Diversity, and the distinct lack of it in many areas of society, has been at the top of the news lately. While eventually, the news cycle will shift, you don’t have to. Instead, choose to make a real difference in diversity both within and outside your company.
What steps can you take to show your support of minorities? How can you go beyond a statement online and take concrete action? Here are some ideas that will help you truly live the difference you hope to make.
1. Evaluate Your Company Mission and Philosophy
In many companies, a mission statement is a guiding mindset for the business. It states, in writing, exactly what you hope to achieve by coming to work every day. If you’re ready to make a difference for diversity, it’s time to take out your mission statement and reevaluate your company’s overall philosophy.
In what way do your operations live up to your ideals? In what ways do you fall short? What can you do to update your mission statement to make your support for minorities and overall diversity clearer?
Once you’ve made these decisions, it’s time to take action. Make sure your mission statement doesn’t just stay on the wall but is part of the heart of everyone’s daily work. Talk to your leaders and teams about what diversity means to your business and how it will be implemented going forward.
2. Examine the Structure of your Business
If your business is already focused on making a difference in society, you might question how you can improve your impact. As a small business, you could explore becoming a non-profit. This would give you more flexibility in raising money and implementing changes related to diversity in society.
Non-profits have the additional benefit of being exempt from taxes, which can help you avoid a painful annual ritual — while also giving you more money to make a difference!
To become a non-profit, you’ll need to incorporate so you can distance your personal earnings from the businesses. You’ll also need to ensure your company qualifies to become a non-profit. You’ll focus on the public good rather than private gain, of course, and you may need to make your mission more specific.
In the end, becoming a non-profit is a great way for a socially-focused company to improve its financial flexibility and make bigger changes for the cause of diversity.
3. Consider Direct Social Impact Investing
A lot of companies lately have been making large donations to non-profits and activist groups. This is a great start, but think about what you can do from a business perspective. Can your business put money toward helping minority entrepreneurs?
Every company, from large to small, can make a difference in some way. Changing one person’s life makes a huge difference than you may not even see.
Think about how you can use proceeds from your profits to practice impact investing. This type of funding allows you to make a long-term difference in social causes. You’ll be directing capital to enterprises that focus on social or environmental benefits. Even a small amount, combined with investments from others, can make a huge difference.
Review whether your impact investing goals are focused on making a difference or getting financial gain. When you’ve clarified that in your goal-setting, you can make better decisions about where to invest and how much money to commit.
4. Reconsider Investments in Harmful Industries
While you’re looking for ways to free up capital to invest in diversity and inclusion, think about the investments your company has already made. Are they all aligned with your mission? Do you have investments in environmentally harmful industries, like fossil fuels, that you could pull out?
When you take a look at your overall portfolio, you might be surprised to find that many of these companies are being revealed to be less than inclusive behind the scenes. This is the perfect time to divest from these companies and make a bigger impact elsewhere.
On the other hand, you could decide to invest more in some businesses in the hopes of becoming an activist investor. Investors with large stakes in a company can often shift their internal policies, hiring practices, and even replace leadership. Not big enough to be an activist on your own? No problem — join with others who have the same idea and create an investing group.
Being conscious of where you’re invested and why is a big step forward when it comes to encouraging inclusion through investing.
Use Business as a Source for Good
Sometimes business owners and leaders get a bad rap for being “greedy” and money-hungry, but in many companies that is far from the truth. In reality, businesses meet the needs of customers and can make a huge difference in society.
Review your own internal processes and mission first, then turn outward and see what kind of difference you can make through investment. This two-fold approach will maximize your impact on society and help you promote diversity throughout the business world.