co-founder explains why Local First’s new campaign is good for Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — “Reimagine commerce in ways that build a fulfilling and lasting world.”

That's the mission statement of Etsy, a $3 billion company with 54 million members and a business model committed to making an impact in local communities.

It was written by Etsy co-founder Matt Stinchcomb. He was in Grand Rapids on Monday, Jan. 6, to speak about the company's values approach to business and led a discussion at LaFontsee Galleries in the evening on “Etsy and the Art of Social Impact.”

The Brooklyn-based online global marketplace is used by artists and makers around the world to buy and sell unique and handmade products.

Etsy is the first — and currently only — public company certified B Corp. The 12-year-old company has pledged that its values will take precedence over making profits. In 2015, Etsy reported a net loss of $54.1 million, although gross merchandising sales climbed about 24 percent to nearly $2.4 billion.

B Corps are companies that are dedicated to making a positive impact in local communities.

Stinchcomb led Etsy's certification efforts to be a B Corp. The company's commitment to making a social impact came from staff collectively reading books such as 2007 bestseller “Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future” by environmentalist Bill McKibben and the 1973 classic “Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered” by British economist E. F. Schumacher.

The theme of those books was focusing on a big number of small things instead of a small number of big things, Stinchcomb said. In many ways, that summed up why Etsy has resonated so quickly with so many.

“We have to question the endless economic growth in a world of finite resources,” Stinchcomb said, summing up the philosophy.

In West Michigan, Local First is leading the way in the development of new B Corps.

There are 16 Michigan-based businesses certified as B Corps, including 14 from Grand Rapids. Most are in West Michigan. they include companies designated as certified B-Corps include Cascade Engineering, The Image Shoppe, Essence Restaurant Group (and three of its restaurants), Gazelle Sports, Catalyst Partners, The Gluten Free Bar, Bazzani Associates, Better Way Imports, 616 Lofts, Brewery Vivant and Highland Group.

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What’s Trending In 2017

In today’s fast-paced business world, there is more pressure than ever for companies to provide superior quality and customer support. In order to do this while keeping costs down, businesses of all types are choosing to outsource their non-core processes to local experts. Some of the most commonly outsourced functions include accounting, IT and cybersecurity support, marketing, graphic and web design, etc.

In fact, business process outsourcing as it is called, or BPO, is expected to be one of the most significant trends in 2017.

How can outsourcing benefit small business owners?
nWhile there are many advantages to outsourcing locally, here are a few ways it can benefit small businesses and help them gain competitive advantage:

1. Cost Advantages.
nThe most obvious advantage of BPO is the cost savings that it enables by reducing your fixed overhead because you only pay for the work that is done. Research has shown that, on average, when companies calculate the true cost of an employee – including wage, benefits, PTO, taxes, unemployment, etc. – their true savings add up to over 50{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de}.

2. More Time to Focus on Core Competencies.
nLocal outsourcing also frees up both you and your staff to focus on core competencies. By having focus your company can ensure its employees are assigned to the right projects at the right time. By dedicating their time to their strengths, you derive the maximum benefit from their talents. Not to mention, it also helps free up more of your resources so that you can use them where it counts.

3. Differentiation.
nLocal outsourcing helps companies differentiate from the competition by prioritizing the activities that appeal to the customer. For example, customer experience. As author and management expert Geoffrey Moore explains “Whatever is the new thing that creates differentiation, that’s core. Any activity that doesn’t differentiate the company in the eyes of the customer becomes less important than core capabilities.” 

4. Shared Responsibility. 
nWhen outsourcing key tasks and processes to an experienced partner, they take responsibility for them on your behalf. However, outsourcing does not mean relinquishing responsibility. The outsourcing partner assumes responsibility for the management of the work and for the outcome, but your organization must still be sure to maintain communication and monitor the work to ensure that the work is progressing as expected and that objectives are met.

5. Reduced Risk.
nEvery business investment carries a certain amount of risk. Markets, competition, government regulations, financial conditions, and technologies all change very quickly. Outsourcing providers assume and manage this risk for you. Because they possess the knowledge and resources required to monitor and manage risk effectively and efficiently, they generally are much better at knowing how to mitigate risk in their area(s) of expertise.

6. Increased Efficiency.
nThrough best practices, continuous improvements, the latest tools, technology and training methodologies, an outsourcer can bring a level of efficiency that may be hard to match through in-house solutions. Specialists can offer small businesses high levels of expertise and flexibility, as well as faster execution. This leads to an increase in efficiency and productivity, which contributes to your bottom line.


About Stingray Advisory Group LLC: Stingray Advisory Group LLC is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a proud Local First member. By creating dynamic customized solutions for business growth, we empower businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools to further their development. To learn more or schedule a consultation, visit Follow us today on Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+ and Twitter for more helpful tips!

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