How Businesses (Especially the Small Ones) are the next Changemakers in the World

Collins Hume was simply another boutique accounting firm based in Ballina, a town with a population of just 25,000, 180 kilometers from Brisbane, Australia, serving small-to-medium size businesses based in the region. They were always good at what accountants did.

But something extraordinary happened to them in 2011. And now, they are a company which wins awards after awards each year. They are frequently featured in local publications for the contributions they make to the community and in the world.

What happened to Collins Hume and its team shows the shift every business can actually take in today’s changing world. But most businesses still don’t see this tremendous opportunity.

In this post, we’ll decode the journey of these uplifting transformations our businesses can experience to become… a true force for good.

The Power of Small Businesses

Since the dawn of time (for at least the past 10,000 years), the human world has been pretty much driven by trades.

When our ancestors discovered how to use tools to cultivate, collect and store useful resources for their future security and abundance, they started to trade things with each other. The world of trading gave people more variety, stability, comfort and enjoyment.

While many things changed in the world through wars, global settlements, political and environmental changes, businesses prospered in every community. Beyond racial, religious and cultural differences, popular business practices started to spread to all parts of the world, impacting the way people live everywhere.

Today, there are millions of businesses driving every economy. And while some large corporations grow to dominate some of the industries, most of the firms around the world are small-and-medium-sized businesses.

Today, more and more micro-businesses are starting up. In the UK alone, 663,616 new businesses are registered in 2016. It’s never been easier to start one. And being small doesn’t mean powerless any more. Innovative small businesses are starting to change our lives in so many ways.

Things happen in amazing ways in this new world. Today, you and your business have the unlimited potential to create a change that you never thought possible.

The Vastness of Problems

Businesses normally start because the founders of those businesses see specific opportunities or problems. Every day, people around the world are faced with so many challenges. So, the opportunities for businesses to solve those challenges are endless too.

But the problems of the world seem to be getting bigger. As technology evolves and gives us greater power to solve some of the most pressing issues, we also start to see far bigger problems that we cannot solve….yet. And when we solve one problem, it often seems to create another.

And in the vastness of those problems, individuals (and small business owners) like you and I can feel very small and powerless. And because many people feel powerless, they end up only thinking about their own wellbeing and survival in this complex world.

People today do not have a lot of time too. The average attention span of individuals is reducing dramatically (by 50% in the past decade). As more people suffer the stress and decision overload, finding time to tackle world’s big problems seems to be impossible.

But this is about to change.

The Sustainable Development Goals for the New World

The United Nations along with some of the global leaders coming from diverse backgrounds launched the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015. At first, many didn’t really realise the implication of this new set of goals (many people, in fact, still do not know about these goals).

The main implication is that now you and your business are included in the implementations of these goals in your business and life. And it can start from doing something very simple.

These goals do not promise that there is one way to change the world. Instead, they admit and accept the fact that truly sustainable change can come from diversity. The diverse approaches tackling world’s issues in very different ways together can bring real sustainability to all of us. The goals also honour businesses large and small in the realisation of this new world.

What You Can Do as a Business

If you happen to be a decision-maker of a massive corporation, then you can be participating in the conversation for refining these goals and to change the way your industry operates through policy changes.

As a small business owner though (this is more likely), there are many things you can implement: finding your niche to participate in one or more of the SDGs, or reducing the negative impact that your business may have through the use of resources, choice of supply chains or waste disposal… And all these do not have to happen in one go. You can take many small baby steps to make your business more sustainable, more caring, and more impactful.

At our organisation B1G1, we also decided to become a B Corp to evaluate and improve our internal processes and policies. As a global giving initiative, our core mission is already to create a world that’s full of giving. But there is much more we can do as a Social Enterprise. So, becoming a B Corp and working on increasing our third-party rating with a specific certification model seemed another way to make us be even more accountable.

It’s all about lifting our awareness continuously – so that we can do more as we grow.

How wonderful that no one need wait  a single moment to improve the world.”

– Anne Frank

And now, let me get back to the story behind the boutique accountancy, Collins Hume.

Business Can Be Different

David Keith and Peter Fowler of Collins Hume decided to join B1G1 in 2011.

Since then, they have been actively contributing to a large variety of causes that we’ve introduced to them. Their accountancy now boasts 9,080,054 impacts on their B1G1 account. These impacts include 308,425 days of access to life-saving water, 7,680 school meals for undernourished children to continue schooling and 9,148 bricks towards building schools. And what is more amazing is that all these impacts are connected with one or more Sustainable Development Goals. The thing is, they didn’t stop at being a giving business in this way. The feeling of making a difference with their regular giving not only made them want to do more (to give more), but also drove them to grow even more as a company, to influence many other businesses to start giving and impacting lives.

Today, Collins Hume even displays their dedication to the Sustainable Development Goals on the wall, sets their own quarterly goals based on the positive impacts they want to create and very actively encourages their clients to be part of the positive change they want to create in the world.

Some might see something like this with a sense of skepticism; that businesses only implement CSR for own benefits. But this is more than CSR now. For those who see the picture of this new world, this is truly our very personal responsibility – to leave the beautiful world to our children and grandchildren.

Accountants can be parents, friends and just simple individuals who care. So as anyone else in any profession.

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Small Impact Can be Easy to Make

Saying no to a plastic bag, carrying own food container, changing your air-con setting by one degree, spending one weekend volunteering, reducing the printing you do at your office, giving one dollar to a great project that impacts lives (and doing this for every transaction)….

Many of these do not take too much effort. But together if every business in the world did just a little more, we really can change the world together.

And before we change the world, we would be surprised to see how our small efforts to create a sustainable world actually changes our business. For good.

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Want to find out if adding impactful giving to your business is right for you? Simply request our free tailored Giving Plan here. This includes a 10-minute one-on-one consultation with us and a step-by-step guide customised for your business that gives you an idea on how you can effectivelu include giving into your business.

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