The economy is moving inexorably toward cleantech and sustainability. More and more, investors, governments and consumers are demanding accountability and a triple-bottom line type of approach to businesses: profits, people and planet.
Introducing a tool to help startups and SMEs to plan for impact as they plan their business:
The Foresight BMC+i
Connecting the Dots Between Impact & Business Planning
The Business Model Canvas is a world-renowned tool for planning a business. It works well, as it allows anyone from a startup to a larger scale business to see all the key parts of their business in a single document (canvas).
Once these key components have been mapped out, it becomes easier to see areas that may need extra work, holes or gaps, and also areas of strengths and opportunities that could be leveraged.
(Foresight BMC+i tool, click here to download)
Adding the “+i” – The Importance of Impact Planning
Getting Investor Ready
Impact Investing is defined as investments that are made with “the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return”.
Impact investors are the type of investors that are looking to invest in cleantech – and will want to see that the impact of your business has been integrated into the business planning right from the beginning.
Foresight’s addition of impact into the BMC+i planning tool makes sure that you will have all the answers ready to go – you’ll know what impact your business is having in all the functions and activities it undertakes.
Building a business means building something that will be here for the long term – something with a solid foundation that is going to be able to withstand whatever comes, from climate disasters, to economic disasters, to personal changes in management, to public relations problems, market and competitive pressures, changes in policy, etc, etc.. (The list of things that could go wrong in a business is endless).
Being very tuned into your impact on every dimension of your business allows you to pivot when you need to, or, perhaps even more importantly, call on help when you need it.
If you have a deep knowledge of the importance and significance of your work, the impact you are making, pulling in strategic partners to pull you through tough times is much easier – because they know the type of impact you are making.
Governments are also interested in resilience economies, and are more and more tying funding to impact and resilience. (See this article about how the Canadian gov’t is looking for recovery projects that are not just ‘shovel ready’, but are also ‘shovel worthy’). They are also publishing longer term ‘roadmap’ style policies (like the CleanBC program) that not only show you what the current regulations are, but what the step-by-step plan is for future changes to policies/ regulations. A resilient company has planned for impact well into the future and will be able to meet these stricter regulations quicker and with less cost.
Industry Certification programs are also going in this direction, with many of them wanting you to not only specify your own, direct impact, but also what’s called your “Scope 3” emissions – the emissions across your company’s whole value chain. (Understandably, many of these organizations do not want to certify you as a ‘clean’ company, if all you’ve done is pass the problem down to another part of the value chain).
Walking Your Talk
In the Foresight BMC+i tool, “Purpose” is put right across the top of the document. That’s to ensure the business purpose is integrated front and centre of your business planning. Too often, a purpose statement is drawn up as a sort of marketing afterthought once the business is well underway. Understanding that purpose statement upfront makes everything (even the marketing) so much easier down the line. You will know what you are about, it will make decisions easier (doesn’t match our purpose? Let’s not do it.).
It helps you to walk the talk, match actions to words, and operate with integrity.
The exact type of resilient, forward-thinking company that Canada needs right now.
Foresight has a number of educational and mentoring programs for companies in cleantech, agtech and industrial innovation. Contact us today to learn what it takes to compete and win in emerging markets.
About the Author
Diane Currie Sam
Content & Research Manager
Foresight Cleantech Accelerator
Diane is an award-winning writer, a corporate educator, and master storyteller with hands on expertise guiding the business communications of multi-million dollar companies. Diane is a strategic communicator with a broad base of experience in technology and entrepreneurship.
Her ability to combine solid research with good storytelling has helped bring in millions of dollars in investment, tax credits and business opportunities for entrepreneurial and high tech companies across Canada and the US. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of BC and a Masters of Arts in Psychology from Trinity Western University.