Social Change Business Profitability Strategic Consulting and Training

“Isn’t it Time to Kiss Hunger, Poverty, War, and Catastrophic Climate Change Goodbye—AND Make a Profit?”

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

—Muhammad Ali

Social Change Business Profitability Strategic Consulting with Shel Horowitz

What We’ll Do Together

From the smallest writing projects to in-depth consulting assignments stretching over several months, Shel Horowitz’s goal is to help you achieve business success as you become a transformative force for a better world. He’ll help you turn your “impossible” into “easily achievable” by harnessing the power of business! Together, we’ll engage in long-term goal and priority setting for products and services that heal the world. Working together, you’ll:

Identify your organization’s core values and capabilities, going back to the company’s founding—find and harness your “better angels”

  • What you stand for
  • What you’ve stood for in the past
  • What you could stand for, going forward
  • What you’re really good at: best practices, problem solving, market niches, etc. (Examples: Apple: elegant design and a user base willing to try things they didn’t know they needed; Walmart: logistics and low price; Amazon: bringing know-your-customer to the digital world on a mass scale, unlimited selection that gives life to long-tail products)

Pinpoint the potential for profitable products and services addressing one or more of society’s most intransigent problems (e.g., ways to turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance

  • Repurpose relevant products and services you currently offer
  • Develop new business and product ideas that match your
    core capabilities and deep-seated corporate goal
  • Explore ways to be profitable while serving the lowest rungs of the economic ladder
  • Integrate these lessons and benefits into your overall corporate culture and operations—migrate innovations, cost savings, and profit centers upward into your existing business
  • Use these new projects and products to position your organization as an industry and society leader

Market these life-changing products and services in ways that are affordable to the customer and profitable for the business

  • Take full advantage of low-cost, high-return marketing methods, including (for example) partnership marketing, expertise marketing (including writing and speaking), social media, free publicity/PR
  • Harness the maximum benefit from engaged, empowered, eager employees, customers, vendors, neighbors, and other stakeholders
  • Create sensible, cost-effective traditional marketing strategy and materials: web presence, direct mail, niched advertising, etc.
  • Discover where you’re failing to get through effectively, and strategizing on how to move beyond that

Programs

The Hero Company’s Journey—And You as Corporate Hero

Summary: Be a hero to your company as you help your company become a hero in the wider world. Together, we will lead your organization on an epic journey much like the protagonist in a gripping novel, where your path is strewn with challenges, but you successfully overcome each in turn to achieve greatness. Your organization will be recognized for the major role it begins to play in alleviating hunger, poverty, war, and/or catastrophic climate change—and you will be recognized for finding the profit and PR potential in doing this work.

Right For You If: You work for a company that has taken steps toward sustainability. You see the potential to move them much deeper, and to address wider social issues—sometimes even co-solving more than one at once. You’re looking for ways to accomplish this, and perhaps you’d like to be recognized internally for your efforts.

What “Mountain” Would YOU Like to Save?

Summary: In 1999, Shel founded a citizen action group, Save The Mountain, to oppose a large housing development immediately next to a state park. While the so-called “experts” said, “this project is terrible, but there’s nothing we can do,” STM organized thousands of ordinary citizens, passed several pieces of new legislation, and even managed to achieve permanent protection of the land—all in just 13 months! Using the inspiring success of Save The Mountain, Shel will help you identify your (real or metaphorical) mountain, and the steps you can take to accomplish your agenda.

Right For You If: You’d like to make a difference, but you feel “stuck”: Business units, solopreneurs, small, medium, and large companies, citizen action/community groups, nonprofits, NGOs, etc.

Beyond Sustainability…to Regeneration and Thriving

Summary: Sustainability is an important first step—but it’s not enough. The planet needs to regenerate—to return to something as good as or better than what had existed before human intervention—and the enterprise needs to thrive: making a profit while doing this good work.

Right For You If: You work within a department or on an interdepartmental, interdisciplinary taskforce that’s willing to work together to achieve good outcomes for the organization (whether a single business unit or an entire company) and the planet. Some support from key leadership is very helpful.

Even a Tiny Company can Change the World

Summary: You started your business because you wanted to make a difference—and you have. How much more of a difference can you make if you can initiate new profit centers that make a difference helping people overcome hunger, poverty, war, violence, and catastrophic climate change?

Right For You If: You’re a solopreneur, executive, or key team member at a very small businesses.

Company size: 1-100 employees

Individual Modules

Green Profitability

Going greener doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Often, when you green your operations intelligently, you save money by lowering the cost of energy, water, raw materials, waste disposal, transportation, etc. You may also increase productivity by providing a more conducive work environment, creating a sense of empowerment and “we’re all in this together” among employees, lowering absenteeism, increasing workers’ health (and decreasing health care costs). And going greener also provides opportunities to increase revenue by going after new market sectors, introducing new, green, products and services, marketing differently to existing markets, and (in some cases) commanding a price premium for being green.

Consulting in this module, Shel will help you:

  • Examine your existing practices
  • Find new opportunities for savings and revenue
  • Green your supply chain and distribution channels
  • Scale up or roll out green products and services that build on your current capabilities and strengths while expanding revenue possibilities
  • Involve employees, community leaders, neighbors, customers, and/or vendors in ways that help them feel a part of your new mission
  • Understand, reach, and expand your core markets, through powerful benefit-focused “story-behind-the-story” copywriting, developing partnerships, and other methods
  • Create and enlarge powerful business opportunities hidden in the intersection of your core expertise/competencies and your desire to bring about a better world
  • Reach the three different markets for green products and services: deep green, light green (the fastest growing sector, often overlooked), and nongreen

Co-solving/Partnershing/Coalitions

Co-solving has two parts. In both, we use fewer resources to get more done, more effectively—and we share those resources so they don’t have to be expensively duplicated:

  1. Address multiple issues with one solution. Just as a single tree provides at least 13 different services—food, oxygen, shade, carbon sequestration, light modulation, habitat, temperature modulation, emergency shelter, construction materials, energy, paper, soil rehabilitation, and water management—so we humans can design efficient methods for accomplishing multiple tasks. Examples: a structural assembly that not only holds up a roof but provides heating and cooling, a conduit for pipes and cables, and an aesthetically attractive enhancement to the living or working space—or a solar-powered LED lantern that not only eliminates kerosene’s toxic fumes and fire hazard, but also helps the user climb out of poverty by both eliminating the need to buy fuel every month and providing several extra hours per day of useful light for cottage industries.
  2. Bring different perspectives to deal with a single issue. When only people who are trained a certain way look at a problem, solutions that could arise out of other ways of seeing the world, other ways of thinking, get missed. By enlarging the conversation to include people from other departments, other industries, or even other whole slices of the economy (business, academia, nonprofit/NGO, government, consumer, etc.), new possibilities emerge. The drive-up window was not a fast-food invention; banks had them more than a decade earlier. Velcro was developed for the space program.

The corporate world talks about “getting people out of their silos” so Marketing, Sales, and Engineering can all brainstorm together. Academics gather in “interdisciplinary teams” to study phenomena that might include astrophysics, biology, and sociology. Nonprofits and government agencies understand “partnerships” such as public-private collaborations and cause-related marketing. Online marketing masters organize “joint ventures (JVs)” for massively successful product launches. Community organizers “build coalitions” with other groups, coming together on the issues where they agree, and separating when they diverge.

Just as co-solving itself brings people from different spheres together to solve one set of problems or address one set of issues, these different but overlapping perspectives all teach us something. We can create win-win syntheses of the best of all this thinking, and use that power and synergy to address—and solve—even the most intractable problems.

Consulting in this module, Shel will help you:

  • Reconfigure existing and create new products and services to accomplish multiple agendas
  • Define and increase your audiences
  • Formulate message points to move each audience to action
  • Create marketing strategies and materials to move the new offerings forward
  • Design your “dream team”—within your organization and beyond it
  • Recruit potential collaborators with win-win offers
  • Present these initiatives as best practices that could establish your organization’s expertise, win awards and stimulate innovation industry-wide

From Sustainability…to Regeneration…to Thriving…to the World We Want

Sustainability isn’t enough! Sustainability is building systems that keep things the way they are. But that means atmospheric carbon stays at 398.78 parts per million,¹ high above the safe limit of 350. It means 805 million people around the world are not getting enough to eat, and 3.1 million children die each year of preventable hunger,² while preventable air pollution kills another 7 million people every year.³

Circles of Abundant Solutions

Just going green, just being “sustainable,” isn’t enough. We can do better, make the world better—and make a good profit at the same time.

Step 1 is sustainability: Making sure things stay at least as good as they are, that inputs balance outputs, that the world can continue to keep up with human impact. Many companies have made a very good start on this—but again, it’s only the first step. Let’s do better!

Step 2 is regeneration and thriving. We will create systems that restore the functions and capabilities we’ve lost. We’ll bring atmospheric carbon back below 350 ppm, return disrupted ecosystems to balance, increase the population of species on the brink of extinction. We’ll use biomimicry to figure out how to do much more with much less. And create thriving profitable businesses based on these concepts.

Step 3 is social change: Tackling the world’s deep, systemic problems in ways that not only address the root causes but build an economic foundation for long-term success. For example, as eco-friendly business ventures lift the most disadvantaged out of poverty and the earth out of environmental disaster, the formerly ultra-poor begin to gain economic freedom; they can become a new, untapped market.

All three steps hold significant profit opportunities for businesses willing to step forward.

Regeneration: Let’s build a restorative, regenerative, thriving ecosystem and economy:

  • Going beyond Net Zero to Net Positive energy (producing more than you need) and Net Negative waste (adding resources to the ecosystem instead of depleting and disposing of them)
  • Biomimicry: studying nature’s engineering to design better and use resources more effectively
  • Counting all costs—no more externalizing the social and environmental burden
  • Cradle-to-Cradle lifecycle planning for raw materials and finished products
  • 3Rs planning: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle emphasizing the highest and best use (“upcycling” rather than “downcycling”)

Consulting in this module, Shel will conduct an initial assessment and then connect you with people and organizations that have technical expertise in whichever of these areas you want to explore.

Thriving: An economic model that builds strong economies that also honor the earth
What regeneration does for the planet, thriving does for the organization. Create empowered success through healthy business systems that combine employee buy-in, innovation, and service to achieve loyalty, social good, and profit.

Consulting in this module, Shel (and the task-specific experts he can bring in) will help you:

  • Examine areas of your business such as customer service, marketing, employee attitude, corporate culture—determine where they’re already performing optimally, and where they’re holding you back
  • Understand your own internal processes—and where they may be creating barriers to success
  • Conduct and facilitate re-visioning and brainstorming exercises to help your organization reach its highest potential

Profitable Social Change: Creating the world we desire
Business can be a force to combine social good with profit. Long-term goal and priority setting for products and services that heal the world—profit as you help turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war and violence into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance

Consulting in this module, Shel will help you:

  • Develop a “possibility mindset”
  • Identify and build on your company’s core values and capabilities: What you stand for currently, have stood for in the past, and could stand for in the future…and what you’re really good at
  • Analyze the potential to harness those values and skills to develop profitable products and services addressing one or more of society’s most intransigent problems (e.g., ways to turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance)
  • Encourage employees, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders to contribute their insights and enthusiasms—in ways that make them feel empowered and excited to help
  • Incorporate the lessons and benefits of those efforts into your overall corporate culture, including migrating innovations upward into your current production methods
  • Market these life-changing products and services to position yourself as an industry and society leader who improves lives in ways that are affordable to the customer and profitable for the business

Holistic Thinking/The Ecology of Business
The natural world is a series of interconnected ecosystems—and so is the business world. It’s time to say goodbye to uncounted externalities, unintended consequences and mindless resource depletion…and hello to a spider-web model of interconnectedness, all of whose parts affect and are dependent on the others. This will be devastating for organizations (“business organisms”) that aren’t prepared—but will provide enormous profit opportunities for those that are ready.

Consulting in this module, Shel and his team of experts will help you:

  • Develop a “possibility mindset”
  • See both the “forest” (big picture/macro level) and the “trees” (individual components/micro level)—and the ways they’re connected
  • Use that understanding to think holistically about how your organization can reach its full and beautiful potential
  • Understand the implications for the individual, the organization, and the wider organism (the planet);
  • Look at the intersections of business success, greening the planet, and improving the world
  • Turn challenges into opportunities
  • Use the Ripple Effect, the Precautionary Principle, co-solving, and other methodologies
  • Anticipate and avoid unexpected consequences and develop new, powerful success systems for your organization and the planet
  • Throw away assumptions
  • Work backward from the goal
  • Count ALL the costs
  • Focus on achieving abundance, instead of managing scarcity
  • Eliminate the friction points
  • Design for multiple uses
  • Use nature as a model/close the loops

Design Your Own Modules
Tell us what you want to accomplish as a green, socially conscious, thriving and profitable business—and we’ll work you to design a custom mix of consulting, training, education/presentations, strategic brainstorming, strategic marketing and profitability, and/or story-behind-the-story copywriting.

Training

One-to-one, small-group, and large-group training to empower your staff with competence and confidence in moving forward in social change, in your marketing and in your public presentations:

Specific Skills:

  • Story-behind-the-story media releases and pitch letters—getting noticed in mainstream media in ways that work far better than the rusty old 5Ws
  • Copywriting to the left AND right sides of the brain—getting people to buy through a combination of emotional and intellectual choices
  • Media training and coaching: Don’t be the deer in the headlights, frozen in front of the camera! Learn to be comfortable on camera and microphone, cut quickly to the essence of your message (yes, we’re talking “sound bites”), be a passionate and engaging media guest, and get your call to action included.
  • Social media strategy: what works on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and discussion groups.
  • Public speaking training and coaching: Say goodbye to “death by PowerPoint!” Engage your audience properly and they become your ally instead of your enemy! Hook them in the first moments, keep their attention, and move your agenda forward. Handle hecklers. Win over your audience and still be the authentic you.
  • Turn tech-ese or jargon into clear, understandable language
  • Conduct and facilitate complex meetings and brainstorming sessions: developing workable, inclusive group processes for brainstorming, project design, implementation

Done For You
  • Strategic marketing analysis
  • Website review
  • Document review
  • Copywriting (marketing and informational materials): A story-behind-the-story approach that combines emotional and rational triggers to create a powerful desire to buy
  • Social media
  • Green audit
  • Solid waste audit (through one of our partners)

D-I-Y (Do-It-Yourself)
  • Social change profitability assessment
  • Book: Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green
  • Ebook: Green And Profitable
  • Book: Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed In a Noisy World

[1] December, 2014 figure found at http://co2now.org/current-co2/co2-now/global-carbon-emissions.html, accessed 2/10/15
[2]http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats, accessed 3/14/15
[3]http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/, accessed 3/3/15