Is your business privately held (not publicly traded)? Intent: Our business programs have been developed to serve local owners who are available to meet with us, and have autonomy to transform any and all aspects of their businesses toward greater sustainability. While we are not equipped to engage with national/international organizations, there are other good resources for those businesses including Businesses for Social Responsibility. Local managers of businesses that operate on a national/international scale are invited to participate in local business education and networking as an Affiliate Member.
Do the business owners who have a controlling interest, totaling greater than 50% of the business ownership, live in Lake County? Intent: Similar to a home mortgage, you may have business financing that comes in the form of debt, equity, family trusts, or other innovative scenarios… but this question relates to whether or not the business owners who have responsibility for that financing reside in our region. Our intent is to support business owners who are pro-actively involved in this community.
Is your business registered in the state of California, with no corporate or national headquarters outside Lake County? Intent: We’re a local non-profit organization with local staff that understands the challenges faced by local business owners. There are other organizations better equipped to work on Corporate Social Responsibility with the decision-makers at businesses that operate (inter)nationally and are headquartered outside of our region. Here are some of those resources: CERES, Businesses for Social Responsibility, Social Venture Network. Local managers of businesses that operate on a national/international scale are invited to participate in local business education and networking as Affiliate Members.
Do you have full autonomy to make your own independent decisions regarding your unique business and it’s purchasing, operations and distribution, as well as the name and look of your business? Intent: Our approach is based on reciprocity. We support local business owners in their stewardship of our community and in turn ask our community to support these businesses. By autonomy we mean the independent ability to choose local potatoes for the French fries, (rather than having to use what’s shipped from a parent company), to change delivery methods to lessen the environmental impact of the business, to re-organize the ownership or profit-sharing structure of the business, or any other innovative idea a local owner has to strengthen our community or improve the health of our environment through their business decisions.
Do you pay all your own marketing, rent and other business expenses (without assistance from, or payment to, a corporate headquarters)? Intent: Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. Our tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust. One of the advantages we promote about our members is the fact that “we’re the only community in the world where you’ll find these businesses.” Businesses that are part of national marketing cooperatives and use the same names, signs and ads don’t contribute in the same way to a unique sense of place. However, businesses that enjoy a national marketing presence are still welcomed as Affiliate Members to enjoy all membership benefits -- including education and connections -- except the ‘Think Local First’ marketing campaign.
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