6 posts categorized "Thoughtful"

March 05, 2007

Inside GoodStorm with CEO Yobie Benjamin

Yobie What's your mission?  Set up a Women's healthcare unit? Sell sustainable products? Yobie Benjamin, Founder and CEO of GoodStorm wants to eliminate poverty by providing free selling tools within everyone's reach. That makes him a good guy member of the softer side of business, and someone we want to support.

"It's not about bringing selling to the Internet," he says, "It's about bringing the Internet to selling."

Just like easy and free blogging platforms turned millions into writers and publishers,  Yobie's hoping that the GoodStorm business platform will enable millions to sell anything they want, wherever they want, any time they want. They call it "Capitalism done right." (I'll let you surf the site to get a feel for it, but check back in mid-April for a major update and a far more inclusive platform.)

GoodStorm's a terrific service for women who are just starting out with a home-based business or a non-profit looking for ways to raise funds beyond dinners and solicitations. What if you don't have a home to base yourself from? No problem. Yobie reports that one of GoodStorm's users is a homeless woman who goes to the library when she needs an office. He also admits that major corporations use GoodStorm as well.

Helping individuals, help themselves become self-sustaining is the beginning and the end of his mission. "Once you have cash, then you can do other things," he says. "Poverty is generational," he continued. "Being able to sell is fundamental in any business, GoodStorm is positioned to remove the barriers and help those with ideas, but no financial backing, to succeed."

Andy Yobie and his fellow enabler and partner, Andy Rappaport aren't new to product launches and business plans. They've been doing it quite successfully for the last 20 years. As the former Chief of Global Strategy for Ernst and Young, Yobie worked with AOL/Time Warner, General Motors, Sprint, Merrill Lynch, Boeing, Walt Disney and many others. Andy has been a founder, investor, and/or director of venture-backed start-ups all while serving on 30 public and private company boards. Both of them "retired early" per se, but when the GoodStorm idea hit, they knew they had to put it out there. Within days they had a team of eight working on it.

Yobie owns a T-shirt making business. Admittedly GoodStorm is a front end marketing tool to bring more business to it. The difference between the GoodStorm model and other online T-shirt manufacturers, however, is that GoodStorm gives back 70% of the profits instead of the typical 20-30%. That means more money to more people to do more good work or just pull themselves out of poverty. Everyone makes a living and that's "Capitalism done right."

GoodStorm's other benefits? It's incredibly easy to use and you order ONLY what you need, one shirt or thousands it doesn't matter, you'll get the same price break.

With a slant towards social good and such generous payouts, I had to ask, "Are you a .org or a .com"? 

"We're a .com," says Yobie. "I believe that you must be financially sustainable if you are going to help yourself or your business. The same is true of non-profits, if they aren't funded well, they can't continue their mission."

Mom's Rising is a great example of launching and funding a mission. Their working mom group started in May, 2006 and already has over 80,000 members. All the products you see on their site are produced and drop shipped via GoodStorm.

You have to admire the GoodStorm business model. It's capitalism done VERY right. Who knows, maybe three years from now we'll all be wondering, "What did we ever do before the Internet, email and GoodStorm"?

July 17, 2006

Power of the Positive - Net2

Feeling depressed about the state of the world after reading about the latest war-du-jour? Click onto Net Squared.org and see if there is a place where you can fit in and put some positive energy back into the world.

Net Squared is made up of tech types who want to use their excess talents for good; to empower non-profits to a higher levels of Internetted communications and affect faster social change.

I went to my first meet up last week of a newly formed LA chapter. Ten people showed up, about half were first timers. No one quite knew what Net Squared was about but thought they give it a shot. The backgrounds were diverse in tech talent as well as market disciplines. The interesting part is that they came wondering if they would fit in, and left looking for ways to contribute even if there wasn't an obvious fit.

That's the power of a well defined mission - it resonates so strongly that people will write their own job description to be part of it's positive direction and in this case, work for free.

Net Squared isn't another women's group. In fact, the guys outnumbered the gals that night which I found refreshing. It is a women's "group", however, in that it supports a cause they women will support. Check it out and tell me what you think.

July 03, 2006

An Inconvienent Truth Meets a Convenient Market

Have you seen Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth yet? If you felt the earthshaking lately is from everyone shaking in their boots after seeing it. It's a must see for those with children and grandchildren. Heck, it's a must see for those who plan on retiring to a place that won't be under water or sand in the next 20 years.

Was there any good news?  Yep, consumers rule.

Al flagged an answer near the end of the movie, in an offhanded comment he mentioned that consumers could change the direction of environmental disaster simply by making the right purchasing decisions.

Did you hear that? CONSUMERS. That's us, ladies. Women make 80% of the buying decisions so if we want to cut down on global warming, we are the ones who need to step forward and do it. If you ever wanted to join a cause to save the world this is it. 

We're already seeing how our buying choices are making a difference. Lots of women (and men) are buying Toyota's and Honda's. I have five friends who own the Prius (all women). I just bought a new Honda Civic which gave me 40 mpg last week and it's not even a hybrid. High mileage vehicles are one of of the answers. The more people buy them, the more the car companies will make them and the cleaner the air will become without waiting for the government to lead the way.

Little ideas can make a world of difference... go see the movie and let me know your little and big ideas. And, if you already have a high mileage car, be sure to brag to others about the money you're saving and watch them buy one as well.

June 15, 2006

Best places for work and TALK ABOUT

Do you want people to talk about your business? Start with your own HAPPY people. OC Metro featured such places in this month's issue.

And the leaders are:

Taco Bell Corp. - CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County) - Autobytel, Inc. - Jarrett Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, Inc. - RBF Consulting - plus California Pools and Spas, Secure Funding, Chick-fil-a, Yard House, Newmeyer & Dillion, Robbins Bros, Standard Pacific Homes, Thomas P. Cox Architects, BDS Marketing, and KPMG.

What happens when a company is a happy place? First, the employees stay around and become experts instead of turnovers. Second, and more importantly, happy employees also produce happy products and happy services. Then, they tell their family, friends and anyone they meet on the street about their good company. As Word-of-Mouth comes back in vogue, perhaps it's time to rethink the HR aspect of happy employees and think of of them more as free sales reps.

As the kids say in OC, duhhhhhhh. Yet if that's so dang obvious, why don't more do it? I don't know, you tell me.

I worked (very briefly) with an Internet ASP company. The president walked into the work room once and announced, "I can't wait until January when you [independent contractors] are employees and I can fire you." For some reason, people quit before he had that opportunity. The company went south shortly after that.

What's your fun factor? What's your thoughtfulness factor? Both are very high on what women want in their products and work experience. Increase both and you'll increase retain-ability and profits at the same time.

If you're a female consumer reading this, help them out. The next time you note the fun or the thoughtfulness of a company, tell them. Let them know they are on the right track.

April 29, 2006

Word of Feet

Celia W. Drugger of the New Times writes about the effort of 50,000 Napal women going door to door to eradicate measles. Their goal is to get 250,000 for the next healthcare campaign.

"In the impoverished kingdom of Nepal, 50,000 mothers like Mrs. Gurung, most of them illiterate, are foot soldiers in one of the great unfolding public health triumphs of modern times: the global push to slash the number of children who die from complications of measles."

Why is this important to marketers in the US?

Because it wasn't 50,000 fathers going door to door to protect the next generation, it was the mothers. And, it wasn't rich mothers with time on their hands, either, it was mostly illiterate women "who volunteered... delivered invitations to each household by hand, then followed up the night before with a reminder visit, shouting their message like town criers."

As the markets become more global and marketers look for ways to "resonate" with women across international lines, they don't need to look much farther than at the common elements that all women share. In this case, both parents care about their kids, but it's the mothers who are literally taking the extra step.

It's a trust thing. Communication whether by the phone or foot, will always work when people know each other first and care about a common cause. How are you "known" by your consumers? What steps are you taking to make life more livable even if it has nothing to do with making a profit? Those are the things that will be remembered and appreciated by your female customers.

April 20, 2006

Trust in the future?

One of the trust points for women is "thoughtfulness", doing things beyond the call of duty or showing concern for the greater good. For many being thoughtful may seem too "girly" for business. According to a report presented by Genette Eaton, the CEO for HomeAid , supporting a "cause" adds to the bottom line as well as improving the future of someone less fortunate.

In Genette's case, HomeAid is the "cause" for Pardee Homes a builder of high quality homes in the California. While Pardee builds homes for those who can afford them by day, they also build shelters for temporarily displaced people on their off hours. It's an acknowledgment that some people have money, some don't, but both need a roof over their heads.

Genette reported the numbers. Being a "giving company" meant that customers were three times more loyal, employees were five times more likely to stay both of which made shareholders happier as well. (You can grab more facts from a 42 page report found on CECP's site (CorporatePhilantropy.org) Good matches build better futures for both the cause and the company.

She stressed that the key reason some companies get "cause marketing" right and some get it wrong is if the CEO is completely behind it. It also helps to have the "cause" work hand-in-hand with their business like it does for Pardee where it became an extension of the Pardee Personality.

Marketers: Be on the look out for longterm projects that match your business the best.

Women: As the group that does the most volunteer work, it's up to you to let companies know how your organization would be a great fit for them. Don't call companies up and ask for a donation, instead ask their marketing department to lunch and look for how you can both benefit from a long term relationship.