Small Businesses Helping Others

More Small Businesses Truly Helping OthersAs I was leaving Portland after WDS, I ran into a few of my “cousins” and asked them to take part in the Triigo Project by answering “What is The Change You Want to See in the World?”

This answer is much in line with my own philosophy – “More Small Businesses Truly Helping Others.”

All small businesses have the opportunity to help. Business owners can sit on boards, donate products or services or work to solve issues in their community. You may want to work towards a single cause or help in numerous areas.

Small businesses may lack the cash flow to donate momentarily to help others but that does not mean small businesses cannot help.

I have also met some amazing businesses with a mantra to help others.  Locally, the Grilled Cheese Social Eatery has found a great way to give back and help others by offering a suspended coffee/sandwich program. Customers can buy sandwiches or coffee and suspend the purchase thereby prepaying for someone who needs a meal or hot drink  and simply cannot afford it.

Another business, Kitt’s, donates a new pair of underwear to Women’s shelters upon the sale of her underwear product. We often don’t think about the need for personal items like underwear, feminine hygiene or even razors.

Each business, regardless of size, can take time to help someone else.  Here are a few ideas of how you can help others in your community:

  • Participate in local food drives by requesting donations from clients or by helping in the food bank or at a store
  • Take part in the planning and organization of community fundraisers
  • Donate product, where possible, to assist fundraisers
  • Take part in a mentor program to mentor new businesses and youth
  • be involved in your community to identify problems and work towards solutions
  • Donate your time to local charities
  • Hold a clothing drive
  • Hire a student or older employee (two categories that tend to be harder to place according to local workplace stats)

These are all small steps to help others. Think about how your business could truly help others.





Red Tape and Ruby Slippers

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Somewhere along the way, I ended up running a municipal government campaign and it’s been a bit busy. Somewhat ironic that tonight’s post is talking about red tape – something you see a lot of in all levels of government.

Maybe I’m a dreamer but I truly believe that we have the knowledge to solve most of the world’s problems and one of the major things that stop us from doing so is red tape. Our planet has an abundance of water and the ability to grow food for all. Yes, logistics are an issue but not an impediment. What is needed to solve water and hunger issues is already available but simply not put to use. Homelessness and affordable housing could also be virtually eliminated with cooperation of government  and private/public funders. One simply has to visit FastCoexist to see some of the amazing ideas already invented but not put into use.

And then there are the innovators: the ones with ideas, thoughts and new perspectives on how to solve issues around the world. But, without cooperation of government and relaxation of some rules & regulations, their projects may not come to fruition.

Consider some of the innovative building ideas such as repurposed cargo container apartment units as vieweable in this Popular Mechanics article or by googling “Repurposed Cargo Containers”. These units could quickly be developed into affordable housing units. But, add by-laws, fire safety rules, strict building codes and other bits of red tape not designed to allow flexible for innovation and creative ideas, these units become difficult to develop and enact in various communities. Our codes are created by government to protect us but the “written in blood” rules limit new ideas from coming to light without undertaking incredible time and expense.

Other barriers to innovation and implementation of world-changing ideas include issues and regulations between countries (or even provinces), financial requirements, support of local communities and access to and sharing of information. i firmly believe there are people who possess great answers that would change the world if the knowledge was shared with the right people.

Governments and individuals need to think differently. We need to share our ideas, collaborate with others and put our plans in motion. Government needs to support innovation by evaluating rules, codes, bylaws and requirements to allow experiments to occur. Reduce the red tape within reason.

I can sympathize with the government’s need to reduce risk, to reduce possible lawsuits. North America is sue-happy – even Canada is starting to see more law suits due to people taking less responsible for their own actions and putting it on others. We also need to stop being a bubble-wrapped society and over-protecting everyone and everything. Maybe you shouldn’t run with scissors but do we really need to label a see-through bag of pecans as pecans? Do we really need to be told “Caution: Hot” when we order a hot beverage?

Financial risk through legal issues is huge! Many instances of legislation have been enacted simply because someone has sued and the corporation or government now seek to minimize future risk.

I understand.

But, we can’t simply click our ruby slippers and wish our problems away. We need to act!

We need to encourage governments to allow exemptions to legislation and other rules and regulations to allow experimental projects to occur. We need to take calculated risks. We need to examine what is working in other countries and apply it to our own.

We need to work with each other on a global scale, and not just in our own area. While each community is unique, our problems are shared. When we share our issues, we help each other by providing new perspectives. Some of us have already been there before and now have the knowledge to help others. Share.

When we share our dreams, our goals become closer to reality. The Cowardly Lion only needed to believe in himself to achieve braveness. Like the Cowardly Lion, we have to take risks and be brave as we innovate. It is up to us to cut through red tape and make our dreams come true.