When a mission-driven company was launched, community members, family, friends pledged all-out support but never delivered! The entrepreneur learned the hard way! The business, addressed gender equity, a major social and cultural issue, and all were excited. My community understood my passion and committed to help me fight and win. They promised to follow on social media, be best customers and tell all friends about the work being done.
Companies are launched daily to address pressing issues: police reform, racial and gender inequities, global warming and environmental impacts. My co-founded company is an ecommerce-shopping platform for women-owned businesses, to reduce the massive economic toll of the pandemic, on women. Covid-19 drove women out of the labour-force and onto online-shopping platforms. Creating an online-shopping platform to support women-owned businesses was an ideal solution. The idea was shared with family and friends. Within a few weeks, a co-founder and a passionately committed team of women who shared the vision and mission emerged. The shopping-platform was online within five months.
Starting any company is difficult
I did it twice before, so I know; but this was different as no product, or technology or even a concept was sold to make money. This company addressed the major social issue of gender equality. Gender inequity has existed for thousands of years, but thanks to #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, renewed attention over the past few years, is secured. The world and my community were concerned about social injustice and wished to contribute for positive changes. I was energized, obsessed with the new business with positive business indicators for traffic on the site: number of people completing a purchase (conversion rates), vendors attracted to sell on the site, investments in marketing and salaries, etc.
A mission-driven business is absolutely personal
Entrepreneurship is problematic but with support from those around you, those stressful days and nights become easier. But social change is never easy and the challenge of start-up, combining with the mission, can be overwhelming. And confronted with lack of enthusiastic support from the core community, the challenges multiply. A year after starting a new business, the toughest feedback is the inability to energize more friends from the immediate circle. Rise every morning, charged and committed to ensuring social change. Work hard to grow the business, creating a platform for improving equality and economic health of women. Changing a few minds is not enough. To change the culture by making solid impact on women’s lives who then join our mission: growing businesses that sell on the platform. After discussions with sellers and customers about the value added to their lives through the vision, relentless commitment and boundless energy of our team, I understand the importance of our work which is bigger than all of us combined. It is about Opportunity and Equality and changing the world to make it possible for women to thrive, by focusing on the big picture.
The immediate community remained absent without helping in any visible way. Habits, resistance to change and convenience won out over truly making any behavioural shifts. Many suggested changes in my business model and mission on terms convenient for them. Some simply failed to support my site when shopping, but said it is nothing personal.