Five lessons business owners can learn from not-for-profits

There are some fantastic not-for-profits out there, which find great ways to engage stakeholders and raise awareness of their cause.

Bedshed supports the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation’s annual Stay in Bed Day, held on Sunday, 29 June and the recent campaign made me think about common practices of not-for-profits and what business owners can learn from them.

1. Have a common goal

The best not-for-profit organisations have a very clear mission statement that resonates with people in and outside the business.

Take the time to determine what your mission statement is and how you plan to achieve it. Go back to the drawing board if you can’t fit your mission statement into a single sentence.

Your mission statement will provide your team with a unified purpose, helping them to understand what they are working towards.

2. Train your managers to be good leaders

Good management and leadership are essential for a business to be effective. Many not-for-profits have strong management and leadership to ensure that employees and volunteers are performing at their absolute best.

Management and leadership are often skills that need to be developed and the importance of training can be easily overlooked. Invest in your team by making sure management and leadership training is a priority.

3. Get to know your team and play to their strengths

When you have a small team you have the advantage of knowing their strengths and weaknesses.

In not-for-profits playing to people’s strengths is a common tactic used to deliver the best results. It is also a great way to motivate people and achieve key business objectives.

Knowing your people well and ensuring they are positioned to make the best possible contribution to the business is a valuable practice to adopt.

4. Identify and engage interested parties

Identify and engage interested parties on an ongoing basis with innovative and unique communications that make your business stand out.

Not-for-profits keep the communications with interested parties going all year round by staging events, informing the community via newsletters and celebrating the team’s achievements.

Maintaining a strong network and contact database is essential to building and tracking these relationships. Engage your key audiences in fun and colourful ways to keep your business front of mind.

5. Make every cent count

Not-for-profit organisations are thrifty because they have to make every cent count. This doesn’t mean that they are cutting corners.

Don’t be afraid to evaluate your processes, team and partners to ensure that you are getting the best deal and maximising efficiencies. Keeping your eyes open to potential cost savers will keep your profit margins healthy.

About the Author

Gavin Culmsee is Chief Operating Officer of Bedshed, one of Australia’s largest specialist bedding and bedroom furniture franchises with a network of more than 30 stores across the country. A robust industry in Australia, franchising takes a lot of the risk out of starting your own business. Bedshed has grown steadily since it started in Western Australia in 1980 and is currently expanding on the eastern seaboard. Follow Bedshed on LinkedIn here.

Related Stories