Lesson 2: Starting a Responsible Business

What You’ll Learn: Corporate social responsibility is an evolving business practice that incorporates sustainable development into a company’s business model.  It is not enough for companies to generate a profit anymore. Today’s customers want to do business with companies that also demonstrate good corporate citizenship. This module will walk you through the process of creating a business that has a social purpose and mission.

Starting a Responsible Business (continued)


  1. Find your purpose. What are you passionate about? What cause would you like to commit to as part of your life’s work? If you have several, that’s O.K. The important part is to focus on your passions.
  2. Who can benefit? In many cases, there are other organizations out there who you can either partner with you or can make a beneficiary of your profit-sharing strategy. If you find a great match, set up a meeting and discuss your idea with them.
  3. Think about the culture. What do you want the culture of the company to be? How does it align with the cause you want to take on? What kind of employees would want to work for a company with this culture?
  4. What is the story? Eventually, the work you do becomes the story you tell. The two become intertwined. What do you want that story to be? Write a short description on a page or create a faux news story that is printed 10 years in the future about your company and its impact on the cause you have in mind.
  5. What is the legacy? Project 20 years into the future and write down your company’s legacy. Just a few sentences should do. This should capture the essence of what you’re trying to achieve. An example: Through GoodDeeds Inc’s ongoing commitment to affordable housing, homelessness in Washington State has dropped 10% over the last two decades. Doing this exercise will help you formulate your vision and mission.