Question of the Week
Social Enterprise for Literacy
Happy Friday, all!
An exciting Mission Driven Business episode this week. I chatted with Brian Floriani; a golf professional turned literacy advocate and entrepreneur who has founded two companies dedicated to improving literacy. Brian’s latest enterprise, Freadom, was founded in late 2020 as a purpose-driven lifestyle brand that uses 100% of its proceeds for literacy initiatives.
In the episode, Brian talks about using a social enterprise model to turn the traditional approach to social giving on its head. He also discusses how values can help Freadom’s direction and shares numerous adages to aid aspiring social entrepreneurs.
Mission-driven businesses strive for more than success.
Brian differentiates between success and significance, noting success is about personal accomplishments and significance is about other people’s accomplishments. He sees a similar distinction when defining a mission-driven business versus an ordinary one.
“A mission-driven business is driven mostly by purpose, and the purpose of something that’s greater than being successful in a business that’s usually driven by and measured by money,” he said. “It’s a business that is focused on significance, not success.”
No margin. No mission.
For Freadom, being a mission-driven business means scaling a company that will give 100% of its net profits to literacy programs. But to get there, Brian had to think outside of the box of what a charitable company can be. It’s something he learned while running his first business, a thriving literary nonprofit called Bernie’s Book Bank.
“When you’re running a nonprofit, you’re running a business where your productivity is directly related to revenue,” Brian said. “That’s a tough way to run a business.”
Brian felt strongly that he needed a business where he could scale the revenue. He saw a social enterprise model as a viable solution, like one employed by Newman’s Own. As he once heard a mentor say: ‘No margin. No mission.’
“Money is a reality,” Brian said. “And if you’re not profitable, especially for us, you’re not properly going to get it right.”
Know and espouse your values.
Freadom lists its values on a “We believe” page on its website. This declaration helps visitors understand what Freadom is and what motivates the team, but it also serves as guideposts for the company.
“That’s important because you need guideposts to fall back on when you need to make important decisions,” Brian said. “Does it reflect what we believe?”
Brian developed those values first as a stream of consciousness exercise that turned into an entire brand narrative. Then, he performed a similar routine two years into running Bernie’s Book Bank.
“We operate like a business, and we think like a brand,” he said.
Quote of the Week
“No margin, no mission.” – Brian Floriani
Task of the Week
I enjoyed reading Freadom’s values as “We Believe” on its website. Could this be helpful to you? Try listing your values as beliefs and see if that resonates better with you, your clients, and prospects. I’d love to hear what you find out. You can contact me at the links below.