5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Combine Profit and Purpose

How to help your business do good and well at the same time.

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By Chirag Kulkarni

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If you want to leave a legacy and give back to society, you need to make some smart decisions along the way. Here are five ways you can make your mark while sleeping peacefully at night.

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1. Pick an impactful industry.

Depending on your background and skills, you may feel limited about which area you decide to go into. However, this shouldn't always be the case. The key is to pick an industry that has a real, tangible impact on the world.

For example, biotech is one of the most exciting industries to be in because the constant innovations don't just make smartphones smaller or rented accommodation more authentic. Those breakthroughs actually save lives and work to eradicate diseases or revolutionize medicine. From finding a cure for cancer to making vaccines safer, biotech (currently valued at $415 billion) allows social entrepreneurs to leave a legacy while solving world problems.

2. Recognize the power of inclusion.

Diversifying your startup team isn't just good for public relations (PR). Some of the world's most successful companies, including Cisco, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson consistently find themselves among America's most diverse companies. Recognizing that creativity and innovation can come from unexpected places, the more diverse your team, the more ideas they will bring to the table. You'll also be creating an inclusive company culture that provides opportunities to those often overlooked.

Diversity isn't just about ethnicity, establishing benefits for women or policies for LGBT employees. Try hiring people who think differently from you. A mix of personality types in a team can spark the best ideas and propel a startup to amazing heights.

Diversity extends to your choice of suppliers as well. Ford Motor Company is a world leader in contracting diverse suppliers. They get the best mix of products and solutions while stimulating new business opportunities for minorities to boot.

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3. Create a business model that gives back.

If you want to have an immediate impact on those around you, why not create a business model that gives back? This could be something as simple -- but effective -- as apportioning a certain amount of your sales to a given charity or cause you feel strongly about. Weaving this kind of profit-sharing model into your company's marketing materials and PR can have a major impact on sales.

Household names like Warby Parker or even TOMS Shoes do this exceptionally well.

Almost two-thirds of consumers will pay extra for a product that has a positive impact on the environment or is made through socially responsible means. Moreover, companies that give back are seeing success across all industries, especially with their socially conscious millennial target.

Try to find a cause that fits in with your company so that it makes sense with what you do. The more natural it seems to your core values, the more successful it will be and the easier for the whole company to get behind.

4. Sponsor local events.

Unable to break into a life-changing industry? If your startup is built on other foundations, don't worry. You can still find ways to bridge profit with purpose. If you can't donate a portion of your profits while still making ends meet, or you aren't in a position to add flesh to the bones of your skeleton team, start slowly. Try sponsoring local events.

Not only will you get your name associated with causes or big brands, but you'll become an integral part of your community. This can be something as simple as providing the shirts for a high school fun run, helping out with administrative expenses or donating a prize. You'll get plenty of gratitude and promotion in return, and ample chances to send out press releases of your own.

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5. Source Your Products Locally

Where possible, try to source your products locally. You'll stimulate the local economy and have full control over the parts you use, the processes that went into them and where they came from.

You can also select organic produce or materials from companies that offset their carbon footprints. The EPA outlines the benefits of sourcing local materials on the environment, including saving money, reducing pollution and helping cut down on greenhouse gases.

You may not think that entrepreneurs can do much to tackle climate change or help solve world problems. But, it's easier today than ever to strike a balance between turning profit and doing good. Solve real world problems while making a name and earning a healthy compensation to boot.

Chirag Kulkarni

CMO of Medly

Chirag Kulkarni is the CMO of Medly, a digital pharmacy in New York City.

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