The Clean and Green Club, February 2017

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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, February 2017
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This Month’s Tip: Cautions in Setting Up a Social Entrepreneurship Venture

An entrepreneur asked on a discussion list for “best ideas to apply entrepreneurial skills to social enterprise” for a social entrepreneurship bootcamp in Taiwan. Since I’ve spent the last two months showing you how to move forward with social entrepreneurship, I thought you’d benefit to see some of the caution flags, too. Here’s the relevant part of my response:

The earlier a company can build in holistic thinking, the better. I see way too many would-be social entrepreneurs go off half-baked on a poorly conceived project that can actually make the situation worse on the ground. For example, many people jump into the famous Buy One Give One model without thinking through the effect on the pre-existing local economy in the target developing area. It has to be done in ways that don’t undermine the struggling local entrepreneurs. Others create something very dependent on continued input from the developed-nation partner but don’t create the structures to make sure that input IS in fact continued.

I see it as a strength that you want to include marketing, and that your vision of marketing includes storytelling. Social entrepreneurship companies are uniquely positioned to benefit by telling the right story to the right people. I do think some of the pieces you’ve identified may want to wait until the organizations are more established, and that the format should be interactive and not pure lecture.

You may find it helpful to view the ways I bring this material to an audience, by viewing my TEDx talk, (click “event videos”) or my 4-minute demo reel, which is footage from this year and somewhat more evolved: You would definitely benefit from my 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World—and you can download a sampler at no cost at

If your situation is similar to this entrepreneur’s, here are some other cautions to consider:

  • Will it be economically viable? Without profit or a funding source, all the good in the world will be undercut by the need to close before completion, leaving people frustrated and enraged as the progress they’d made disappeared.
  • Can your project be developed without enormous expenditures of resources, time, and money?
  • Do you have buy-in from locals on the ground that will partner with you?
  • Will the project sustain itself using local managers once you’ve moved on?

There are many more questions you should ask yourself. This list will get you started, and then keep asking questions like “and then what happens?” or even the marketer’s question, “so what?”

Again, I’m happy to help you think this through. It’s one of the things I do as a consultant to social change and environmental businesses.

New on the Blog
Just because I haven’t shared with you some of my recent blog posts in months doesn’t mean I’m not blogging regularly. I’ve put up 23 new posts since October 1, or about six new ones per month as of early February. Several I’m particularly proud of (not in chronological order)—note that one post is in more than one category:

Changing the World through Business
The Most Important Question to Create Eco-Friendly Technological Leaps

New Uses for CO2? Elkington’s Latest Out-Front Thinking

$10 Million to Charity—Another Cheer for Patagonia!

When Does Social Change Work Become a “Calling”?

Marketing/Customer Service
Will Budweiser’s Gamble Pay Off? (analysis of the company’s immigration-themed Superbowl ad)

Why I’ve Boycotted My Neighborhood Theater Since 1969

A committed author is always looking for book promotion opportunities

And THIS is Why Trump Won!

The Election and its Aftermath
George Lakey: DT’s Repression is a Huge Opportunity for the Movement (if you pick just one article on the blog, make it this one)

I DID Give Him a Chance…And That’s Why I March

And THIS is Why Trump Won!

10 Reasons to Resist Nonviolently, Chanukah, And Barbara Kingsolver’s Message

Friends Who Want to Help
JV Crum III, who has twice featured me on his Conscious Millionaire Podcast, turned a recent diagnosis of diabetes into a way to help others. Not only has he cut his blood sugar in half in just two weeks (and without insulin treatments), but he’s changed the focus of his series to “From Diabetes to Healthy and Thriving Entrepreneur.

If you’ve been around the independent publishing community for any length of time, you probably know the name Deltina Hay. Here’s her latest project: Elearning Delta is a full-service elearning solutions company, specializing in innovative course development and custom learning management systems. The Elearning Delta team can produce your elearning project from the ground up, providing full production services all the way through your ecommerce solution. (

Hear and Meet Shel
I’ll be one of the featured experts on the Monetise Your Passion Summit with Rita Joyan, February 13-March 5. That’s not a typo; she’s Australian. In fact, she was named Canberra’s Young Business Woman of The Year for 2015. Canberra, you might know, is Australia’s capital. And I’m especially excited because the other experts are not the same old same old. I’ll be learning for the first time from people like:
  • Stephanie Leigh Mulac – how to build 6-7 figure businesses
  • David Essel –  known as The new leader of the positive thinking movement.
  • Jesse Brisendine – founder of the 1 year 1000  challenge
  • Ally Laporte – radio personality and parenting expert  – her radio program has 6 million listeners.

I have several other interviews scheduled but don’t yet have their air dates:

  • With Internet marketer Willie Crawford
  • On the Positive Phil podcast “interviewing entrepreneurs and positive people” (I’m both)
  • With Kymm Nelsen on the Conscious Business Weekly podcast
  • With Alyssa Wright on the Leading Change podcast
  • Business Code Podcast with Karina Crooks
  • Game Changers with Lisa Faulkner

And shortlisted/in negotiation with meeting planners at several other events, but none are definite yet. Possibilities include Chicago and Rapid City, South Dakota, among others.

I’ll be moderating two panels at Ethical Corporation’s 5th Responsible Business Summit NY taking place on March 27-28 2017 at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel.

The Summit offers three focused tracks all shaped to uncover the REAL potential for CSR to drive profit, accelerate growth and change culture. Over 200 major-corporation delegates will attend to hear 45+ senior level speakers. And I’ve arranged to save you $200 on the conference fee. Just use the code, MP200, when you register at

How Social Entrepreneurs Can Thrive in the New Political Climate: webinar put on by Green America (my fourth for them), Thursday, April 29, 1 pm ET/10 am PT.

I missed Book Expo America last year after attending every one since 1997. But it’s back in NYC and my daughter is NOT getting married the following week (as she did in 2016), so I expect to be attending (May 30-June 2). If there’s interest, perhaps we can organize a gathering.

Order your copy of Shel’s newest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World

Learn how the business world can profit while solving hunger, poverty, war, and catastrophic climate change (hint: they’re all based in resource conflicts). Endorsed by Chicken Soup’s Jack Canfield, business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin, and many others. Find out more and order from several major booksellers (or get autographed and inscribed copies directly from me).
Download a free sampler with several excerpts, the complete Table of Contents and Index, and all the endorsements.
Another Recommended BookPeople Shock
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People Shock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule by Tema Frank

It’s been a really long time since I’ve reviewed a customer service book in this space. While I love writing about deep sustainability, occasionally I will revisit the basics and review a book on customer service, marketing, or general leadership. As a marketer, I see customer service and leadership as part of marketing. Get customer service wrong, and it doesn’t matter how brilliant your ads and messaging on, how clever your company colors—you’re toast.

This is a nicely written book by someone who was a corporate insider and moved into independent consulting for companies in desperate need of better customer service. And as we all know, a whole lot of companies could benefit from some coaching and consulting on that end.

Frank builds her book around a simple formula:

Promise + People + Process = Profit

She breaks this down, with at least one chapter on each of the 3 Ps on the left side of the equals sign.The promise is what the brand is really about: what your company stands for, its higher purpose.

People, of course, refers to the human factor: treat your workers well, make them feel like valued players, give them enough responsibility to take initiative and make customers happy. And in turn, they will be loyal, productive, and creative, willing to help you achieve greatness by making your customers feel great.

But even the best team will not be able to help you if you fail on process. Staff can be super-friendly and helpful, but if the system just doesn’t work, you’ll still take a hit on the bottom line.

Meanwhile, the companies that do customer service well, like Nordstrom and (in her view) Amazon, are raising the bar. At the same time, and social media provides a forum to massively amplify consumer complaints; she cites the infamous “United Breaks Guitars” video (which I also cite in my own latest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World)—and points out that United failed to learn from that debacle.

Some of her other many good points:

  • Customer-focused companies outperformed the S&P 500 by 5 times (p. 29)
  • Examine your “defector pipeline” to find ways to stop the loss (p. 62)
  • Only break your brand promise if you’re willing to break your brand (p. 67)
  • A bad apology can make things worse; a good, sincere apology—backed up with proper action—can turn a disgruntled customer into a fan (pp. 67-72); base apologies in “humility, transparency, and a desire to learn” (pp. 285-286)
  • Act on employee ideas immediately when feasible (p. 119)
  • Remember your existing customers, who are too-often neglected even though they’re more profitable than new business (I’ve written about this as well)(p. 148)
  • Make sure your frontline staff can access ALL the information about problems and solutions (p. 159)—and welcome their input on better ways to address various issues; even think about honoring your employees in “mistake of the week” meetings (p. 204)
  • Understand that fans of yours who recommend you are likely to also recommend your competitors—giving you the opportunity to earn even more referrals as you discover why they recommend others and can earn their trust in those areas (p. 274)

She also has great examples of companies that reinvented one or more of these Ps, with particularly wonderful examples around management. I especially loved learning about Ricardo Semler, head of the Brazilian company Semco, which eliminated practically every aspect of traditional hierarchical management and has grown 40 percent per year.

There’s lots more. If you have a customer service staff, you’ll pick up some great tips from this book.

Recent Interviews & Guest Articles: 

Shel’s done 16 podcasts recently, ranging from 5 minutes to a full hour. Click here to see descriptions and replay links.
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About Shel & This Newsletter

As a green and social change business profitability/marketing consultant and copywriter…award-winning author of ten books…international speaker and trainer, blogger, syndicated columnist – Shel Horowitz shows how green, ethical, and socially conscious businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green, less-socially-aware competitors. His award-winning 8th book Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet was a category bestseller for at least 34 months (and is now available exclusively through Shel), his newest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, has already won two awards and is endorsed by Jack Canfield and Seth Godin. Shel also helps authors/ publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

Shel Horowitz’s consulting firm, Going Beyond Sustainability, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company. He’s an International Platform Association Certified Speaker and was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.
He began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it’s changed names a few times along the way).
“As always, some of the links in this newsletter earn commissions—because I believe in the products and services enough to promote them (I get asked to endorse lots of other programs I don’t share with you, because I don’t find them worthy).”
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