My desire to support small businesses traces back to my father.

A lover of animals, as a child, I always admired his unique ability to connect with cats and dogs — it was almost as if he could speak their language! He dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.

After returning from World War II, my father studied veterinary medicine through the GI Bill and eventually opened his own practice.  Unfortunately, while he had many gifts, the man had very little financial savvy. Within just three years, he was forced to close his practice due to financial mismanagement.

He’s not alone. Many small business owners lack the necessary financial skills to thrive.  They’re experts in their field, but not in managing money.

As a child, I watched my dad give up on his dreams. Today, I’m determined to help people avoid that same fate.

Leading with purpose has always been important to me. Over time my business has evolved from bookkeeping and accounting services to financial advising and business coaching. We are about so much more than financial ledgers. We’re about the three freedoms of prosperity: money freedom, time freedom, and freedom from worry.

Our purpose feeds me.

The opportunity to help family businesses grow and prosper is my greatest privilege. I know that through our purpose we’re making the world a better place.

A Movement Made for MACKEY

In 2017, I learned about a program that would take our pursuit of being a force for good to the next level: the B Corporation Movement.

B corporations believe that “society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone.” B Corps “use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.”

That’s us! I thought to myself.

I continued my research and discovered that we were already meeting many of the requirements. I decided it was time to pitch the opportunity to the MACKEY team. I floated the idea at a meeting and was blown away by the response. Not only did my team accept my suggestion, they jumped at the opportunity. They were just as eager as I was — some were even more excited than me!

A committee was formed and the team got to work, filing the proper paperwork to apply for certification.

Don’t ‘B’ Fooled: Becoming a B Corp Is a Big Commitment

I’m not going to sugarcoat this: It takes a lot of work to apply for and meet certification requirements. This isn’t a quick google form. This is a lengthy process that entails extensive reflection, discussion, and documentation.

Applying is an accomplishment in itself.

But something happens in the process that I hadn’t anticipated: The mere act of applying for certification brought us closer together as a team.

Internally, we were forced to reflect, and even debate, whether or not we met certain standards. We were required to back up our claims with proof. Employees spoke up and shared their perspectives. And I shared insight that was previously not known by my employees.

We toiled over the paperwork, sure. But we also reveled in the opportunity to collaborate with one another and take a deep dive into what makes us tick as a business.

The day our official B Corp status was bestowed to us was a day of team-wide celebration. We were deemed worthy of the official title. But in the process, we’d also found our own worth.

To say that employee buy-in grew as a result of becoming a B Corp is an understatement. Through the experience we got to know one another and our collective purpose on an intimate level. We became deeply invested in the business and in one another.

B Corporations Make an Impact

B Corps are assessed in five impact areas: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers.

Here are just some of the ways we meet B Corp standards:

Governance: At MACKEY we practice open book management at every level of our organization. Transparency is sacred. Our team knows our financials and we encourage our clients to do the same.

Workers: At MACKEY we offer our employees unlimited PTO, decreased working hours in the summer and an equitable profit-sharing plan.

Community: At MACKEY we believe in paying it forward. We recently announced our partnership with the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs, sparking the next generation of entrepreneurial spirit in our home-state of Kentucky.

Environment: At MACKEY we make decisions with sustainability at the forefront. From choosing a walkable community to installing solar panels, we even use a geothermal HVAC system and swap out paper towels with cloth towels. Our environmental efforts are both big and small.

Customers: At MACKEY we treat our clients as individuals. We understand that everyone has a different definition of prosperity and we build plans to meet each individual small business owner’s needs.

Our B Corp status is a source of pride. It’s a badge we wear with honor. It’s validation that what we do has meaning and how we do it makes a difference.

A Challenge to ‘B’ Better: A Case for Continuous Improvement

At MACKEY we’re about the three freedoms of prosperity, but what we don’t talk about as much is how the three freedoms help to make the world a better place.

When we lead with intention and when we lead from a place of freedom and prosperity, it’s easy to be a force for good.

To my fellow business owners, both large and small, if you haven’t already, consider joining the B Corp Movement. Or consider exploring how you can improve your practices in any of the five impact areas.

If you’re not ready to dive into the deep end, consider using the free B Impact Assessment to get an idea of how heavy of a lift full-certification would be for your organization.

Or take advantage of the B Corp Sustainable Development Goals Action Manager, developed in partnership with the United Nations.

Pursuing Pending B Corp status is another option for startups and small businesses.

Or perhaps you’d rather select an area of focus and unofficially work towards improving your practices in that domain.

Whatever your pursuit, I’m here for it. Remember: Every small step taken towards being a force for good builds to a better overall world.

Together, as business leaders, we can make a difference.