How Entrepreneurs Can Create Meaningful Impact through Philanthropy, Part II
A three-part series showing alternative paths to the traditional model of making a boatload of money at all costs and then giving it away. Read Part I: Run Your Non-Profit Like A Start-Up.
Contributed to EO by Brandon Hatton, an EO member in Miami and the founder and CEO of Conscious Wealth, which helps its clients live abundant, intentional lives. Brandon is on a quest to build a conscious wealth movement at scale, so he created Conscious Wealth Living to provide actionable tools for people to heal their relationship with money, facilitate healthy intergenerational dialogues about money, and overall help individuals and families find confidence in having enough money.
I wrote the book Conscious Wealth because I realized how hard it is for people to answer the question, “How much is enough?” As an advisor and family facilitator, I’ve had thousands of conversations about money, and they all revolve around that one question. Since joining EO, I’ve heard from entrepreneurs time and time again that they can’t stop working because it is in their blood. They’re not going after the next big exit, the next bell ringing or unicorn because they need the money; they feel a deep-seated need to keep working.
In this series, I’ll share the stories of three entrepreneurs who have quenched their entrepreneurial fire while doing some real good in the world. You’ll hear how they have found alignment in their work, life and society. And, while they still ask themselves the question, “How much is enough?”, it’s no longer in regard to money, but rather how much positive impact is enough for one lifetime.
Case study of Monish Budhrani, an EO Accelerator in EO South Florida
The path to ‘un-delayed’ gratification, an often-forgotten path
Going public. Creating a unicorn. Changing the world with a new technology. All of these things define a textbook entrepreneur, both in our minds and in the media. Although it is true that painstakingly planning the big exit for years, perhaps decades, and walking away with a pile of cash is the dream of many entrepreneurs, Monish Budhrani has other dreams. His brand of entrepreneurship, along with others like him, focuses on impact beyond the traditional models.
In a way, Monish rings the bell every day, but not the bell most entrepreneurs think of. He rings the Taco Bell in the same three-tier mall where his parents owned a shop during his formative years. Although not exactly sexy, the place feels like home as he meanders the mall corridors and navigates the guts of the building, greeting other shop owners as they shout: “Hey, Mo!”
What stands out the most to me about Monish is his lack of ego and unflinching focus on the present moment. Monish currently operates a Taco Bell, two Pandora jewelry stores, and a thriving Amazon delivery service. He enjoys running franchises because they provide him the freedom to work on the processes needed to run a business. Witnessing his first-generation Indian-American parents struggle to compete with larger jewelry chains, he understands the value in having a company arrange marketing, pricing, sourcing, logistics, computer systems—you name it. And the magic, he explains, is that when you let go of all of that, the only thing you have to focus on is your people.
Build people up
“So, to me, if I don’t have good employees, or if I don’t even have enough employees on a given day, my business does nothing,” Monish says. “I’m not worried about customers — they will come. The employees are, in fact, my customers!”
And with that simple logic, a company culture that truly builds people up is born. Turnover in Monish’s franchises is low but, even better, there are rags-to-riches stories that echo his own. Monish speaks with pride as he describes the eight-year journey of one of his most trusted leaders, who started at US$8.75 an hour and is now on track to make US$90K in another franchise. With low turnover, his companies are filled with internal hires earning more money, experience, and skills in a dignified work environment. All this leaves Monish with the ability to focus on the other parts of his life, including spending time with his family and his newborn, Om.
Be present in your company — and in your life
You see, Monish started as an auditor in the corporate world where he earned his chops in processes, accuracy, and consistency, but he still remembers the day he got chewed out by a work superior for a calculating error he did not commit. Today, he visits multiple stores a day, six days a week, and makes sure to spend time on the loading docks, taco line, and jewelry counters. He spends time with his employees because he cares about them and because it is in the act of loading a truck where he can see if processes are breaking down or what needs to happen to make his employees’ work easier (and more productive). I get the feeling his workers see him as a cross between a boss, a mentor, and a corny uncle.
“How much is enough?” I inquire.
Monish grins and gently explains, “I’ve never started a business with an exit goal in the future. I live for my family. I don’t want to miss basketball games, school ceremonies, or whatever because my business is not running efficiently. I also don’t want my employees to have to miss big birthdays or anniversaries. That’s what’s driving me right now.”
Uplift humanity in the present moment
To be clear, the traditional entrepreneur’s path of idea, struggle, and exit is valid, but it comes at a price. The glorification of this model glosses over the real toll it takes on the workers, the entrepreneurs, and their families. How many times have we seen a founder elated in the excitement of an exit only to be awakened to discord in the family, a sinking feeling of despair, and a frantic search for what is next?
Monish’s drive to create more time with his family as well as a nourishing working environment for his employees illustrates a beautiful path to prosperity and entrepreneurship that uplifts humanity in the present moment. He exemplifies how to build a sustainable business and create an impact! To be sure, this path has struggles, hard work, and costs beyond dollars and cents, but I find it a path of greater ease, prosperity, and an ‘un-delayed’ gratification – a path all too often forgotten.