An article, Basic Compassion, from Reader’s Digest recently caught my eye. It was a great story of a local business owner from out west who wanted to make a small difference in his community, the place his family had done business since 1949.

Brad Mills, CEO of office-supply firm Mills Basics, had seen a sharp decline of the area. It became a haven for drug dealers, prostitutes and petty criminals – becoming known as one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods.

Mills decided he needed to do something to make a difference. Since 2002 he worked with the government-funded Fast Track to Employment program for people unable to find jobs due to disabilities, addictions or other social barriers. Mills hired hard-to-employ locals to work in his warehouse and helped them build basic skills, focusing on attitude and attendance: RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY. While some were fired or returned to the streets, the vast majority proved to be reliable.

His reward was purely the joy of making a difference. This changed when his company started to publicize its community work. Annual sales growth showed a modest 5% in 2002 to an average of 12% each subsequent year until 2008, when revenue hit $17 million. That growth was, in large part, thanks to a winning marketing message about how the firm was giving back to society.

I RECENTLY WROTE ABOUT CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ON MY SITE. I want you to see what I wrote for many people will read this article and think, oh we just need to…. and then send a message out to the world. NO that is NOT Corporate Social Responsibility. It is about truly impacting our society, world – giving back in a way that is not about what’s in it for me. Mills is a great example of a man that just wanted to make a small difference in his community. He gave from his heart with no expectations. The result was increase in sales.

AUTHENTICITY, is something that I speak of … gone are the days of selling yourself, manipulating, lying. Your consumers/customers are too aware and will no longer tolerate this. By listening to your customers and then giving back to them what they ask for, will result in compensation = SALES. A perfect example is Dell Computers, who was rated at one time the worst for customer service. They implemented an interactive consumer program which allowed the consumer to tell them what they want and Dell gave them what they want and low and behold they are at the top for customer service.

Be part of the community that gives back and makes a difference.

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