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Your people are your business

Season 3: Building business resilience

Joshua Coombes Hairstylist & founder, Do Something for Nothing

Your people are your business

Here is a universal truth that applies to any business: Business is made up of people, and without people, there is no business.  

Commercial goals are important. But without genuine care and awareness for the people who make up the team, it will not function at the highest level it can. 

Shifting the focus to people requires vulnerability – a strength that connects us to the bigger picture beyond our product or service and helps us become more resilient for the future. 

Here’s how I did it – and how you can too.  

1. Start small 

I started by going out in London with my scissors and clippers – everything I needed to give somebody a haircut on the street. 

The first step won’t change someone’s life overnight. But it creates a ripple effect in your business the more you show up and commit to your cause. 

2. Speak to your team 

Your business will have so much more harmony when the people within it have more understanding and awareness of each other’s lives. 

Arrange a team get-together and talk about the things you want to change or would like to see in your community – you might want to help a particular cause, get involved in an initiative, or improve the workplace. 

If you’re short on ideas, look for opportunities on your commute to work and the issues you might want to build, impact, and change.  

3. Use your skills  

Think about the specific skill sets you have as a business. 

Donating money and being able to support financial resources are important. But my focus is always on time. 

Who could benefit from donating your skills today? 

4. Give your team time – and trust them to use it in their own way 

My boss trusted and supported my decision to cut hair on the street on my days off.  

This connected and strengthened our team and gave us something to believe in beyond our service.  

So, give your team time – it will help them think about their values, identity, and who they are as people within the business.  

5. Think about your immediate community 

Businesses are part of a community and being closed off is a thing of the past.  Look beyond the walls of your workplace and invite people in. 

You could offer a discount to a demographic who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford your service or product. You might want to organise a weekly collection for a local food bank or establish partnerships with grassroots organisations.  

It will make you and your team feel more rooted and connected to where you are. 

6. Share your story 

People will connect to your purpose more than your product or service. When I shared my story in the salon, our clients became more interested, curious, and engaged – they even tipped us more because they wanted to help. As a hairdresser, I never imagined I’d be on this mission. It still surprises me to think I’ve done so much with just these scissors in front of me.  

There is a way for everyone to find their version of doing something for nothing. So, lead with the heart and help others – you might be surprised by how much it helps you too. 

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