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December 24 2010

The Face of Business is Changing and This Could Change the World

When Dean and I started the Race to a Million we did a little research. We wanted to know what the average person thought about business and entrepreneurs. We knew that people, including ourselves, have a tendency to socialize and interact with like minded individuals who think like they do..  We needed to know what other people thought about business that were not necessarily like us, others who were not part of our sphere of influence.

Boy, did we get a shock! We managed to find a lot of people who were neither business people nor entrepreneurs. But we thought they should be. These people, like us, love to be creative. They care about their friends, family and community. They are enthusiastic. They like to have fun. These people work tirelessly on school PACs, cadets groups, card making and scrap-booking groups, and fund-raising committees for children’s sports groups. What we learned from many of them contained some surprises for us.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was that many of these enthusiastic, creative, and caring people truly believe that you can not succeed in business without being ruthless, cutthroat and self-centered. They had stereotyped business people according to the negative and sensational examples of the heartless, cold and calculating millionaire celebrities we all love to hate. I heard time and again that these people wouldn’t want to enter into business because they wouldn’t like the person they would have to become.

95% of our economy is driven by small business entrepreneurs.  What would our economy look like if these people didn’t feel like this about the prospects of starting a business? They’re the creative backbone of our society! They care about people! They’re the business owners that every potential customer and every potential employee is looking for! If we could find a way to show these people that nice people don’t have to finish last – it could be a game changer.

This is one of the reasons why we started the Race to a Million and also the reason why we chose our slogan, “Nice People Can Finish First”.

Yesterday, I was a little disturbed with a related sentiment posted by a reader on our website. It was in reference to Team Genie’s project which they have apply named the Kids Coffee and Tea Company. Here’s what the comment says:

  • Are they using sympathy for children to cash in? Boo. What a sick program all together. Shame on all of you sick people. Money is your god.”

Here was my response:  (click here if you want to see the full dialogue – it’s at the bottom of the page when you follow the link)

  • In my opinion I believe Team Genie has chosen a good avenue to align and promote their brand of coffee. They have chosen to support causes for children in three different ways: 1) in support of children from farming families where the coffee comes from … 2) in support of Make-A-Wish foundation (Team Genie’s primary charity of choice) in order to grant wishes for children with a terminal illness and 3) as a fund raising opportunity for kids school, sports and recreational groups. Are they using sympathy to cash in? I don’t think so. Rather I believe they are giving consumers a choice to support a coffee brand that does more than just line its shareholders pockets with money. Money is not their God. They are making a difference and I for one am proud to be associated with what they are attempting to do.

I think this is another example of people assuming that making a profit and running a business is dirty. We should not be shying away from realizing our dreams of supporting our families and making a difference in the world. We should be embracing it! While the concepts of socialism and communism are noble; it’s a proven fact that they just don’t work! Communism has been a cause of oppression and hardship for millions of people generation after generation.  I think where people go wrong with capitalism is the idea behind what a business is and is not.

Look at Natalie Peace in the business tips interview we recently did. She started Booster Juice because she wanted to make a difference in the world! Who says you have to wait to become a successful millionaire before you can become a philanthropist? Why can’t we find smaller but consistent ways of making a difference as we progress in our businesses and give back to social and environmental causes as we’re on the journey? Why does everyone have to assume that our motives are bad?

The good news is not everyone feels this way. The face of business is changing in the world… it’s becoming social… it’d becoming about more than the bottom line… as Natalie says… it’s about multiple bottom lines. I invite everyone to join us! As Shaw TV’s campaign recently said “Together is Amazing!” … Together we can make a difference… contact us if you’d like to find out how you can help. We’d love to hear from you.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl