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Compassionate Business in Action
by Sandy Reed

More days than not, when I pick up the morning paper I see an article about Bernie Madoff's investment fraud activities and how they have affected yet another famous person. It's not surprising how long the bad press has gone on, since his Ponzi scheme has been called the "largest investment fraud in Wall Street history."

Among all the stories you read about the tough economy and what you need to do to avoid schemes such as Mr. Madoff's are gems such as this one, which was featured in the May 2009 issue of More Magazine.

Imagine going into a restaurant that has no menu and no prices. That's exactly the type of business you will find if you visit Denise Cerreta's eating establishment One World Everybody Eats, located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

When you enter the restaurant you will find a hand-lettered sign asking customers to "donate a fair, respectable amount", comparable to what patrons would pay in other restaurants. The big difference between other restaurants and One World, however, is that no one is turned away, even if they can't pay for their food. Instead cash-strapped patrons have the ability to volunteer to wash dishes, cut vegetables, clean up, or garden in their organic garden for one hour.

Is it possible to make a living with such a compassionate and caring business model? If you rely totally on money as your measurement for success, Denise's $15,000 annual salary is not very impressive. However, you can imagine the attention and publicity One World gets from our capitalistic society. On any given day you may find tourists, judges, businessmen, and even the mayor of Salt Lake City, Ralph Becker, breaking bread next to college students, single mothers, and street people.

In a world that measures success by the bottom line of a profit and loss statement, One World shows us there is more to building a business than making a buck. Success can be measured by how you feel at the end of the day and how much you look forward to getting up the next morning and doing it all over again. It can be measured by how your customers feel about you and how often they think of you when the time comes for them to spend money on products or services.

For Denise Cerreta, success is measured by how true she is being to herself. She is not afraid to make her opinions known about fighting hunger and educating people about food waste. In 2006, her restaurant became a nonprofit community kitchen. She now speaks to groups around the country about food waste and world hunger. Denise believes, "If we could eliminate waste in restaurants, agriculture, grocery stores, wherever food is served or harvested, I believe we would have enough food to feed the world."

What does your business stand for? Part of the success of your business is the statement it makes to your customers about who you are and how you want to contribute to the world around you. Part of your marketing message should be dedicated to letting your prospective customers know what is important to you, as the owner. Your business may be the vehicle that provides a nudge to your community to take a stand on issues that are important to the well being of all of us. Maybe that's all they need to become a compassionate helper.

What if instead of looking at how we can market our businesses to reach the most people, we looked at what we do to make a difference? What if instead we looked at the big picture and how we could change our business to benefit those we serve? What a different world we would be living in...

Sandy Reed may be contacted at

Sandy Reed is the President and Founder of the National Association of Marketing Consultants (NAMC). NAMC provides support, education, and networking opportunities for marketing consultants, and provides one-stop shopping for business owners who are looking for the right marketing consultant to help them reach their ideal clients. Sandy is a professional business coach, writer, and co-owns her own successful family business. Sandy’s business building articles have been published in True Wealth and Simply Home Magazines. Visit her website at to download your FREE copy of "5 Marketing Strategies You Must Use to Thrive in Any Economy".



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