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The Ice Cream Shop

My husband and I recently went to Ben & Jerry’s on a hot summer’s day as he was being called by Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream flavor he loves so much.  As we sat in the store enjoying our fat-laden goodness, I was reminded of Ben & Jerry’s great mission-based business model and how they never wavered.  The ice cream was made for the people, by the people and they’d do right by their stakeholders, customers, environment and community.  They believe that it is their responsibility to give back to the community and make choices about products based on human resource practices (e.g. employing the under-employable or fair trade practices).  I read a case study on Ben & Jerry’s at both undergrad and in Entrepreneurship in b-school at Wake Forest and it struck me that one day I hoped to start a company that was such a model citizen.

As Yellow Duck Marketing is laying its foundation and building its business plan, it is great to be reminded of their progressive values. It got my wheels turning about how a small marketing firm could give back to the Charlotte community and the environment in general.  I have grand plans and lots of pet causes, so the challenge is choosing where to focus time, energy and money. We don’t produce a “product” like ice cream, and we don’t employ thousands of people so we have to make choices about resources on a much smaller scale. As a result, it doesn’t feel like anything makes an impact. When a new company is starting up, how much is expected? Is the activities of the founder enough?  Will any amount of involvement ever feel like enough??

Perhaps the best way to do it without feeling overwhelmed is setting milestones; it’s a great exercise in goal setting.

“Patience, you must learn.”

All I went in for was a strawberry cheesecake scoop on a sugar cone and I came out wondering about corporate strategy.  My belly, heart and mind left full.