August 08, 2018

The Prophets of Profit: Building a Community (and Giving Back to It) with Tim McDonald


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The Prophets of Profit: Building A Community (And Giving Back To It) With Tim McDonald by Brian CalifanoBrian and Scott sat down to speak with community builder and entrepreneur, Tim McDonald. Tim takes ‘community’ to a whole new level: Not only is he the former Director of Community for The Huffington Post, but Tim also inspires leaders to take action and make a social impact within their communities and across the globe. Tim discussed with Brian and Scott the importance of social entrepreneurship, his incredible work with No Kid Hungry, and why even the smallest of initiatives can make a major difference within your community.

Click here to listen to Scott and Brian’s entire conversation with Tim McDonald.

Leadership Today and Onward

Tim speaks and writes often about leadership. He laid out the core aspects of effective leadership and explained how it’s evolving:

  • There’s less talking and more action.
  • There’s less talking and more listening. This enables true understanding of the needs and desires of the people businesses are trying to connect with.
  • There’s a lot more asking “what’s in it for all of us?” rather than “what’s in it for me?” With this perspective, everybody will walk away feeling fulfilled, feeling good about themselves, and feeling good about their company.

Small Businesses Making a Big Impact

Are companies today more socially conscious? How important is it for small to mid-size businesses to be benevolent or have a social message?

Tim is seeing more companies become “socially conscious.” He warns, however, that it’s important to “look behind the curtains” to make sure a company is not just talking the talk because they think it’s what people want to hear. How much action is there? Are they really living what they preach? Are they creating a culture for their employees, customers, and community to showcase that they truly believe in the cause?

Tim cautions small to mid-size businesses who want to initiate a social cause or message for their company: Do not compare yourself to a large company’s social efforts. A large company has resources that a smaller company does not. You can make a large impact within your community or to your customers in a way that doesn’t take a lot of money, time, or effort. Find a cause that’s near and dear to your heart and inspire your employees to support it. Any amount of money you raise for the cause will have an impact.

Philanthropic Win-Win

The first thing Tim does with a client when starting on a social strategy is to have the company define its goals. He focuses on what the company is trying to achieve — he creates a big picture and then outlines how to meet specific objectives. Make sure the strategy and messaging are lined up — and bring people in right away. Make sure to make the connection — get that customer the information about your social platform.

Tim described a social strategy he’s worked on with some restaurants. If customers make a small donation to a charity, they’ll get a coupon for their next visit. Not only are they raising money for a good cause, but they’re also bringing return business faster than they normally would because of the coupon.

To Market or Wait to Market an Ugly Website… That Is the Question

There was a question from the audience from an online business owner. He says his current website is “ugly” and is getting an update. He and his partners can’t decide to market before or after the launch.

Tim insists that if you already have a website, you’re already marketing yourself. He advises not to spend too much time or money on marketing it if you’re not happy with it. It’s more important to see if you can capture your customers’ information in another way. Also remember that most business and website owners are their own worst critic. Is the website working? Is it converting for you? If it is, there’s no reason to stop marketing the site. If it’s not converting, then limit the marketing or minimize the information you have on it. Use it as a lead capture page, getting customer information. Then when it’s time to launch the revised site, you have names to announce to. You can also use that list for ongoing marketing campaigns.

Giving Your Employees Room to Grow

There was another question from the audience about delegating tasks. This business owner just hired his first employee because he was too busy building the business and networking to do the day-to-day work. He underestimated how much time it would take to train this person. He’s looking for good tactics in delegating tasks and being a good leader so he can continue to scale the business.

Tim had the perfect story related to this very topic: His friend had an intern and he gave her a large project. The intern asked his friend how to go about doing the project. Tim’s friend told the intern, “I can show you my way, or you can do it your way, which may end up being better.” The intern did it her way and, indeed, the results were better than the way Tim’s friend had been doing it. As business owners, we think we want things done in the same way we’ve always done them. Training takes time. Tim asserts that if you train your employees in the right way instill trust in them and be willing to let go and let them discover and learn on their own they’ll help you improve the process and will retain the information better in the long run.

No Kid Hungry

Tim was very excited to share the campaign he’s working on, No Kid Hungry. No Kid Hungry is a campaign run by Share Our Strength, which has the single mission to end child hunger in the United States. 1 in 5 children in this country — that’s 16 million kids in the United States face hunger insecurity every single day. No Kid Hungry works to provide children 3 meals a day.

Click here to listen to Scott and Brian’s entire conversation with Tim McDonald.

Connect with Tim online…

Brian Califano & Scott MargolinBrian Califano

Scott Margolin

Co-founders & Managing Partners


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