Business Activist Entrepreneur

envisioning a better world through personal finance and entrepreneurship


007: No One Cares About Your Mission As Much As You

no one cares about your mission as much as you

Listen Here and Now for Mission-Driven Business Tips

In this James Bond inspired episode, we discuss your mission and how it relates to customers, employees, and to improving quality and service.

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Quotable of the Week

“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” – Ray Goforth

First of all, isn’t Goforth an awesome surname?!?  There are definitely these types of people out there.  We’re here to build a spirit of collaboration and help you succeed at making a difference.  Go forth and do some great stuff!


Highlights from the Episode

  • Customers are the lifeblood of any business – including activist businesses.  A business without customers is just a hobby. 
  •  We thought we’d share some behind the scenes of how we think about our customers as an activist business.  The goal is to inspire you in your own thinking about your customers.

Customer Profiles: Business Plan Phase

  • There’s a part of your business plan when you write about your target customers.  Initially, I had a hokey listing of customers who I knew would love Overflow Coffee Bar.  But it was a good starting point in falling in love with the people we knew would love our social enterprise.  
  • Here’s the full disclosure.  Just remember that we changed this fairly quickly after the initial writing.
    • Our top customers were Earthly Emma, Artsy Andy, Giving Gertrude, and Studious Sally.  
    • Second customers included Mommy Mary, Business Barney, Dog-Walking Dan, Espresso Edward, and Caffeine Carla.
    •  We also has people who were likely not our customers – Penny-Pinching Patty, Skeptical Sam, and Elderly Esmeralda.  
  • I totally admit, this is not our best work but it was a starting point.  Remember, you have to start somewhere.  Start with what you can do and you’ll learn and perfect from there.

Customers Profiles: After You’re In Operation

  • What surprised me is that a lot of our customers simply came and continue to come because it’s convenient.  They didn’t exactly fit the profiles – some not even close. 
  • I’m a recovering perfectionist and deep down I secretly want everyone to support the mission.  So, after a couple years of noticing this and it bugging me a little, I decided to do something about it.
  • Clearly and definitely, I didn’t want to deter any customers.  I do want to make money.  Plus, I understood those who don’t come because of the mission still and most definitely support the mission with their purchases.  Moreover, we get the opportunity to share the mission with them – especially when they join our email list.
  • I went from thinking about it to talking it over with some really smart people.  After a time, I came to think of my customers in terms of concentric circles.  Here’s how it goes:
    • largest circle – everyone who lives or comes within 1 mile of Overflow
    • 2nd largest circle – customers – anyone who has made at least 1 purchase
    • smaller circle – frequent customers – come at least a few times per month
    • smallest circle – insiders – spend a good amount of money with us and highly believe in our mission
    • It’s a little more complicated than that.  For example, there are people who believe in our mission but have only been a customer once.  There are also people who spend a good amount of money with us but are still skeptical of our mission.
  • The major lesson here is that that larger the outer circles become the greater the probability that the inner circles will grow larger too.  
    • This has really influenced my marketing and advertising decisions.  
    • It boils down to a mindset shift from linear thinking to thinking in terms of these circles.
  • From here, we talk about how this applies to employees, vendors, our bank, and our social network.

Final Thoughts

  • Finally, we wrap up talking about balancing quality products and customer service with your mission.  Really, we end up concluding that increasing your mission and quality go hand-in-hand in helping you grow your activist business.
    • You HAVE to have a high quality product and customer service.
    • You HAVE to keep you mission central as HOW you create such a high quality product.
    • They go hand-in-hand like a dance.

Check out Not Your Average Financial Podcast here.

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