Businesses make money. Nonprofits make a difference. At least, that’s how many view the divide between doing good and doing well. But for ScoutComms and Hirepurpose, two veteran-owned businesses serving the veteran and military community, there is no distinction between making money and making a difference.
On Sept. 8, as a result of the positive impact our two companies have had in providing services to our customers that support veterans and military families, we were each recognized by B the Change Media as “Best for the World” companies. Honorees set a gold standard for the high impact that business as a force for good can make on important societal issues around the world.
How did this happen? In 2015, our companies were certified — only months apart — as B Corporations, also known as B Corp. The B Corp movement was launched in 2006 by B Lab, a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world, contributing to a more shared and durable prosperity.
What makes us different from the more than 1,800 certified B Corporations across over 120 industries and 42 countries is that we are two of the only veteran-owned B Corp, as well as two of the only B Corp supporting the veteran and military communities. We should not be so unique.
Here are four reasons why veteran-owned businesses should think about joining the B Corp movement.
It makes you a better business.
Being a B Corp makes you put a critical eye on a number of the core elements of any business, such as the people you employ, the products and services you sell, and your impact on your community and your environment. It is an honor to be recognized, but the B Corp certification process is also a great way to look at your business and think how about how you can do better. Any veteran-owned business would benefit from a critical analysis.
It channels the desire of veterans to continue serving their country.
We all know and believe that veterans are more likely to volunteer to give back and to serve than non-veterans. B Corp taps into that desire to continue to serve and successfully funnel the energy into the business environment, enabling sustainable for-profit models of doing business while also giving back in a number of ways. Ultimately, a successful B Corp is making an impact in multiple ways, not just the work we do for our clients or the people we employ, but also our significant investments in charitable giving, employee voluntarism, pro bono work, and hiring from the community we serve.
B Corp certification is a differentiator to clients, employees and business partners.
Becoming a B Corp is not easy. It requires you to be transparent, to examine your business model and processes carefully, and to subject yourself to a public review. But because it is more than just a rubber stamp, it is meaningful to have an ethical business model as a B Corp. B Corp certification is verification for us and for everyone we engage with that we are doing something differently, that we care and that we are making a difference.
It proves that you can make profits while making a difference.
We are not charities, but because we have an ethical business model that is focused on how we can do good for the world, we always seek to serve the best interests of our clients and our employees. Ultimately, while we do not replace nonprofits, we fill gaps where they cannot thrive. We are not dependent on the charity of others, as we generate our own resources. We are able, unlike many nonprofits, to keep top talent by paying the salaries and giving them the promotions they deserve.
As profit-driven businesses, we are distinctly not charities. But we are committed to making the world a better place — in our case for veterans and military families — and becoming certified B Corp is a step that helps prove to everyone we engage with that we are serious about our commitment. There is no better feeling than to know that you are doing good while doing well.
Interested in learning more about becoming a B Corporation? Any company can measure and manage its social and environmental performance at http://bimpactassessment.net.
Fred Wellman, an Army veteran, is the founder and CEO of ScoutComms, the nation’s leading communications, advocacy, and philanthropic strategy firm dedicated to providing services that support veterans and military families.
Zach Iscol, a Marine Corp veteran, is the Founder and CEO of Hirepurpose, a leading career guidance and recruiting site for transitioning military, and Task & Purpose, a fast-growing military news and lifestyle site for active duty service members, veterans, and their families. He is also executive director of The Headstrong Project, a nonprofit that provides veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan with free mental health care.