TOMS SHOES is another great example of a company that has a much deeper foundation than just selling products.

They sell shoes and eyewear.  Ho hum, right?

If that were the case, you’d never hear about them.  They’d just be some little specialist internet shop, indistinguishable from thousands of others.

Blake Mycoskie started the company in 2006 after a deep personal experience in Argentina, where he developed a passion for selling products and benefiting those in need.  Their “One For One” philosophy is all summed up in the great statement, “We are in business to help change lives.”

Compelling!

In this case, it’s a passion that has been integrated not only into the business model, but into their marketing message as well.  This isn’t manipulative, trying to sell products by inducing a sense of guilt.  Instead, it’s a way of uplifting and honoring their customers, helping them to have a practical outlet for doing good in the world.

This ain’t no charity.  They want to make a profit, because by doing so they’re able to do even more good in the world.  So far, it’s worked extremely well – it’s powerful and consistent.

Imagine what it’s like for the company to make a major decision.  Usually the key questions would be things like:

  • Is there a market need for this?
  • Can we do it efficiently?
  • Is there a sufficient return on the investment and sustainable profit?

Not that those questions are unimportant to TOMS, but the more powerful ones will be:

  • Is it consistent with our mission?
  • Will it make the world a better place?
  • Is it sustainable long-term?

When you have a powerful and deep foundation for your business, you think much more strategically and long term.  You’re not going to be too distracted by short-term shiny “opportunities” which ultimately damage what’s important to you.

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