Business is Not Just About Making Money…

Merriam-Webster’s simple definition of business is
    The activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money
​    Work that is part of a job
    ​The amount of activity that is done by a store, company, factory, etc.

I would add that business is also a vehicle that provides resources to do greater things and make a difference in the world. Most of us are in the “business” of selling something. In our industry, that something is products that are very effective in brand messaging. This is a benefit we offer clients. We also have the opportunity to do more than just sell stuff.

PPAI has created Promotional Products Work! Week to engage those not in our industry. The focus is on illustrating how promotional products work as a branding message tool. Through the week we are able to have a positive impact in our communities, as we show the benefits of our marketing medium.

Industry businesses and organizations, around the country did various things. My Regional Association, the Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC), took the opportunity to showcase our industry, while supporting two worthy organizations. SAAC hosted a SuccessFit4Life! Fun Run/Walk benefiting The SAAC Foundation and The Independent Living Resource Center.


We had a great time! Check out this short video of the finish of our run.


It was a pleasure to be a part of something that was specially tied to my industry. SnugZ USA, Logomark, Printgear, and Pro Towels provided products for “goodie bags” that guests received for a donation. Events like this offer a great business building opportunity. Distributors can host their clients…enhancing relationships, putting branded products in the hands of their end-user buyers, while supporting worthy causes. More information on how you can do a Successfit4Life! EVENT and offer a wellness program, that offers many benefits to businesses and organizations can be found here.

Changing business models and online shopping challenge today’s marketplace. The opportunity for suppliers, distributors, and end-users to do positive things together is a win-win-win situation. This is an emerging business trend…but it’s about more than doing good things for business sake. In my mind, this should be at the heart of any business. It’s got to be real though. Faking wanting to do good is not good.

Consider emerging companies that are including social responsibility and giving back as a key component in their business model. Many are familiar with Toms Shoes. They give away a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair sold. 

Recently seen on the popular ABC show Shark Tank, Bombas Socks, gives away one pair of socks, for every pair purchased. What’s unique here is they make a special, more durable sock that they give away. You can learn more about why in this short video.

There are many companies you haven’t heard of that weave positive things into their business model. My friends in Nashville have created Will & Ivey, a children’s apparel company that is built on this foundation. See what they are doing here.  

I invite you to see the impact SAAC is having on The Independent Living Resource Center. In this video Dani Anderson their Executive Director, and Lori Bolton-Herman talk about the commitment by her company Logomark has made in partnership Ventura, CA beaches to raise money for sand wheelchairs. Dani wants to enjoy the beach along with others who have disabilities. This is something she can do with these special wheelchairs. SAAC and Logomark are making a difference.

To me, THIS is what business is all about!

I'm working on a SuccessFit4Life! EVENT in my community. We’re raising money and awareness for our Senior Center, while putting a spotlight on the importance of being active at any age. Like many communities, my City, north of Los Angeles, is very into family and fitness. Everyone from our Mayor to a local network sportscaster who covers human-interest stories loves what we can do with this.

The model of a SuccessFit4Life! EVENT includes a "goodie bag" of branded products. For a community event like this, "goodie bags" can range in price from a $50.00 donation to a $500.00 donation. Companies pay a nominal cost to be a sponsor. They can choose the item that will carry their companies logo which will go in the bag. These range in price from inexpensive to higher end products. Sponsors have the benefit of supporting a worthy cause, getting the positive exposure that comes with being a part of a "typical" charity event PLUS the long lasting brand impressions that the product offers. 100% of of the "goodie bag" donation goes to the designated non-profit organization. In addition to these events, products are also included as incentives in the ongoing SuccessFit4Life! corporate wellness program. Promotional products are a key component to carrying the wellness message in the SuccessFit4Life! program.

Suppliers, if you would like your products featured in the program let me know

If your business or organization has done something positive, please let me know. Perhaps we will put together a story on it. 

Consider what YOU can do with your business to make a difference! If you have a heart to do positive things, your business will benefit from moving beyond just selling stuff. 

© 2016 Jeff Solomon, MAS


Awesome article

You are SO right that business is about much more than making money, although that's important as well. As you note, doing good things should be part of everyone's business model. Thank you for sharing this article.

On target

This commentary so very on target. I love what SAAC did and I think we should all be doing more of this kind of thing.

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