Impact Goal Rush
Impact Goal Rush

Episode 15 · 1 year ago

Sue Jackson - How to Future Proof Your Business


Sue Jackson, cofounder of Future Proof Your Business talks about how businesses can be profitable and yet purpose driven.


  • Why she is launching the Future Proof Your Business
  • How to embed social impact into you business
  • Examples of how a local brewary business transformed into an impact driven business
  • How to work wtih Future Proof Your Business
  • Launching a podcast and recording the first episode

Also check out Anne Bland fellow cofounder of Future Proof Your Business on Episode 5 of Impact Goal Rush.

How do you future prove Your Business and incorporate a social mission into Your Business? That's what we will be talking about in this episode. Hello and welcome to the impact go rush podcast. This is the podcast for impact entrepreneurs. This podcast aims to amplify the voices of impact entrepreneurs, addressing the United Nations global goals, Acata sustainable development goals. Listening to fellow impact entrepreneurs on their journey in this new goal rush of making a bigger impact, get inspired to learn how to entrepreneurship, you can grow your impact to make the world a better place, leave a legacy and live a more meaningful life. I'm your host, woundtern. So. In this episode we have sue Jackson talk about how she's supporting businesses to be thinking about and putting in place plans to be creating a social mission. So so talks about the beginnings of the esthetic empowerment podcasts she's launching with her co founder. If you've missed the previous episode, we have will Richardson of green element talk about science based target initiative and the first step you can take to make your business more environmentally sustainable. So that was episode number fourteen. Welcome to the show, Sue Jackson from future proof your business. Why should businesses be more socially impact driven? Hallo, Wayne and anchifer invite to me. So why should businesses be more socially impact drive? And it's a very simply every business makes an impact on the world, whether or not they know it or they measure it, and we do that by default. So when we look at social impact, we're saying, what is the positive change that a business can make over and above the products and services that they sell and the impact they create directly on their customers or consumers, and look at what are the wider implications of the change they could create and when they actually look over and above in terms of the impact they're making in society, on the environment and in the economy, we basically what we do is help people to identify that and then work backwards and measure it so that they actually become more powerful and they actually have a much bigger and more compelling story and narrative to share with their their customers. Of Interview your core founder and learn, I believe it was the episode. So could you tell us what the future proof your business do in how did you ended up owning this business. Each approve your business is about a new way of being and doing business. And some people say, but what does that mean? But the people who are in our community are like, yes, it's time to do business differently, to be more conscious about what we're doing in business. So we're very much about sustainable businesses that make profit. So very serious about the business side, but also looking at joining that up to identify the impact that businesses can make and make sure that's positive, but also do it in...

...a very conscious, collaborative and co creative way. And it's quite an interesting story. When an and I met, it was back in February, almost a year ago, February, two thousand and twenty before lockdown, and we were on a Webinar, a zoom a zoom, meeting with with other people we knew and and we kind of notice that all the women had their cameras off and we're saying much and all the guys were had their cameras on and we're really engaging in the conversation and it you know, it's it was more the fact that we kind of thought, well, that's funny. Why are the women not showing up? Why are we not? You know, comfortable with the cameras on. So and started a conversation asking the other women, you know, why aren't your cameras on, and you why aren't you speaking up? So it wasn't that the guys were taking the time, it was just that the women weren't standing, you know, sitting up to the table, as it were, and we just had a really interesting conversation the whole group guys, you know, women. The guy that was running it was a bit perturbed because I don't think he knew where the conversation was going. But it was a really, really powerful conversation about showing up and of course, you know fast sport would a couple of months all of those women on that call were went to the zoom world and we've all been on camera ever since and, you know, sharing our voice with the world ever since. So it was just a really, really interesting, quite funny episode. You know, when we met we just realized that we had synergy between us. My business background, her social impact and social impact investing background. Just want to do business in a more fun way and more sustainable way. Cool, it's all. What was Your Business Background? When I left university I wanted to be a translator and interpreter for the UN and travel the world and there at all these global conferences. But I basically met my ex husband and we ran a business together, a power and equipment generators that grew very, very quickly. So I went into accounting and then, twenty plus years on, I've had a career in corporate finance, running my own accountancy business. So I've worked with all sizes of businesses and individuals. But in two thousand and eight I started a charity, a local charity, with a group of people and I really threw myself into this charity and saw the huge impact it could make in even in a small local community, just by people being there and seeing that people who volunteered they did it because they thought, oh, we'll give back to the community and I've got some time or I've got some money. But what they discovered was by by volunteering, by being involved, they actually got much more back than they they thought they were giving. So Ann and I were asking the question, why is it that the option seem to be either traditional business, maximizing profit, maximizing shareholder profits, cutting costs,...

...big global impact, or charity, social and enterprise, where you know it's about doing good, but the you know, in terms of the funding it's but perhaps more problematic and almost apologetic, about making money and making profit. And so we said, by not bring the two together? And whatever model you choose to have in Your Business, obviously you need to follow the legal frameworks and rules, but why not bring that passion, the desire to create positive change that charities and social enterprises have? Why not bring that into the heart of traditional business? In fact, we believe going forward in the future will see a much more integrated approach in the business world. HMM, that's interesting. For founders who are starting out, what is your advice for them, like what are the key steps to future proving of business? So I think the key steps are what they've always been in business. It's to be really clear that it's a bites, not a hobby, and that means taking responsibility for the the entity or the the business that you're going to create, because people's lives will depend on your business, not only your own. So it's a serious endeavor and it's important to except from the beginning that you're going to have to, you know, until you get the right people on board. You know, perhaps a finance director or a sales director or a an accountant or a lawyer or whatever you need in your business, that you've got to wear many hats and it's taking responsibility, and so I'd say that the starting point is to have a really good, robust plan and accept it needs to be flexible. I would say it would be, except that you need to really understand the importance of money and how it flows in your business and you need to be really open to partnerships in the general sense of if you're going to grow, finding the right people, building the right relationships for the future to grow your business. So I would say start with the end in mind, get very clear about what you have to just, you know, all those big frogs. You need to swallow whatever the phrases right at the beginning, even though you may be able to hand those over to somebody else in the future. But it is just gets serious about it. You can have fun along the way, but you need to have a really sensible and realistic plan and get a mental or coach to help you. What do you see some of the key tone just entrepreneurs that are really starting out, what are some of the key challenges do you have for in the middle of a pandemics. Obviously there are lots of challenges at the moment. I think it can be really easy to get distracted if you don't have a plan, because there's so many options out there, there's so many offers, so many people telling you you need to focus on this first. No, you know, you need to focus on getting your customers know you need to focus on this, you need to focus on that. So I think it's really important to have a view of where you're going, what your goals are and whether they're you're shooting for millions in the first year or much, much lower figure just... prove the concept. I think it's really about being open minded and starting small, proving your concept, working out what you need and being open to advice, because it's a lot of good people out there that will tell you how to grow your business. But I think perhaps one of the biggest problems at the moment, certainly in the in the social media world we're in, is that there's so much choice that it can be debilitating in terms of do I do? I do a podcast? Do I you know? Do I do this? Do I focus on Linkedin? Do I do do it? Do I do. That's start with something and really focus on that and keep it simple and and then, I think, you know, once you've proved the concept, then start looking at what else you could do. And and I would say also is always be thinking about technology right from the beginning, because I only believe, and certainly you know with my background in finance, I love tools, systems, apps that save me time, because if they save me time, they save me money. So I think that's the other thing. Whatever you do, be open to the high touch approach in terms of building relationships, but also have a high tech approach, but don't necessarily invest all your money straight away until he really understood your model, understood your customers, understood your product and your market, and then invest wisely. What are some of the things you're offering? Yeah, so we we we through last year. We threw ourselves into webinars and so I'm a planner, if you haven't guessed already. So I used to like to plan things way ahead and I've got very used to being more agile in terms of my approach. So so we've done a lot of community building over last year. So webinars and events. Our core products are three main areas. So the first is we're launching a future proof business club in February. So this is for people who want to have a monthly training, monthly point of connection and the Brilli bringing together those two folds of or those two areas of, you know, sound business systems, tools processes to help you grow your business profitably and sustainably, but then also bringing in, on the other side, how you can already, as a startup or even an established business, start really understanding how you can introduce social impact into and social impact outcomes into your business. So that that's the first thing. The second is our flagship program which we launched in October, which is social impact business by design program which is a twelve week program which we're starting on the fifth of April. Going into the future, will be launching social franchise program that's later in the year. But we also do coaching and consulting for mainly consultings mainly for organizations who are either starting... look at social impact or actually want to refresh their social impact plans and look at their stakeholders and do the whole just just look at, you know, with the outcomes and the impact they're at. They're achieving and what their plans are for the future and how they can bring their stakeholders on board to achieve that. It's really in social outcomes. Off Impact is is such a nuding I thing. People really need that. I think next month actually it's the UN's sustainable development goal reduced inequalities. It's either this month or next month. That's been featured by the UN and I'm based in the UK and not far from me there's a start up company there are a couple of years old and they started a brewery for craft beer. So I don't drink beer, but it's specialized beer and they had plans to open up not only breweries around the country but also coffee shops, and so it's about connection. So on the face of it their business is making and selling beer, but the their mission, their social mission and the social impact they want to create is achieved through employing ex offenders, so people who've recently left prison in the local area, and giving them employment opportunities and training opportunities and helping them to reintegrate into society. So that obviously enables people who would have little chance of gaining employment to gain employment and sustain their families and over and above that, you know, some of those rehabilitated people have started their own businesses to help other social enterprises. So you can see there's this knock on effect. But even above that, what they are actually doing, even though there are a business, their lobbying the government to look at rehabilitation of a people leaving prison instead of building more prisons. So they're actually looking at saving the community and the country money. You're saving taxpayers money and instead of bending money, looking at how you can rehabilitate people so that they've own to fend again. So actually you save the country money and that money can be reinvested in employment opportunities and other, perhaps entrepreneurial opportunities. So you know, that's just a very, very simple example of how one organization has linked their social impact to one UNSTEG and their core product is sell it is selling beer. But if the they look at the impact above that, that they're actually wanting to change the way the criminal justice system works in the UK and reduce the inequality that is pervasive throughout that system. And probably I could be wrong, but I would suggest that this isn't a unique problem in the U. I would think that this is possible in any other country around the world. They're so interesting, isn't it? That the link is an as clear, but then obviously there must be a story either. The this is kind of driven by the founders themselves,...

I'm guessing. Yeah, they're all ex lawyers and barristers terms of high profile, but they want they saw the effects of the criminal justice system in the UK and they wanted to make a difference, so they did that through business. It's just, you know, it's a very inspiring story. But it's also interesting because one of their stories was that they started with an idea of what they wanted to do and they change they wanted to make. In the early days of start up they're so busy running their business they actually forgot to record the stories that they were getting in terms of the positive outcomes and the difference they were making two people's lives. So it's it's just another just gives another example of that business or impact kind of balance that you know, and it can take time to get it right. It's it's amazing what you can do and it is those stories that attract and give you that unique that unique difference that every business is looking for. As long as your heart's really in it, you're doing it for the right reasons. Your customers, your suppliers, your employees, your consumers, will really relate to the stories that you can share with people. Well, talking about recording your stories, so you have actually started to record your first episode of Your Own podcast. Could you show for audience? How has the experience been? And you know what happened? Well, of course. So the new way of being and doing business is to be very vulnerable and open. So it's interest. So we in the spirit of, you know, just start, just just you know, get started and, you know, learn as you do and improve as you go. Yeah, so I'll first podcast was really a test podcast to you know, to explore. So what we're going to do is is interview a guest each month and and then also have a conversation between Anna Myself, the two CEOS, and as you she, as you probably know, is the chief ecstasy officer of future proof Your Business and I'm the chief empowerment officer. So, you know, we're just looking at having conversations and injecting some life and not so much fun but energy into the UN SDEG's because talking to many, many people, we get two kinds of feedback. One is that our social impact is really important but it's really boring. And the other thing is around the UN SDEG's is. Well, yes, we really want to make a difference and yes, we need to address all of these issues, but there are so many issues and problems around the world. Where on Earth do we start? So our first podcast was about the relevance of the UN stegs to business. In a nutshell, you know, there's a couple of insights that we got from it. One is that businesses and entrepreneurs solve problems. That's what we do. We solve problems for our customers. So so there's an obvious alignment there for business to the UN sdgs, because there are so...

...many complex problems within each goal and opportunities in terms of new economies, you know, in Green Energy, for one, you know, different farming methods to improve life on land for others. So there is so much opportunity within those, you know, so called problems that we're calling them, or goals that you know. It's really we just want to open up the conversation. We think the more and this is already happening in, you know, in the covid world and in early two thousand and twenty one more and more businesses are talking about this and we think the more that we ask really big questions, the more we'll see the opportunity to change the way we live and do business. And I've lived long enough to know that the world is very different today than it was way back when I was a child, and we know that change is normal and it's about stepping up now and standing up to as business leaders, to define the change we want to see, the positive change we want to see, and we believe the UN SDG's are one of the best international, global frameworks we have for cooperation, not only between countries but between businesses around the world. Right now, I mean I kind weak to listen to the first episode ecstatic compartment podcast and because you're your both this CEOS of the business. Yes, yes, we're the CO founders, but you know, you only have to look to you know, for example, BG one, that I think you're a member of as well, you know, to see the way that Massa Army and Paul talk about the work of by one give one, the projects that they're aligned to through the UNSDG's, and you know, they talk about it's that it's that happy. They don't share pictures of people looking miserable and unhappy. It's really about the joy of giving. So we're looking at the joy. It's ecstatic in the sense of joy we can make a difference and be joyful about it. Doesn't mean we don't have problems, it doesn't mean we don't have challenges, it doesn't mean collectively we don't have bad days, but it's about doing good and enabling others to create positive change in the spirit of why we're all alive. It's to connect and to help each other and to if we can have fun along the way, that's great, but to see it as a joyful mission, not as a must do tick box greenwashing type activity. You know does exist, but you know increasingly we're seeing people stepping up and rising up for the right reasons. Yes, well, there is so cool. Any other parting advice you would share with our audience? I would encourage if you're in business and you're not already have a social mission as part of Your Business, as part of your your plan, then I would really encourage you to look at social impact...

...and what you can do within your business over and above of what you're already doing and just just be really open minded and the rest starts there, because when when we think bigger, when we are open to new possibilities and different ways of doing things, that's when we meet the right people, that's when we meet the right partners, that's when the right opportunities come along. So yeah, it's just to think and dream bigger this year. Thank you very much, Sue Jackson. Thank you for joining us at the impact go rush podcast and thank you for having me, and I'll see you say so. There you go. That was sue Jackson of future proof your business. What's been your biggest takeaway from this episode? Let us know in the comment section on our social media page. If you haven't subscribed yet, please do subscribe. This will really help us grow our podcast and if you can think of someone that would benefit from listening to this podcast, please do share it with them. In the next episode we have Erica Purvis of technical nature. She's a sustainable design and business strategies and she will be talking about why physical products needs to be designed using the circular economy and how you can get involved in this opportunity. So tuned into next week's episode. Thank you, very much for listening in to the end of this episode. We really appreciate you. This is the impact goal rush. My name is Windtan and I'll see you in the next episode.

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