Junglandia with Scout Group 201. January 2012

The first 5 principles I learned on doing business.

What started out as a business plan for a business class assignment in 2010, turned out to be what I would dedicate my life to for more than 4 years and introduced me to my first principles of doing business.

I discovered that climate change was one of the biggest concerns kids had, so I decided to create a business plan around that finding. While the assignment eventually ended, the business plan remained, until my business, Junglandia, was profitable. We established magazines, school camps, conferences, kids’ shows, an online game, and much more. This was all done with the purpose of entertaining, while teaching kids about environmental issues.

Life eventually got in the way, and I went on to do other things, but Junglandia led me to my first principles of how I believe a business should do business.

1. Profit as a tool, not a goal.

The nature of any for-profit organization is to make a profit, therefore, profit should not be set as a goal, much less as the purpose. I believe in profit as a tool to produce good, and doing so can be done in multiple ways: giving employees an extra bonus, giving back to society and support NGO’s, or even spending time with family and traveling. The goal should be to travel, not have money to travel. The goal is to give a donation, not the amount you will give. Use profit as a tool to achieve a higher, more impactful goal.

2. Quality, not quantity.

Sadly, we are in a constant search of how to make things cheaper, rather than of great quality. This mindset has led to many (if not all) major crises in the world today by exploiting people and nature with the obsession of growth and greed. The end doesn’t justify the means though; I believe that how we do things matters a lot more than how much we make.

3. Customers come third.

Unlike several business schools, I believe the customer should always be the third priority. The first priority are the employees, and the second priority are suppliers, as they both are (in a sense) the first customers who bought your vision. Teach your employees by example; show your employees that how you treat them is how they should treat customers. Respect suppliers by paying them fairly and on time, so they will respect your product’s delivery time and quality. Remember, before you get any customer, you need a product and sales. Sales are your employees and products are your suppliers.

4. Be a 100 years old

Behave like you would still be in business a 100 years from now. Never do anything for the short term that would jeopardise the long term. I believe responsibility and honesty are the two most important values for a sustainable business. Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes; the difference is how we behave and respond to them. Being responsible and honest is the best way to achieve long term success.

5. Use business to make a change

I believe all businesses have a responsibility in making a positive change in people’s lives. All businesses solve a specific problem for a specific group of people anyway.

Business is a two way street: what you gain, you give. Build products and services that allows your customers, employees, and suppliers be better people. Inspire customers, employees, and suppliers to be better people.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

DoGoodFirst.com is a journey on how to build businesses that make the world a better place. Nothing is written in stone, and we know we are far away to making it fully right, but we are prepared to take the journey.

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