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Business Impact Analysis: A Practical Approach

Completing a Business Impact Analysis allows you to see the true impact of your business. In this article, I will outline a practical approach.

I invented a methodology to help a village in sub-Saharan Africa and called it Maximum Positive Impact then I adapted that methodology into a philosophy of life and wrote a book about it.

‘I Imagine’ is the physical manifestation of the philosophy. My TEDx Talk about how to find your passion has more than 1 million views but it’s really a talk about how to maximize your impact.

I have been living and breathing this issue for twenty years.
 
We can easily get into a long and complex discussion about it but my objective in this article is to provide a very brief, practical and succinct outline of how you can maximize your impact with your business.
 
If you happen to be interested in more detailed discussions about this topic check out my social entrepreneurship blog, Youtube channel or podcast.
 
The simplest way to think about the impact of your business is to break it down into your impact on your:
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Owners
  • Community
  • Environment
 
Let’s briefly discuss each category.

Business Impact Analysis: Impact On Employees

Always start by answering the obvious question – what can my business do that will have the biggest positive impact on my employees?
 
Possible answers include:
  • Respectful and positive attitude toward co-workers
  • Enough pressure to be challenging but not so much that it becomes stressful   
  • Alignment of business goals (and what the business stands for) with employees’ goals
  • Encourage individual expression
  • Reasonable compensation and bonuses or profit sharing
  • Enjoyable work that allows employees to take advantage of existing skills and develop new skills
  • Workplace policies that encourage inclusivity and equality
  • Comfortable workplace: comfortable furniture, temperature, noise levels

Business Impact Analysis: Impact On Customers

What can my business do that will have the biggest positive impact on my customers? Possible answers include:
  • Target customers: you can maximize your impact by targeting specific people that need more help e.g. a specific minority group  
  • Target result: you can maximize your impact by offering products or services that help the customer achieve a result that has a positive impact on their lives e.g. services that help with weight loss, mental health, getting out of poverty, etc. 
  • Quality products & services: the higher the quality the of your products and services the bigger the impact they can have on your customer
  • What you stand for: People like to buy from people that share similar values
  • How your product or service is made: If you use forced labor or do something that harms the environment a proportion of your potential customers will not buy from you.  

Download Our Free ‘Start A Business’ Guide

Use our “Impact Entrepreneurship” checklist to start your business and make the world better.

Business Impact Analysis: Impact On Owners

The owner of a business could just be you but it can also be a family, partners or, if it’s a publicly traded company, it could have thousands of owners.
 
Regardless of your situation, you will still need to answer the same question – What can my business do that will have the biggest positive impact on the owners of the business? Possible answers include:
  • Make sure you spend their money wisely. Get their input in to make sure that your objectives are aligned with your owners. The easiest way to have a negative impact on your owners (and subsequently on yourself) is to lose their money.
  • Look for the optimal balance between giving all of the other stakeholders (employees, customers, community, and environment) everything they want while retaining enough money and resources to be able to grow the business. For example, one fantastic way to maximize your impact on your customers is to give your products or services away for free but, if you have no other way to monetize your products or services, your business will die. Your business will not have a positive impact on anyone or anything if it ceases to exist. 

Business Impact Analysis: Impact On Community

Your community might be geographic or it might include people from all over the world that have a common interest.
 
So, as usual, answer this question – what can my business do that will have the biggest positive impact on my community?
 
Possible answers include:
  • Publicly promote and, if necessary, defend your community 
  • Help members of your community succeed directly with your products and services.
  • Help members of your community succeed indirectly by supporting other businesses that treat your community well or supporting nonprofits and causes that have a positive impact on your community.

Business Impact Analysis: Impact On Environment

What can your business do that will have the biggest positive impact on your environment?
 
Possible answers include:
  • Minimize your footprint. Research all of the ways you can minimize waste and maximize the use of renewable energy.
  • If you sell physical products then you have a supply chain. Think about what you buy and who you buy it from:
    • What do these businesses stand for?
    • How do they treat their employees, customers, owners, community and environment?

Conclusion

It all comes down to this: Be clear about what you stand for in order to attract certain people and repel others.
 
If you’re looking for information about how to measure the impact of your business you should be warned that it is not easy! Check this guide from Harvard Business Review about measuring impact.
 
If you want to start your own business and you want a framework for how to select the business idea that will also have the biggest positive impact, check out our guide about The Theory Of Pii and how to choose the best business idea for you.
  • Adam Radly

    Founder
    Founder of IIMAGINE. More than $100M raised. TEDx Talk about passion > 1 Million views. Founder of World Reconciliation Day with Nelson Mandela. Founder of One Direct Democracy.