A couple of months ago, my friend Daniel Ordonez recommended I put down what I was reading and immediately begin Start Something That Matters, by TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie.
As part of my commitment to reading 1 book a month this year, I decided to give the book a shot. I was generally aware of TOMS and their mission, so I figured it was a good opportunity to take some of his successes and lessons and apply them to Food Tribe.
In addition to covering Mycoskie's own personal journey as an entrepreneur, SSTM provides readers with stories, tools, and ideas to encourage and empower entrepreneurs to implement programs in their businesses to drive social impact and create meaningful change in its wake.
Mycoskie's mission was to start a profitable company that ALSO drove meaningful impact. Too often conventional wisdom teaches us (and especially entrepreneurs) that ROI is the number driver of the health of an organization.
Mycoskie points out that a host of alternative metrics need to start being graded in order to measure the true success of an organization: its ability to change its customers lives, or to help its employees not just be satisfied in their work, but find meaning - these are the types of things we need to start measuring beyond traditional business metrics of earnings, losses, and growth.
TOMS' catalyst for change was its 1-for-1 model (buy one, GIVE one): if customers and employees buy into the mission of the organization they're partnering with, they're more likely to want to see that organizations success.
Which is great! One of the challenges I've had in scaling Food Tribe was finding the perfect marriage of value proposition and social impact - two things paramount to the success of the company. As I continue to grow the company, I'll remember to use TOMS example in order to remind Food Tribe - and everyone involved - that our number one mission is to end hunger.
If you're interested in launching a company based on social impact, check out this cool Design for Social Impact Workbook offered by design consulting firm, IDEO.