Thursday, April 7, 2011

Books & Tea - Business as Unusual

Very excited to have arrive in the post today, something other than cartons of tea... my other love...books.
I have lots of things I love in my life, but tea & books rate very highly, inseparable really in my mind. However more time is currently devoted to drinking/thinking tea, than reading books, but my evening, post putting my 4 y.o to bed, and tending to necessary household tasks, is spent on my ("new"-ish) 1890's Victorian "bedroom" chair, albeit in the lounge room, with at least 1, usually several books at hand (and another cuppa). My perfect Sunday afternoon is a quiet hour or two in a comfy (aforementioned) chair or similar, with a pot of tea and a book or two.

So, my new acquisition is Anita Roddick's (Founder of The Body Shop) "Business as Unusual, My entrepreneurial journey, Profits with Principles".
Im excited. Im so excited Im blogging instead of reading it! Well I read the foreword and I can already see her as my new Hero (gender? PC?). As she notes "Over 2000 stores, 51 coutries, serving over 8 million people a day...." that's enough to make one giddy!

My aspirations arent quite that grand - and maybe hers werent either initially, but the success! Oh what success, she really has put "people, planet, profit" up there in reality. Its not some corporate spin, some new PC trendy line, she believed in it FROM THE ONSET of her business. And that was entrepreneurial back there in the 1980's (will have to ready more to get the exact starting year). She embarked on a difficult journey to give back to the people , directly, and fairly, and not step on the planet with a big ugly corporate boot.

So here we are 2011, I buy The Body Shop products.... do you? What ways, even small ways like deciding to spend a bit extra on mascara (and wear it a little less maybe) to help? Im only small fry, and I only have a limited budget. But I do what I can, when I can, and what I can afford.

Anita Roddick's book is no doubt going to be a bit of a business bible for me, along with Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and recently Richard Branson's Business Stripped Bare. Why? They believed. The Created. They Did, and they Are... noble, leading in business success, brave and adventurous. And they did things a little differently. Im Inspired.

I recently sat awake in bed around 2 a.m - as you do sometimes as a small business (and probably large business) owner, mulling over my direction, my passion, my values, and my beliefs.
One of the insights of that little reflection was this:
(and around again, over and over, checking in if you feel its right, the direction, the plans, the actions, the resonating feeling, the reflection, the believing....).
I bet Anita Roddick did - believed, created, did, felt, reviewed.... and her passion caused The Body Shop to be a success story. Im sure some heartache in there too.

Richard Branson believed too - his passion is to give people a good experience, make it better than they expected. Now he has just launched Virgin Oceanic! Taking people to the depths of the 5 deepest oceans. Go Richard! Now he certainly has applied some thinking outside the square, some business unusual.

So its my turn.... perhaps just small steps for a while... Im not aiming multinational, (just yet) but I do care about our planet, people, and in business - some profit, so I can keep giving back, and like Anita, begin to make a difference.

And for a starters,
1. In Aug 2010 I launched my Tassie Devil Tea - why? To contribute to the Save the Tassie Devil Program.
2. I am the new official State sponsor for the Tasmanian Cancer Council's Biggest Morning Tea. Why? Because I care about minimising the risk of cancer, reducing anxiety, stress, depression, and grief, to share a cuppa and feel supported.

Im not "pumping up my own tyres" here. I just want to celebrate in the little ways my business is giving back to the planet and its people, my community. Because I believe I can.

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