Your business plan is only going to get you so far. When you're actually running a values-driven business, problems come up that you never could have anticipated. The whole experience can be incredibly isolating and draining.
Margot Fraser and Lisa Lorimer have been there, and they're here to help. Together with five of their colleagues—including Stonyfield Farm founder Gary Hirshberg and former Ms. Foundation president Marie C. Wilson—they offer the kinds of personal insights and seasoned advice you just can't get in business school. It's like sitting down at the table with some of the nation's top socially conscious entrepreneurs.
The book tackles the kinds of challenges every entrepreneur struggles with. How open and honest can you really be with your employees and still run an efficient business? At what point do you seek outside expertise? What do you do when things go terribly wrong? When is it time to leave? The authors and their fellow travelers share their experiences—not just what worked, but sometimes what spectacularly didn't. Some of these stories are harrowing: a worker getting killed by factory equipment, a false accusation of intellectual property theft , a crucial distributor running up a $195,000 debt with no way to pay it back. Others are simply day-to-day conundrums: meeting payroll when you're always in debt, deciding how to expand in a responsible way, balancing business needs with your commitment to the triple bottom line. At the end of each chapter, Lorimer and Fraser offer practical tips that can guide you through similar situations.
This is a book you can look to for affirmation, hope, and tools. No book can cover every challenge that might arise, but if you learn from the attitudes, techniques, and coping mechanisms these seasoned leaders offer, you'll get through the tough stuff with your sanity and your business intact.