COVID-19 triggered an unexpected landscape for everyone, and although the Sustainable Salons model was built specifically to withstand all kinds of different scenarios that occur in small salon businesses such as peak periods like Christmas, quiet times, losing a staff member, gaining a staff member, downsizing, renovating or moving premises, we still came face-to-face with uncertainty.
But after the shock wore off, we came to see potential in the space it had opened up. For the last few months now, we’ve been on a journey of discovery to uncover where to from here. And while we were in the middle of this, the one question that kept coming up was – why do we do what we do?
And then, one of the articles I came across introduced me to the concept of ‘the fourth P’ in sustainability – purpose. Lightbulb moment! This ‘P’ is such a great addition to the mix when we’re thinking about how to incorporate the sustainability pillars into actual business practices. Now, I know this kind of thinking isn’t going to put dollars in your bank account tomorrow, but perhaps it will give you a springboard to refresh, redirect and innovate!
The ‘Purpose’ pillar of sustainability in action is all about looking at your business from your community’s perspective. It’s a necessary part because to build a truly robust model for success, a business must realise that it impacts many more stakeholders than simply the end customer who walks out with your product. And this impact is jam-packed full of opportunities to thrive!
Defining a sense of purpose inevitably will lead all companies to realize that business belongs to society and not the other way around. Now is the time to strengthen our social fabric.
(CB Bhattacharya, Sustaining sustainability: Lessons from the coronavirus pandemic)
It’s true – and important – that your business exists to perform services with obvious outcomes that your clients request, but have you ever revisited your business’s purpose from this larger social perspective? How do your employees, their families, consumers and the wider community benefit from your operations, services and initiatives? Who else can you serve, collaborate with or redesign a role for in a way that you’ve not considered before?
In our renewed mission here at Sustainable Salons, we started to see that we do what we do to not only reduce the salon industry’s negative impact on the planet, but because one day we want to make this improved quality-of-life a reality for everyone. We want sustainability to become normal! Our pathway to date has shown that the salon industry can be the shining example of what’s possible… and now we’re on a mission to share this with everyone. Suddenly we’ve entered a whole new realm of opportunity!
Our operations have always included the people, planet and profit benchmarks, and now they incorporate this purpose – it’s another pillar that we measure all of our decisions and actions by.
The recent crisis has created the need for some unusual, innovative and stressful changes. No doubt you’ve needed to make difficult decisions at some point. And perhaps you’ve found bandaid solutions just to help get you out the other side.
But I truly believe that when you take the time to identify the ‘fourth P’ in your business, the changes and decisions you make with that as your benchmark will help you do what you do and flourish, not just survive. Even in the toughest of global pandemic restrictions.
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