As a retired creative director of the United States Marine Corps’ long time advertisement agency, J. Walter Thompson, philanthropist and entrepreneur Justin Baum was tasked with creating recruiting campaigns. During this time, Justin learned about the nuances and difficulties children of deployed parents struggled with while their parents were away, and he wanted to help.
So Justin created ZZZ Bears, a teddy bear wrapped in the same familiar camouflage the children’s mom or dad wear, designed to bring the children comfort while their parents are away. This was his way of giving back. “I know it’s not enough. Not nearly enough. But it’s a start,” says Justin about his mission to help ease nighttime anxiety of military children.
Through the use of print, Justin was able to get the word out about his product and the solution it provides to children, ultimately leading to the company’s most significant accomplishment, a partnership with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to provide Sgt. Sleeptight teddy bears to children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. According to Justin, getting your word out is just as important as giving back. It allows you to reach more people to help spread the mission.
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Another successful relationship Justin leveraged for his business, was that of his local FedEx Office store. Justin uses FedEx Office for all his business printing needs, “Print is vital for our business because each of our bears comes with a postcard explaining our 4 four step sleep system. And now, thanks to FedEx Office, we’ll be able to offer a bedtime storybook as well!” says Justin about his #MyFedExOffice story.
For many small business owners, the constant hustle of owning and operating a company can have its highs and lows. Justin shared with us his top five tips to running a successful small business and giving back to a cause he believes in.
- Find A Mentor – Someone who’s been there, done that and has no financial interest in your company.
- Hire A Professional – Be brutally honest in assessing your strengths and weaknesses, then get help! Find the right talent and put them to work on your weaknesses, so you can focus on what you do best.
- Require References – When working with vendor, require at least three references from someone who has used their services in the past, and speak to every single one. If a vendor refuses to provide references for any reason, including customer privacy, thank them politely and move on to someone who will.
- Ask Your Customers – Seek feedback from customers and potential customers, this kind of interaction builds a connection between them and your company. Customers feel more invested in your success because they’re a part of it.
- Have A Purpose – A warm fuzzy feeling isn’t the only reason to adopt a social mission. Having a purpose makes you stand out to customer; the key is choosing a mission that naturally aligns with your company.
Find out how FedEx Office is helping other small business owners find smart solutions here and share your small business story on Twitter or Facebook using hashtag #MyFedExOffice.