Atomic Innovation is a product and technology innovation consultancy that supports start-ups, scale-ups, and new ventures.
Co-founder, Micarla Sullivan, shares how Profit Impact created an actionable roadmap to solidify sustainability into their systems and procedures, despite time and budget restrictions.
Prioritising Sustainability in a Start-Up Environment
“Like most start-ups, we have way too much work in progress. We’re building a marketing function, a people function, a compliance function. We’re dealing with a lot of unknown unknowns. We needed to be sure that the cost of maintenance was balanced against the value that it would bring us.”
Micarla Sullivan and her co-founder Toby Clemson wanted to put sustainability at the heart of their business, and while attracted to B-Corp accreditation, they couldn’t begin to imagine how to make it work whilst already being at capacity.
Plus their fundamental belief in the importance of sustainability meant they were in danger of trying to do too much at once – and spending too much money.
“It’s a bit like going to a sushi train. Everything looks good, so you pick up a plate of this and a plate of that. But when you get the bill at the end, you can’t believe how much you spent. It’s easy to think, ‘We really want to do that, that, and that.’ But when you start tallying up the investment you have to be selective. It’s a very difficult balance.”
If they were going to achieve their sustainability goals, Micarla and Toby needed a partner with an understanding of the start-up environment and expertise of not only being ethically sustainable, but financially sustainable too.
A Step-By-Step Approach to the B-Corp Framework
“It really helps that Sarah has been on a similar journey herself. She’s very empathetic and went above and beyond to help us understand the implications. She gave us templates and room to talk through our ideas along with insights from her own experiences and those of other people she’s worked with.”
After consulting with Sarah Whale, Profit Impact’s founder and financial sustainability expert, a plan was created that was achievable despite their current workload.
- To start with, Sarah sent Micarla and Toby a prep deck to gather the necessary information.
- They then met over a series of online workshops to work out how each element of the B-Corp framework applied to their business. Focusing on specific areas made the process much more manageable.
- Finally, Sarah summarised and prioritised the plan, identifying now, next, and later goals.
“Sometimes these checklists and frameworks feel like you’re dealing with a machine, whereas we needed something more personal. Sarah was very patient while Toby and I worked things out. It was an unexpected benefit to explore our opinions about a whole range of issues and what that means for the business. It was really useful to have Sarah to mediate that.”
A Clear Path Towards B-Corp Accreditation
“It’s all about tangible actions. It’s not just a philosophy. There’s a real change happening for future generations. It's not a one size fits all solution. Sarah was pragmatic. She understood our business, and was empathetic about what we can achieve now, and the steps we’ll take in the future.”
Allowing Micarla and Toby the time and space to think through the issues that matter most to them enabled them to take a stand on who they want to be, as well as those they wanted to work with. As a result, they have attracted talent and clients who share their values.
Now the B-Corp accreditation process is broken into manageable tasks, they know exactly what they need to do - and when - to achieve their goals.
Do you need help embedding sustainability practices into your business systems and procedures?
Profit Impact offers tailored solutions to provide businesses with long-term sustainable impact and increased financial value.
We can help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.