Yanik Silver is a fascinating guy. He’s grown multi-million dollar businesses, hangs out each year with Richard Branson on Necker Island, has flown a MiG jet and participated in zero-gravity flights among other adventures.
But what’s even more interesting is his mission to help entrepreneurs around the world identify the true “soul” of their organizations so they can deliver an exponential impact and profound profit.
It took a few bumps in the road for Yanik to get here. After 8 years of success in the online publishing world, he started to lose enthusiasm for his business. The next iteration of his business was built around his passions, but wasn’t financially sustainable. A defining moment in his business journey came when he had to sell his Aston Martin in order to meet payroll.
These struggles ultimately led to the birth of the Evolved Enterprise, which is centred around three areas – making more, giving more, and having more fun.
Most people view those three areas and feel the need to balance them out. But Yanik has a question that every entrepreneur needs to consider – what if greater happiness, more meaningful impact, and increased profits are ALL surprisingly interconnected?
Join us for the next 10 minutes or so as we explore the ways in which you can create an Evolved Enterprise and make a lasting impact on the world with your business.
A Call to Arms
This book is a Call to Arms about transforming what a business looks like in the 21st century.
Your business is the biggest leverage point you have for making a difference in the world. You are being called to help usher in a new era of capitalism, where you use your gifts and talents to transform the notion of what a business looks like in the 21st century.
We’ll cover 11 different business models that will not only allow you to finally align the true soul of your business with impact, meaning and happiness, but you will also create more profit along the way.
The great news is that you don’t need to know exactly how you are going to accomplish what you are called to do. You just need to make the decision – right now – to take the first step. Don’t wait until tomorrow or the next day or until some imaginary time in the future when the conditions are “just right.”
Let’s get started.
The 3 Evolved Enterprise Impact Levels
Michael Porter – Harvard Business School professor and the world’s leading strategy expert – says that “Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress. Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. It is not on the margin of what companies do, but at the centre.”
As you start your journey of putting social progress at the centre of your business model, there are three levels of progress you will likely experience.
Level I is the Transactional Level. You might want to make an impact, and possibly give away a portion of your profits to charity. This is a good start, but it’s possible that this will come across as a marketing tactic (and in many cases that’s what it is).
Level II is the Transformational level, where the mission to make a difference is embedded in everything you do. At this level, the vision is used to enrol all of your stakeholders – partners, suppliers, investors, team members and customers. At this level, you are also keeping track of your social impact as well as your bottom line.
Level III is the Transcending level, where you uncover the true “soul” of your organization. At this level it is all about using leverage, platforms and interconnected ecosystems to bring about lasting change.
Now we want to show you 11 different Evolved Enterprise business models to move from transactional to transformational to transcending what business can be and explore to make your dent in the universe.
# 11 Evolved Enterprise Impact Business Models
As you begin to think about how your company can become an Evolved Enterprise, consider the following 11 impact business models and think deeply about which one you can see yourself adopting.
Model #1:Buy One Give One (B1G1)
In recent years this has become most visible example of an Evolved Enterprise, with TOMS Shoes leading the charge. For every pair of shoes that TOMS sells, they give another pair of shoes to a child in need. As of the publication date for this book, they have already given away 35,000,000 pairs of shoes. Many other companies have adopted this same model included eyewear maker, Warby Parker.
Model #2: Direct Impact
This model is all about showing where your company is making a direct impact.
A good example of this is FEED. Lauren Bush created the company with a simple concept – buy one bag and feed one child for a year in a developing country. The bag is prominently printed with the word FEED on it, which gives the buyer/donor an identity as somebody who makes a difference with their purchases. Notice here that the company becomes a vehicle for millions of other people to participate in creating change. Customers are transformed into difference makers.
As of the publication date for this book, FEED has been able to provide nearly 84 million meals globally.
Model #3: Percentage or Dollar Amount
If you are looking for a place to start, giving a dollar amount or percentage of sales is a good one. The good news is that this method almost always increases revenues for the company.
Consider Sevenly (sevenly.org), a company that is showing if you give away money with each purchase in a unique and compelling way, and give your customers a story to tell, you can make a huge impact.
Their concept is simple – they started by having $7 from each purchase towards one of their seven main areas of help. Their story is so compelling that 80% of their sales are driven by social media shares. Because of this model, they’ve been able to give over $4 million in under 4 years and are growing rapidly.
Model #4a: Donate What You Want
This is an interesting model. You give your customers the power to pay what they want. Humble Bundles – a company that sells digital packages of software or games that are available for short periods of time – has used this model to generate $50 million in sales and $20 million in charitable donations.
Model #4b: Donate Where You Want
In this model, a company will make different versions of their product, with each version including a different charity or cause to support.
1 Face Watch Company (1face.com) sells fun and fashionable watches in different colours. Each colour represents a different cause. For instance, they sell a yellow watch that supports an organization called Pencils of Promise and every five watches sold equals a years worth of education.
Model #5: “All In”
This model takes serious commitment, but the change you can create from it is huge.
Newman’s Own is the king of this model, giving away all of their profits to organizations aligned with the company’s values. From humble origins, they created a company that had given away over $300 million by the end of 2010.
Not too bad for a company that started with a salad dressing recipe.
Model #6: Source Matters
Sometimes the difference you can make in the world will come from where you source the raw materials for your products.
Yvon Chouinard has always made the environment a priority through his company Patagonia. For instance, in 1996 they switched from conventional to organic cotton, tripling their raw material costs. They did it solely because it was less harmful to the environment.
How attached is Chouinard to this mission? In 2011, his company took out a full page ad in the New York Times with the headline “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” They were trying to persuade consumers not to buy their products on Black Friday. Why? Because they wanted to encourage people to only buy what they need, not everything they want.
Model #7:Experience the Good
A new and interesting model made possible by the Internet is to auction off incredible experiences, giving the proceeds to charity. This has been a staple tactic of fundraisers at charity events, but now companies are being founded with this as their business model.
For example, Omaze is a company that works like a sweepstakes, where you donate to get a chance to win experiences like riding around in a real tank with Arnold Schwarzenegger (how cool would that be???).
Companies like these will typically give away 80% of the money raised and keep 20% of the money to fund continued operations.
Model #8: Empowered Employment
Under this model, companies work directly with underserved or marginalized communities for labour, creation and design. So instead of giving money to causes that support those people, they give those people the ability to support themselves.
One example is Mirakle Couriers (miraklecouriers.com) in India, which was founded by Dhruv Lakra. In India, anybody with a disability is discriminated against and finds little support from the government. Dhruv created a courier business that employs deaf people because it’s a job that relies heavily on vision and little on hearing. To help spread the word and increase the impact, the couriers provide educational sheets to give to customers explaining how they can help.
It’s a win for the company, a win for the disabled, and a win for the customers who get to make a difference by purchasing a service they would have to use any way.
Model #9: Co-Development
This model connects producers and buyers directly to create a better experience and impact for everybody involved. For instance, Good Eggs (goodeggs.com) operates like an online grocery story, except it connects you directly to farmers and food makers, cutting out the middle man.
It not only helps support independent producers who produce food using ethical and safer methods, it also helps get the food to your front door quicker, meaning it’s fresher and healthier for you than the food you’ll find at your local grocery store.
Model #10: Ethical Opportunity
For most of us, a little extra income makes a difference, but for those living developing countries it can be life-changing.
The Ethical Opportunity model takes the already-proven model of having independent distributors promote your products (think Amway and Avon, and more recently Stella and Dot), creating a new breed of Evolved Enterprise.
Living Goods (livinggoods.org) has brought this model to third world countries, which is transforming lives.
Here’s how Living Goods describes what they do:
“Living Goods supports networks of ‘Avon-like’ health entrepreneurs who go door-to-door to teach families how to improve their health and wealth, and sell life-changing products such as simple treatments for malaria and diarrhea, safe delivery kits, fortified foods, clean cook stoves, water filters, and solar lights. By combining the best practices from business and public health, we are dramatically lowering child mortality AND creating livelihoods for thousands of enterprising women.”
On top of this, instead of requiring their representatives to purchase a “start up kit” like almost all Avon-like companies do, they give their representatives a micro loan. This means people who would may have not been otherwise able to get started, are now starting a business that could change their lives forever.
Model #11: Ecosystem
This is a model that business are just starting to explore to create leverage and a multiplier effect for every stakeholder that gets touched by the organization.
Yanik’s friend, Ari Weinzweig, who is the co-founder of Zingerman’s, is fond of mentioning, “The healthiest ecosystems are the most diverse and complex.” Zingerman’s is a company that has built an interconnected group of related businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In 1992, after creating a successful deli that plateaued at $5 million, they had a choice. They could expand into other markets, or they could remain a small single-location provider. But the Weinzweig’s came up with a third option that would allow them to continue to grow, yet remain loyal to and serve the community they loved so much.
Their vision was to create a group of 10-12 small businesses that would operate as a group called Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. Each one would have their own unique specialty. They created a bakeshop, a mail order facility, and many other small and related businesses.
They not only created a thriving customer base for each business, but the businesses themselves become customers for one another. For instance, the baker makes all the baked goods for the Zingerman’s deli, but also sells to other retailers. Smart.
But that’s only half the story because they sell to each other, creating a built-in customer base. For example, the bakery makes all the baked goods, breads, etc., for the deli and also sells wholesale to other retailers.
The company has been so successful that it was profiled in Bo Burlingame’s best-selling book Small Giants and named by INC magazine as the coolest small business in America.
Think long and hard about how you can use the ecosystem model to enhance your business – it is one of the most powerful models you can implement.
There are many reasons you could start a business – to make money, to be free from a 9-5 corporate job or to provide for your family, all of which are reasonable goals – but Yanik Silver wants you to think bigger and to create a business that not only makes a profit, but that makes a difference in a game-changing way.
You can only do that if you think deeply about these 11 Evolved Enterprise models, and start to apply them to the very fabric of your business.
Greater happiness, a more meaningful impact and increased profits are all within your reach.
But only if you take action.
The time to start is now.