The entire thought process and purpose behind this blog is to share, and then to learn from all this shared knowledge and use it in our lives to make the positive change. We must realize that there are resources all around us that we can make use of!
I had the opportunity to attend one of the sessions of the 2019 Sustainability Series.
The Event: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Being a Sustainable Business Entrepreneur
Yeah, the focus on the sustainability and environmental industry is currently growing rapidly, meaning this may be the best opportunity for sustainable business entrepreneurs to emerge and mark their own stamp to create positive changes.
In my opinion, entrepreneurship and business operations in general will gradually transition from cut-throat profit maximization practices, to profit-maximization along with knowledge-sharing so other businesses and entrepreneurs can strive too. This, at the end of the day, helps us have a huge impact faster and in a more efficient manner.
With that said, what this event really taught me are things to keep in mind, as entrepreneurs in the Sustainability Industry, to be successful while enabling the world to become a better place.
The event started of with a phenomenon called Positive Psychology
Positive Psychology is the art of being positive in order to learn more, be creative, and in-turn, connect and relate with other humans beings because we are all the same
Another key takeaway is being mindful, and this is important, of how powerful and controlling our unconscious mind can be
Be self-aware while living a life of integrity, authenticity and ethically
Connect with yourself – “intendment” – understanding comes naturally that we are all connected – that’s when we can make a difference genuinely
Meet David Van Seters
“David is President of Sustainability Ventures, a sustainability consulting firm that makes the business case for sustainability in government, organizations and communities. He is also an entrepreneur who has helped launch or grow a half dozen triple bottom line businesses. One of these businesses was an organic/local grocery delivery company called Small Potatoes Urban Delivery (SPUD). He served as the President and CEO of this company for 12 years and grew it to become the largest organic food delivery service in North America. In July 2010, David stepped back from a management role at SPUD to pursue other sustainable business ventures. He has since launched or led five other sustainable businesses including an ultra-low carbon energy utility company, the electric bicycle company, a building energy retrofit company, a community crowdfunding company, and a sustainable business entrepreneur coaching company”
Root cause of sustainability challenges comes from our assumptions and beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation – all our economic systems, educational institutions and norms are based on beliefs and values – we need a paradigm shift
An amazing aspect of David’s journey was that he did not start off aspiring to be an entrepreneur – but everything happens for a reason and upon meeting Environmental Biologists and various Consulting firms, he realized there was a gap between the environment and consulting. David highlighted the issues we face as a society into 4 bubbles (something we can all consider when being creative)
- Where we live
- How we travel
- What we eat
- What we do with our incomes
For each of these bubbles, David strived to find or be part of the solution, whether it was being part of the SPUD leadership team in the past or consulting companies that promoted green transportation methods, like electric bicycles or even helping the growth of zero-waste apps like Stuffstr
It is understood, and we must all make it a point to understand, that not everything flows smoothly or perfectly – and from these experiences, David provided us with some lessons that he painfully learnt, but we all have the privilege of learning before making the same mistakes. Thank you, David for sharing your experiences and knowledge –
- Focus on progress, not perfection
- Put profitability or revenue streams before growth
- Do not chase customers because this will constantly be changing especially in our environment
- Get double the money you think you need and that just might be enough
- Put huge priority on getting your accounting procedures to be as accurate as possible – beneficial in the long-run
- Be at leading edge of market, not at the bleeding edge. Try to find the perfect time to jump into ventures because if society is not willing to be fully open to your idea yet, then you will most likely fail. However, when you notice the paradigm slowly shifting, be at the leading edge!
- Reduce energy consumption of large buildings
- Surround yourself with strong advisors
- Love your competitors – Care more about your impact rather than running other businesses down. Find competitors, share your knowledge and learn from them
- Find one or two things that really, extremely, define your customer.
Even if you are not an official entrepreneur, you can always be one without actually being an entrepreneur:
- Be an entrepreneur when looking for jobs. Do not just look at job boards, but network, connect with people, form relationships and get into the industry and field you truly enjoy
- Become an entrepreneur in your company – strive for changes within your organization and introduce sustainability
- Micro-entrepreneur in sharing economies – Rent out your place or AirBNB
David, to me, was extremely informative and was overflowing with advice. This event was just a small glimpse of what he can teach us. Have a look at David’s website and what he is doing today, including coaching those striving to become Sustainability Business Entrepreneurs.
It is really vital for us to be aware of such positive individuals, initiatives and projects happening around the world – because it can serve as a learning experience for each and every one of us. As we do in our daily lives, we apply what we learn to our lives, which in this case, is making the positive change to preserve our planet and environment for our societies and future generations.