take 2-3 week vacations, and take lunches away from their desks. Some top Fortune 500 companies offer bonuses for employees who use all of their vacation time, take their allocated days off to volunteer, and disconnect. Other companies offer onsite yoga, meditation, or wellness programs.

You might ask, why would a business encourage employees to work less? Because more studies show that productivity AND profit is attributable to quality of time working NOT quantity of time working. 

According to the World Health Organization, “workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.” 

Alternatively employers that do not implement stress-reduction programs to promote mental health and encourage work-life balance will suffer from a whopping 65% of employees being distracted 31-50 hours a week while at work! That number is astounding, but I believe it. I admit to spending time crying in the bathroom after being verbally abused by a supervisor -not exactly the most productive behavior.

During mental health month, we encourage all employers to do what we’ve always known to be the right thing – be kind. When you treat your employees kindly, they treat you well. Businesses want their employees to have a vested interest in the company’s success.

Kindness goes a long way folks – for mental health AND profits!

Impact: Results Matter. Reporting is a MUST

  • May 13, 2019

Corporate Social Responsibility ROI

Impact reporting associated with any philanthropic gift, provides funders with valuable data to demonstrate social and marketing ROI to your clients, investors, and board members. It also helps set common goals for your business and the partnering organization from the beginning of the relationship. Reports associated with funding motivates organizations to work efficiently with your funds to ensure requirements and expectations are met. 

Transparency and clearly established expectations are key to any successful relationship, including a philanthropic partnership. When all parties understand the goals of the partnership and can move forward accordingly, the likelihood of success is much higher. 

From my experience, even the most malfunctioning of organizations fear of having to repay an unfulfilled grant or the possibility of being blacklisted by a funder. For ten years I have worked on the asking side of philanthropy. While working for various nonprofits, I have written grants, thank you letters, reports, and researched prospective donors. 

This experience working at some of the best organizations and with great funders, taught me a lot. I learned the best players in the world of social impact are extremely intentional. Whether a multi-national oil and gas company or a local foundation, some funders just know how to get the best return on their investment when it comes to philanthropy. 

These funders understand that prioritizing impact reporting is key to identifying and conveying the results that matter most to a company’s stakeholders. If your business wants to make a substantial and positive social impact, require reporting. The information you obtain will help your stakeholders visualize the impact of your social investment strategy and motivate the organization to meet the goals you set.

Reports don’t have to be long and complex to convey an impact. Impact reporting can be as simple as a one-page questionnaire.

By establishing pre-set reporting criteria with an organization, you are setting your partner organization up to succeed based on how you define success. This will provide the foundation for a long-term philanthropic partnership based of trust and impact.

Doing Good IS Good Business Strategy

  • Apr 17, 2019

I’ll let you in on a secret, as much as I love organic gardening at home, there are times when the local pizzeria gets delivered for dinner. Life happens. I accept it, plan for it, and embrace it.

It’s crucial for successful businesses to plan for life happening too. People, who you trust, can make mistakes. The improbable can occur. When you’re a business, instead of speed dialing the local pizzeria, you need a strategic plan to be your guide as you navigate roadblocks.

The amazing ability to make obstacles and crises manageable is the magic of strategic planning. When tension, stress, and emotions are high, your strategic crisis management plan makes you feel like you’ve got this. Because you know, what? With smart planning, you absolutely got this!

Start today by talking about the good your business is doing. Let the world know that your business has high safety standards, is green, or is a beacon for ESG investors because of your diverse board. 

You hold all the power to tell the world that your business does good and is socially conscious. There’s step one to your strategic crisis plan. Go forth and conquer the good.

Protecting your business and its reputation is serious, but you don’t have to be intimidated by it, we’ve got you. BeeHive is your safe space.

Why BeeHive?

  • Feb 15, 2019

Why BeeHive? 

In 2004, we were two overachievers working in the Texas State Capitol. We’re loyal by nature and stayed in touch for 15 years. Today we are two overachieving, loyal business partners, sharing our love of doing good in the world while building successful businesses. 

Tessa is the foreign born, strategic, business-minded attorney, who began consulting on public, legal and government affairs in 2012 and has been a working licensed attorney for two decades.

Sarah is the native Houstonian, passionate about helping others, driven to create a positive social impact, who found herself at home in the nonprofit world for more than a decade.

If you ask us, we will each say the other is the yin to our yang.

In 2018, fate stepped in and we were lucky to work together on a project that will bring people together and help the world. Working together on a social impact project made us the happiest we’ve ever been! 

Now here we are freshly minted partners in BeeHive Partners. Every day is an exciting adventure. We are building positive impact for our clients while fueling their financial growth. It’s our happy place.

We want you to love what your business does too!

Our magical combination, Tessa’s strategic, attorney mind and Sarah’s intense focus on social impact in a digital world, is the perfect mix. With insights from the business world, the nonprofit world, 10+ years of knowing funders’ expectations, and navigating the plethora of rules and laws, we strategize ways to incorporate social good and profit for companies.

You can count on us for positive vibes on social media, examples of successful social impact via e-newsletter, and a monthly blog post with advice on how to make your company’s social impact. 

We look forward to staying connected with you on this journey for good. 

Sending positive vibes,

Tessa & Sarah