Blake Mycoskie’s new book “Start Something That Matters” is a must read for all entrepreneurs. The humble owner of TOMS shoes has changed the way people are doing business by promoting philanthropy as a necessity. He also implements trust as one of his key management strategies. By giving back to people in need and trusting everyone in his organization Blake has created a company that is changing the world and the way we do business.
Blake credits the story behind TOMS shoes for their worldwide success and believes that every company should sell their story, not just their product. His story is a simple one. While traveling through Argentina he realized the astonishing number of people (mainly children) that did not have shoes, and with minimal research discovered that it was a serious health risk. It was then that he came up with his “one for one” business model. He would make simple fashionable shoes, and for every pair sold he would give one away to people in need.
When TOMS was founded Blake was the sole employee. He had very little money and almost no product, but it was that resourcefulness that helped inspire him. One resource that TOMS still relies on is interns. Blake believes that finding clever young minds is key to success. He would rather have employees that have not proven themselves in business because he feels like they are more driven, and the ideas that they have are new and intuitive. These ideas are the ones that drive business. People who have experience rely on tried and true concepts that do not equate to progress but simply to consistency.
The backbone of the TOMS shoes story is “one for one”. For every pair sold a pair is given away, and Blake feels like this is the reason the company is so successful. He believes that businesses should be more than a product because people want to feel connected. We live in a world that thrives off staying connected through the internet, phones, television, and media, but we are still looking for new ways to feel like we are a part of something bigger. TOMS gives you that satisfaction. When you buy a pair of TOMS shoes you are not just buying shoes, you are becoming a part of a community while simultaneously helping someone half way across the world.
Blake’s business model is simple: Find your story, face your fears, be resourceful without resources, keep it simple, build trust, and giving is good business. The idea that a company’s only objective is to make money for its shareholders is rapidly decaying. The more connected our world becomes only increases the ways we are looking to be a part of something. I believe in Blake’s mission and believe that all entrepreneurs should “Start Something That Matters.”
What do you think about philanthropy as a for profit business model? Would you trust your employees and use unproven ideas to drive your business?