Much of our business thinking is short-term and I want to encourage you to think a little more long-term. Big businesses reporting to shareholders are all about the short-term, the next quarter or the next half-year dividend payment. I would suggest that this is not good business or sustainable business. Good businesses that invest in their people are not going to see a return in the short-term, in fact their profits may go down in the short-term if they are catching up on investing in their people. However, these businesses will be likely to be more profitable in the mid- to long-term as their staff are less likely to leave and productivity is likely to be higher.
Investors have traditionally looked to make a quick buck and programmes like Dragon’s Den encourage short-termism in investment, but there are investors too that invest in the longer term, and it is companies that are working through environmental issues, treating their teams well and investing in the people within their supply chains that are going to be a better investment in the long term. Why? Because it is these companies and brands that consumers are already flocking to in their millions. Consumers have had enough of greedy capitalism where the only beneficiaries are share-holders and ‘fat cats’. What consumers want to buy is brands that are doing a better job of redistributing wealth rather than increasing the gap between rich and poor.
Now within the speciality food world, you might be thinking that my arguments aren’t particularly relevant as they aren’t huge profits swilling around and you are right! However, the principals by which we run our businesses are still important. Reducing our carbon footprint slightly by moving electricity supply to a green energy company or increasing the percentage of fair-trade ingredients within our products or ensuring everyone is paid the living wage (according to the Living Wage Foundation) are very small changes that may come at the expense of a small degree of profit, but it is these changes that your consumers are looking for and will result in greater long-term loyalty.
And if we are all made these small changes, the change to the environment and society would be enormous. Let’s do it!