As a business owner, how often do you say these words to your PR people: Get Me On The Cover of Time Magazine. Almost funny, if it wasn’t so tragic.
Start by asking the right questions.
How are your products and services impacting others? How are you working to leave the world or your community a better place? And how does making it into Time Magazine actually looks like? As an example, let’s talk about 30-year old Bas Timmer, who just made it into the 2020 Next Generation Leaders of Time Magazine. What follows might inspire and lead you in the right path.
Is Your Product or Service Aligned with Your Values and Core Competence?
Two years ago, I wrote about Bas Timmer and the Sheltersuit Foundation. It all started back in 2014, when a personal story became a trigger to help solve a larger problem. The father of Timmer’s best friend became homeless and tragically died in the winter cold when forced to sleep outside. Bas Timmer had just graduated from Fashion Design and had been producing warm clothes. Suddenly, making Fashion didn’t feel right anymore. He felt compelled to take action.
It’s weird that we have a gigantic textile industry and every day millions of garments disappear into the incinerator, but we cannot even keep people warm. The fact that we cannot protect human lives is a world upside down, — Bas Timmer.
Is Your Product or Service Ethical, Social and Sustainable?
Bas Timmer developed a shelter suit that is part tent, part parka. First, the shelter suit can be used to keep homeless people warm at night. Secondly, it can be transformed into a water and windproof coat during the day. Finally, it can be stored into a portable backpack. Its design is completely made from upcycled and recycled materials. Production costs are covered by donations. And Dutch and European companies, such as TenCate Outdoor Fabrics, 3M and Nomad donate high-quality textiles and materials.
Are You Creating the Right Kind of Impact?
Moreover, the shelter suit is produced in a social clothing factory that trains and employs volunteers, homeless and unemployed people, as well as refugees. In this way, it helps setting-up people for success by making them more employable and skilled.
My dream is that people get motivated to take action. Action to protect their neighbors in their own community. Because the shelters cannot handle these amounts of homeless people anymore. I believe we can do that together. — Bas Timmer.
Fast forward six years, free of charge the Sheltersuit Foundation has distributed 12,500 shelter suits to homeless people in the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Italy, the U.S. and to refugees in Greece. By no means is this the end of it. Today, the Sheltersuit Foundation partners with UNICEF to try and produce the suits for worldwide distribution, and at lower costs. The goal is to open similar small factories in other parts of the world and to empower local communities. These would sew the designs and improve their own situation and their neighborhoods.
Are You Showing Leadership?
I have always dreamed of building something big. My next goal is to build a company as big as NIKE or as North Face, but all the profits go into the Foundation to protect people. And that is my main thing, I want to protect everybody in the world. — Bas Timmer.
Taking action, being selfless, impacting society at large, contributing to solve a social or environmental problem, helping communities to become a better place, are the qualities of a true leader. So, unless you make the cover of Time Magazine for the wrong reasons, the future belongs to entrepreneurs and companies that, while being profitable, have a purpose that respects people and planet. And that is the only thing worth talking about.