Read our main article by Dr Mark Vella, "Can You Serve Mankind as a Commercially Successful Business" which approaches a workable solution to creating abundance in your working life and the working lives of those around you.
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The MetaVarsity Team
Can You Serve Mankind as a Commercially Successful Business?
Is it possible to create financial wealth and do business in this world in a way that honours the spirit in all of us? And if so, how?
Over the last 10 years I have become a social entrepreneur with a definite philosophy about how we can go about doing business, in a way that serves and creates wealth for all. I made the transformation, and so can others.
Social entrepreneurship is generally seen as doing business for the common good of a community, and its often miss-associated with NGO’s and community based organisations as if the primary aim of such organisations should not be to create financial wealth. Not having coming from that background, my take on social enterprise was a little different and evolved from me asking, “So how can I do business fairly, equitably, in line with my values and still create the financial abundance and value that will see me able to fulfil my vision and ambitions for my family?"
I have several ideas to share with you.
In business, shareholders are defined as the owners of a company. Stakeholders are those parties or persons that are affected by, or have an effect on an organisation, group or individual. First realise that every stakeholder is seeking value. This doesn’t necessarily mean they seek money. Rather they seek the greatest benefits compared to the cost it took to get those benefits. This gain of value allows the stakeholders to prosper in the world, facilitating a path of higher expression.
However, the way we have gone about doing business has evolved with a focus on creating value for shareholders, not stakeholders. This is entrenched all the way from Hollywood movies right through to business education. By default this approach has often meant creation of value for shareholders at the expense of other stakeholders. It’s not a win-win, but a win-lose approach to business. The recent recession exemplifies the failure of this approach. Look at the fall of Bear Sterns, Worldcom, Enron and you will see a heightened focus on a certain group of shareholders at the expense of others. Some have just called it ‘corporate greed’.
For the last 10 years I developed a successful social enterprise that has at its heart a different business model and approach.
What we have simply done, is to aim to create value not only for shareholders, but for all stakeholders. It has taken time, but with that intention entrenched in our values, it has guided our actions so that over the last 5 years we have become a company that now successfully lives that model.
First we identified who our stakeholders were. We came up with 11 different stakeholder groupings; our students, Cape Tourism, the Camps Bay community where we operated, our customers, the City of Cape Town etc
Second, we set about trying to create value for each stakeholder grouping, according to the value they seek, whilst at the same time aiming to capture value from them as well, also according to the value we were seeking.
And thirdly, over time what we did where we could, was to move away from stakeholders that did not meet that win-win approach. We literally chose not to give energy to stakeholders who don’t value shared abundance. This is not always possible, but imagine the global impact if enough people and businesses sent a message (to stakeholders operating in a ‘I win, you lose’ manner) that their approach was not valued. Eventually, economically they would have no option but to reflect on that behaviour and consider a change.
In our business we dropped suppliers, or customers that wanted everything from us, but didn't want to be fair in return. And to stakeholders like the Camps Bay community, we got in community service patrolling and became active in various community forums and boards. For our staff stakeholders, we developed a free in-house education program teaching personal and development business skills. For our tourist customers we developed a whole bunch of value-added extras such as free water, maps and access to free, money saving local information (and none of these at any extra cost to us!) In our business courses and consulting we teach this 3-step model for changing your organisation and business model to follow this path, still creating abundance for yourself, and abundance for others too.
The second concept I’d like to share with you actually precedes the one I have just shared with you. Values are literally those things we value and hold most dear. We behave according to our values. And in so doing the things we value most become habitual and dominant in our lives. These habits then create your future, one day at a time. If you want to know what your future will be like, look to your habits and the values that drive them. There are those who say you cannot change your values. Throughout history, people have shown that this does not have to be true. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Victor Frankl are just some examples of people who shifted there values at a deep fundamental level. How did they do it? The answer lies in the habit of Reflection.
Reflection is the ability to look at your behaviour and the results you get and question whether this is how you would like things to be. Without reflection, we just do the same day in and day out, and hope we will get a different result.
I only realised much later what had gotten me to follow this new model of doing business. I had a fundamental shift in values through the process of reflecting on what kind of result I would like for my actions in this world.
Finally I’d like to share a practical tool I use in our business, one that can help when you are engaging with stakeholders and trying to create a win-win. This tool, called the 4-Way test developed by Rotary, one of the largest service organisations in the world, has guided my business actions my whole life.
Simply, the 4 way test asks you:
1.Is it the Truth?
2.Is it Fair to all?
3.Will it build Good will and Better Friendships?
4.Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?
Applying this to your engagements with stakeholders, not only from you to them, but from them to you, can be a guide to developing win-win relationship with them.
Let me end by saying financial wealth comes with, I believe, a responsibility. With abundance, financial wealth we have resourced to leverage can change in the world. Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet are just two examples of people who have reflected and changed, and in their lifetime made personal contributions to the world for the better.
Imagine the global shift if you and businesses and everyone else took these concepts on?
Isn’t this how you would like to do business and create wealth?
Isn’t this the world you would like to live in?
Isn’t this the contribution you’d like to make?
Dr Mark Vella N.D. has more than 21 years of skill, experience and qualification in wellness, education, medicine and business. He is Director of several organisations: The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Massage on the Beach and The Hand-up Hands-on Apprenticeship Program which offers free personal and business skills education, of which he is also patron.
As a top selling author he has sold over 150 000 copies worldwide and his books have been translated into 9 languages.He was a 2011 finalist in the Sanlam Entrepreneur of the Year Competition and made the Top 25 of the Big Break Social Entrepreneurs Competition. He is currently an adjudicator in the 2012 SEDA Small Business Stars Competition
Mark is currently presenting the Business Acumen for Wellness Professional and Small Business Series in Cape Town at Wellness Warehouse, a first of its kind in South Africa (See our ad Insert here).
For more details contact Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0733517733. He is also talking free on the article subject on the 18th May at the Hubspace in Woodstock Cape Town, contact for further details.
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This year seems to be flying past us at an alarming rate.
We are as busy as ever here at MetaVarsity. There is much excitement about the upcoming events and courses we are developing.
The Celebrate Life Festival is happening in a few weeks and we will be there with bountiful goodies for everyone attending. From Free Intuitive Messages to Free Meditations. So if you are attending the event, please come by and say hi.
As this month we focus into service, we are gearing up to the development of our second completely FREE course – being a Personal Mastery Course. The first module– Physical Mastery is almost ready for the trial phase. To all those you have submitted to be on the first trial programme, thank you and we look forward to being in contact in the upcoming weeks with further details. We cannot wait until all the modules are complete and we are ready to give back to the community with this wonderful course in self development. Should there be anyone else still interested in joining the trial programme, please email your details through to email@example.com.
Service is a core principle found in almost every area of life. A person that dedicates time and energy in the service of others, I have personally found them to be more rewarded in return. The understanding and simple act of service from a place of love for others is of the highest spiritual truths found in our reality.
I affirm we all receive and give a service to those in our lives.