Interested in doing good through your business but not sure where to start? Then read up on our interview with Tanya Quinn, Founder of Small Actions Greater Good, located in Matthews, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I provide education, resources, and training to make it easier for Small Business Owners to do more effective social good that benefits their business, makes them proud of their efforts, and inspires others. I often shock people when I say, "If your social responsibility efforts aren't benefiting your business, don't do them as part of your business. Be philanthropic on your own time!"
My clients are Small Business Owners, typically 1-50 employees, who care about the world around them and want to do more social good through their businesses.
I offer a unique approach to Small Business Social Responsibility, the Small Actions Framework, that focuses on:
- Understanding how and why to take action.
- Learning how to make your actions more effective.
- Improving, replacing, or expanding your actions.
Tell us about yourself
I was blessed to stumble upon Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) early in my career and immediately loved the concept that a business could be profitable AND operate to improve the world. For 18 years, I combined my passion for doing good with my desire to climb the corporate ladder. As often as possible, I incorporated aspects of CSR into my jobs or proposed and championed CSR projects to senior management. When it didn't feel like enough, I donated and volunteered outside my career.
I was content with this hybrid approach until 2016, when I looked into my daughter's eyes for the first time. My desire to do good immediately became an obsession. Doing a "bit of good" when and where possible was no longer "good enough." I had to help improve the world just because she was in it.
Not sure what to do next, I left Corporate America and started a small business. I wanted the flexibility to spend more time with my family and the freedom to embrace social responsibility as much as possible. But, I quickly learned two things: taking action through my business STILL didn't feel like enough, and being socially responsible as a small business owner was not easy. So I spent months researching and planning and, as a result, created my unique approach, the small actions framework, to fill the gap between available resources and small business needs.
My mission, and what motivates me daily, is to inspire and support thousands of Small Business Owners to do more good in the world. I believe that every action, no matter how small, can contribute to the world's greater good. The power to make a difference does not belong only to large businesses, corporations, or government agencies.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I was walking away from a well-established 18-year corporate career to follow my passion and launch a new business and then having the patience to pause it for two years during the Covid pandemic. Asking business owners to do more while focused on keeping their doors open and employees employed didn't feel right to me. I'm proud that I stayed focused on my mission and purpose and continued to develop my ideas until I could relaunch.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Staying focused and finding balance! Most small business owners I work with are incredibly passionate, creative, and dedicated individuals with many ideas for what they can do and who they can help.
Focusing on one idea or business at a time is often challenging. It's also hard to know when to turn off "work mode" and find balance with family and other pursuits. I've seen it very helpful to have a strong network of business friends and mentors to provide advice and gentle nudges when needed.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you have strong foundations, particularly your mission, vision, and values. But more importantly, use these foundations to guide your business decisions. It's too easy to get distracted by everything we "could" do. Use your mission, vision, and values as your business compass to stay focused and on track.
- Consider if you want to help make a difference in the world around you through your business (i.e., through social responsibility). If you do, make sure you make your efforts more manageable and more effective. We are too busy as Small Business Owners to waste any time!
- Take the time to organize your business operations. Have written policies, processes, and procedures. Don't try to grow until you are efficient at what you already do.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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