You may have heard about B Corporations, been tempted to get certified, but ultimately opted out, deciding it’s not the right time for your startup. (For those of you that don’t know, B Corps are companies certified for meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency). As a startup or a company at an early stage, you’re dealing with a lot of challenges. You may think you still need to better establish your company’s culture or gain more experience and exposure before even considering getting certified.
But I’m going to stop you right there.
You actually have every reason to become a B Corp at your early stage – and here’s why.
Smaller is Faster
One of factors that may be deterring your decision to get certified is the time consuming process.
In order to become a B Corp, you have to go through the impact assessment; a questionnaire analyzing your DNA and and the way your company engages with its employees, environment and community. That can take time.
But here’s the silver lining: you save a tremendous amount of time if you do it when you are very small. You have less items, actions and tools to measure, not to mention a much smaller team to manage and lead. The more you grow, the more complex it will be to investigate. It’s also easier at an earlier stage to implement new tools or company policies that will help you gain points in your assessment; for instance, creating an employee handbook to clearly outline your company’s social benefits.
You are in the driver’s seat. You control how many hours per week or month will be dedicated to the process. With some simple organization, you can decide to take 2-3 hours per week and complete the certification in only 3-4 months. Once that bridge is crossed, the hardest and longest part is done!
It is also important to remember that you are not alone in this quest. You will get fast, invaluable support from the B Lab (the non-profit providing the certification), answering all your questions and concerns along the way.
Connecting to Community
Becoming a B Corp isn’t only about the special label or bragging rights. Once you’re certified, you join an inspiring community of change-makers. You’ll be connected to hundreds of linked-minded individuals, some pioneers of the B Corp movement, and others eager newcomers, like yourself. Although coming from very different industries, everyone shares the same values and is working toward the same goal: using their business for good.
It gives you the opportunity, as a small company, to network with experienced and influential people, ones that have paved the way and pioneered good social business. They’ve learned what it means to use business as a force for good, and can help catapult you at your early stage in the direction you envision. These are opportunities to get advice and gain visibility in a community that matters.
Just for Startups
To top it all off, the cost of the B Corp certification is based on the size and revenues of companies. If you are small and beginning your business (and your revenue is less than $1 million), you will only pay $500 to $1000 per year.
B Corp also has a special process for startups that are less than 12 months old, allowing them to have a pending status as they work toward achieving full certification, which is only available after a full year of operation. That way, you can show investors, employees or business partners your commitment to responsible business form the inception of your company. (learn more about that here: http://bit.ly/20BLooY)
Don’t underestimate the advantages of being newly-launched.
You’ll shorten the process and pay less because you’re still small-scale; you’ll join a community that will inspire and mentor you; meet purpose-driven people and position your company as being socially-minded from the beginning.
Start off strong and set the tone for the future of your company. Don’t wait; start leading the way for greater change.