At the Fortune-Time World Forum 2016, Richard Branson issued a wake-up call to companies who believe that their greatest responsibility is to maximize shareholder return. The most successful entrepreneur in the world said that this belief is a serious mistake and that it is not up to governments to solve social problems. He told the audience, "I sincerely believe that businesses must work with the social sector to overcome the problems of the world."
It's a powerful statement. What Branson says is clear: the number one responsibility of a company is to solve problems. Not insignificant problems like discovering the next flavor of Oreo cookies, but solving problems that have an impact on people's lives – such as clean energy, world hunger and violence against women.
Not all companies have the resources to tackle such problems, and Branson responded by saying, "Small businesses need to adopt small local problems. Large companies must adopt national problems. Larger companies to adopt international problems. "
Every company is able to solve big problems
What Branson says is perfectly logical. Problems exist at every level and every business can make a difference, wherever it is. Not being able to solve hunger on a global scale is not an excuse to do nothing within your own community.
Examples of companies solving social problems
Branson, a billionaire, does not make a fortune by stimulating the return of shareholders. His net worth increases as he solves problems. If you want to achieve a high level of success, you must begin to solve problems, and here's how to do it:
1. Engineer more effective solutions for the problems you are already solving
Every business already solves a problem, even if it's small. Whatever you do now, you can bet that there is someone else who is looking for ways to do it better.
You should constantly evaluate your products or services to maximize the effectiveness of the problems you are solving. If there is nothing more you can do, do not become a gadget, as traders who invent problems to sell to people 100 different types of toothbrushes. Look deeper!
For example, if you are a business coach, you may notice that you can not push your clients beyond a certain point. This is your next problem to solve. Maybe you have to overtake yourself first. Do whatever it takes to design a solution to solve the next level of problem for the people you are already helping.
2. Have the courage to take on big projects
When you are an expert in your field, there is no substitute for what you do. People will turn to you for help, so by the time you see a potential problem, start creating the solution, no matter the size of the task.
In the field of health care, a new value-based incentive program has been implemented that remunerates providers based on the quality of care provided to Medicare patients. As if the suppliers had not yet done enough, there are now a multitude of regulations and documents that have muddled their repayment process. It would not be so difficult if the suppliers received a system to stay organized, but they were left to their own devices.
Fortunately, SA Ignite – a company that understands the complexities of repayment – has decided to step in and create an organized solution for suppliers across the United States. Systems created by SA Ignite have enabled providers to succeed with regulations such as MIPS, which translates into effective value-based care.
Prior to their solutions, 72% of people using an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system "reported that their EHR provider did not offer a specific MIPS solution, or did not know if the provider was providing a solution ".
3. Reinvent your business model to solve a larger problem
If you want to solve a big problem, your business model needs to be created in order to solve this problem. There are many examples of companies that do it.
While most businesses donate a small percentage of their profits to charity, Bombas – a company committed to making the best socks in the world – donates a pair of socks for each pair sold. Their business model is to give socks because their mission is to give socks.
Randy Goldberg and David Heath have never thought of the importance of socks before learning that socks are the most requested items in homeless shelters. Unfortunately, they also learned that there was never enough donations to meet these demands because only new socks are accepted.
The pair decided to innovate a better sock, and created its economic model to provide homeless shelters with socks at the same time.
These two entrepreneurs not only solved many of the problems that sock manufacturers had ignored for years, but they solved a bigger problem by providing more than 2 million socks to homeless shelters in 2017.
Create a business model from Scratch
Once you have decided on a problem to solve, you must create an entirely new business model.
Remember that solving big problems gets natural support. The people who created Bombas were expecting to sell a million socks by 2025, but because of what they did, their reputation helped them reach that goal in two and a half years . Six months later, they donated two million socks.
Think about these numbers. Bombas sold more than 1,000 pairs of socks a day for more than two years. It would never have happened if all they did was sell socks.
When you consider your business as a way to achieve your personal success, a sock is only a sock. However, if you consider your business as a way to make a difference in the world, a sock becomes a tool to meet an important need for millions of people.
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