OK great, now that I lured you in thanks to an adorable puppy, I will give you fair warning. This post might wander a bit, as I am going to try and walk you through the almost real time thinking I've been doing the past few weeks.
"Executives and directors viewed themselves as stewards to serve not just the shareholders, but also bondholders, suppliers, employees, and the community"
-Lynn Stout, Cornell Law Professor
I am currently reading The Infinite Game, by Simon Sinek. A book about mostly about business theory, which may sound boring, but is actually really really interesting. I've already mentioned Simon, after re-watching his Ted Talk (go watch it now if you haven't).
I am only ⅓ of the way through the book but there have already been so many ideas that are going to help me shape the future of Cocktails By Mail. And that's really what this post is about.
Money isn't going to be the goal.
Growth isn't going to be the goal.
Profit isn't going to be the goal.
Our goals can't be the above for the sustainability of the business. And they can't be if I want to stay motivated and interested in the business I've created. The goal has to be something bigger. And that's where Simon's book is really helping. The main premise is about a business having a Just Cause (I touched on this in my Eco-friendly or Bust post) but I've learned more about the theory of structure of a Just Cause that has had me really thinking deeply about what Cocktails By Mail is, and what I want it to do.
Our Just Cause is going to be crucial as I move forward, as it will give me the framework to help guide all business decisions. Cocktails By Mail's Just Cause is certainly nowhere near being finalised, but I am starting to get a framework for it, and I have already seen it help me in making decisions, which is incredibly helpful.
The other week I started to run low on eco-pouches, when I called to place another order they said the lead time was now three weeks. YIKES. I was planning how many pouches I would need with my upcoming planned orders, regular orders, etc. when an enquiry came in for a big even the following week. I was talking it through with my husband and we both said, well I could use the recyclable plastic pouches just for the event and let them know.
I gave it a few hours thought, and in the time went back to my very loose Just Cause, and even though it isn't fully formed, revisiting it made me realise that no, I couldn't use plastic pouches just for an event. That while in that moment it would be a win, and I would get some cash, in the long term it was against what I was setting out to do. And immediately I knew what decision to make.
I want Cocktails By Mail to be more than just booze to your door.
I want to change the way we look at the luxury drinks market- I want to make drinks without damaging the environment, be 100% open & honest about the choices I make, and help people stay connected when they can't connect in 3D.
Something else I've been researching the past few weeks is about becoming a B Corp. If you aren't familiar with B Corps, they are "businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose".
B Corp is more than just being eco-friendly, it's about giving back to your community, providing good jobs, supporting an ethical supply chain, and not just simply putting profits first.
It's a pretty lofty goal, especially as a small one person company, but they have a startup program that sounds like a great fit. And making B Corp ethos part and parcel of Cocktails By Mail is going to help solidify my Just Cause, and keep the company on the right track.
These concepts are all really lofty, aspirational, and quite big thinking for such a new & small company, but if not now then when?
Retrofitting ideas into a company is so much f*cking harder than just doing it from the start.
It's like any good habit, you've got to do it often and consistently for it to make a difference. So I feel really strongly about saying these committments out loud and from the very beginning, so any time I start to drift course I can revisit them and remember what I set out to do.