How to Persuade Your Strategic Business Partners

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Strategies To Persuade Business Investors

The best way to persuade investors to put their money in your business is to use rock-solid statistics and estimates to convince prospective partners that your business is a good risk. Your persuasion efforts should have two goals, first to prove the substantial profit potential of our business and second to demonstrate the low-risk factor.

For example, you could estimate your gross revenues for the first year and provide some reasonable basis for the estimate. Then offer a reasonable estimate of your expenses, and if it adds up to a healthy profit you’re off to a good start. To demonstrate the low-risk factor, you can explain why there’s a good chance that investors will not lose their money. You can back this up with evidence including industry growth statistics, a sound marketing plan and examples of similar successful businesses.

How To Persuade Potential Overseas Business Partners

To persuade potential overseas business partners to enter into a joint operation, you should first research their strategies and goals, and then put together a detailed proposal that shows exactly how your business can complement theirs. Reliable delivery of goods and services is one of the essential components of successful businesses, and this is particularly true of those that operate on a global scale.

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You should draw up a brief proposal that includes information on your company, your own background, and the business synergies, efficiencies and competitive leverage that could be created under a cross-border collaboration. You should make sure that you present a win-win scenario for both parties in order to be convincing. Your proposal should also include your corporate vision and the principles that your company stands for.

Techniques to Persuade

You can learn to persuade business partners with many of the same techniques that you use in your private life. Persuasion is not manipulation, as experts draw a clear distinction between the two. Good persuasion techniques can help you in your daily life, and a few tips from experts can change the way that you business partners and friends react to your proposals.

Some of today’s most effecitve persuasion techniques can be found in a book called Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want. In this book you learn that the outcome of most persuasive efforts is determined before you ever say a word. Persuasion expert Dave Lakhani breaks down the process in to easy-to-apply steps, and teaches the listener not only how to persuade, but also the biology and psychology behind why the techniques work.

Why Are Fair Trade Certifications Important?

Jhai Coffee Farmers Cooperative [Photo by Fair Trade Laos1] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Fair Trade Certified Imports

Fair trade certified imports to the US increased dramatically last year, including a large increase in organic imports, expansion into popular new product categories, a surge in consumer demand and increased brand recognition for fair trade certified goods. While the world economy continued to be unstable in 2010, fair trade products bucked the trend with strong demand for fair trade and organic coffee being particularly notable.

This has resulted in $44 million in premium funds being paid to coffee farmers to date. It reflects the desire of socially conscious consumers to align their purchasing habits with their vales, and the money generated by this increased demand for fair trade products is being directly reinvested into farming businesses to build infrastructure and capacity. It is also benefiting farming communities with new schools, roads, health care and other development efforts.

Fair Trade Certifications in Africa

The demand for fair trade certified products has done much to benefit African communities, and this positive trend can continue if the infrastructure and institutions are in place to effectively capture and retain a fair share of the profits for African governments and local communities. A critical barrier to success for many African export-led businesses has been a lack of physical infrastructure and social captial, which made their goods less globally competitive.

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That’s why investing not just for short term profits, but rather in long term development of institutions and in wider society is so important. When consumers purchase fair trade certified products from Africa, they help to ensure that profits do not just flow out of the country, whether via transfer mispricing or into the tax haven accounts of super wealthy and corrupt interests.

10 Celebrity Social Entrepreneurs

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Many people look up to celebrities, because they see celebrities as role models, as successful people, who are to be emulated.

10 Social Entrepreneur Celebrities

Here I’ve collected 10 celebrities who have also created or participated in social entrepreneurship initiatives. It is inspiring to see their good work, and it can show you that there are great possibilities in both doing good and doing well in life.

1. Bono Uses Celebrity For Social Good

U2 singer Bono has used his international celebrity for social good in a number of ways. For example, a clothing company that he founded with his wife has partnered with college students in Ohio on a business project they expect to roll out to other campuses around the world.

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Students at Miami University’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship buy blank cotton T-shirts that are made in Africa and resell the shirts to other organizations, making some profit and providing a market to help build trade and employment in Africa. Bono and his wife Ali Hewson founded Edun Apparel Ltd in 2005 to produce clothing in developing countries that would provide increased trade and jobs to those areas. The company stresses that its message is “trade, not aid.” The company hopes that its Edun Live on Campus pilot project will expand to at least 40 campuses by 2011.

2. TOMS Shoes Founder Gains Celebrity Through Social Entrepreneurship

TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie has gained celebrity by creating one of the preeminent examples of success in the world of social enterprise. TOMS Shoes is based on a simple concept, which is to give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased. Blake has an amazing story to tell of how he’s built the TOMS Shoes name into an internationally recognized brand.

One Day Without Shoes: April 8th, 2010 [Photo by emma.kate] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The company sells comfortable canvas shoes that range between $40 to $60. Blake came up with the idea when he was traveling in Argentina and encountered many children who were in need of shoes. Since the company was founded, they have given away over 400,000 pairs of shoes in 21 countries, and TOMS is doubling the size of their operation each year. An AT&T commercial served as a tipping point for TOMS Shoes, bringing worldwide attention to the their efforts.

3. Jeff Skoll Gains Celebrity As CEO and Philanthropist

Jeff Skoll has achieved celebrity status as a philanthropist and social entrepreneur. As the first President of eBay, he also pioneered the creation of the eBay Foundation through the allocation of pre-IPO shares. In 1999, Jeff founded the Skoll Foundation, which quickly became the world’s largest foundation for social entrepreneurship.

Ebay Side [Photo by Ryan Fanshaw Photography] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators who are dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems. The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is the foundation’s flagship program which currently honors and supports 81 leading social entrepreneurs from 66 organizations worldwide. The foundation also co-produces the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. Jeff founded Participant Media in 2004 with an idea to inspire social change by creating films that are accompanied by social and advocacy campaigns to engage people on the issues addressed in the films.

4. Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver’s Social Enterprise Projects

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has made a name for himself for his role in promoting social enterprise to help young people. The latest event he is promoting I called the Capital Growth Youth Enterprise event, which provides an opportunity for young people to find out more about youth enterprise projects that use food growing as a focus. The event brings together expertise and lessons learned from a number of exciting projects across London, featuring a range of speakers.

C'est a cause de @Dansmacuizine ... [Photo by homard.net] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Participants include The Golden Company, a social enterprise that works with nature and urban communities to create opportunities for training and employment. School Food Matters operates a pilot program with Waitrose to enable schools to sell their own produce outside selected Waitrose outlets. Cultivate London is a new urban agriculture enterprise in West London that supports vulnerable young people by providing a number of training and apprenticeship opportunities.

5. Reality TV Celebrity Peter Jones Aligns With Social Enterprise

Peter Jones is using his celebrity star power to draw attention to social enterprise. Jones, who is best known for his role on TV’s Dragon’s Den, has aligned himself with social enterprises that benefit young people by giving 100,000 pounds to Make Your Mark, which runs a social enterprise contest for young people. A helping hand from TV personalities like Jones can achieve a lot for a social enterprise, as it gives them profile and gets people asking questions about the role of social enterprises in general.

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Right now there is still some confusion among the general public on the role of social enterprise. Even among those groups of people who would be most supportive of the idea, very few of them even know that it exists. Once people meet a social entrepreneur or experience what a social enterprise can do they are often very supportive, and celebrities just help that process along.

6. Celebrity CEO Richard Branson’s Views on Social Entrepreneurship

Richard Branson is a celebrity CEO who is famous around the world for his Virgin Group of over 400 companies. There is much that he has learned from his business career which he believes can be applied successfully to social enterprise. Branson has been involved in a number of humanitarian initiatives which include his role in starting up the Elders. This is a small, dedicated group of world leaders who work objectively and without a vested personal interest to solve difficult global conflicts.

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Branson is famous for starting up numerous enterprises, and he gives some tips about how he has built his group of companies on the premise that “Small is beautiful.” Knowing the enterprise through and through and working with a small team at first are excellent pieces of advice for social enterprises. The next step is to systemize the venture and duplicate it.

7. Celebrity Social Entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus became an international celebrity for his ground-breaking concept of microcredit. More recently, he’s turned his attention to the idea of social enterprise with a yogurt factory in Bangladesh. Located along a dirt road 140 miles northwest of Dhaka, workers are busy building the small factory for Danone, the French food company. The one-story building is the epicenter of Yunus’ new big idea that he believes can transform the world as much as microcredit already has.

Muhammad Yunus - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2010 [Photo by World Economic Forum] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The concept it represents is called social business enterprise, and in Yunus’ vision it marries the interests of corporations like Danone with economic development in a way that has never been tried before. Companies would draw on microcredit-funded businesses to incorporate nonprofit models into their bottom-line operations, seeking not just revenue but social returns, and also returning the profits to the communities where they operate.

8. Celebrity Philanthropist Jacqueline Novogratz

Jacqueline Novogratz has become a celebrity for her work as the founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund. The Acumen Fund is a non-profit global venture capital fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve problems of global poverty. The fund invests long term capital in business models that effectively serve the poor as a complement to traditional aid. The fund currently manages over $60 million in South Asia and East Africa.

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All of the investments are focused on delivering such necessities as affordable healthcare, clean water, housing and energy to poor people in Pakistan, India and Kenya. Before founding the Acumen Fund, Jacqueline has a long history of work in philanthropy with groups like the The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation. She has also founded Duterimbere, which is a micro-finance institutions in Rwanda.

9. Tim Campbell Uses Celebrity To Help Young People

Tim Campbell gained celebrity for his reality TV experience as Lord Alan Sugar’s first TV Apprentice. He is using this fame to promote his passion for helping young people by offering them some fantastic opportunities that are back by blue chip support. Campbell left Lord Sugar’s Amstrad empire to set up his own venture called Bright Ideas Trust, which helps young people to start their own businesses.

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Tim sees business as a great leveler for those from difficult backgrounds. His organization receives at least 30 applications a month from young people and they support most of these through direct investment or business development. The social enterprise operates by taking donations form corporate enterprises like Bank of America and investing the money into young Londoners’ business ideas. These investments are in the form of loans that must be paid back, and Bright Ideas Trust takes an equity stake and recoups the money when the business is sold.

10. Celebrity MD Sophi Tranchell On Fair Trade Chocolate

Sophi Tranchell has become something of a celebrity as the manager of the socially responsible company Divine Chocolate. The company is actually owned by cocoa farmers and puts the fair trade policy into practice in everything it does. According to Tranchell, fair trade works by setting a guaranteed minimum price for the chocolate the company buys. If market price gets below a certain level, then the fair trade price sets in.

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There is also a fair trade social premium that is calculated, which may be $200 a ton, for example. So for every ton that is purchased, the company pays an extra $200 to the farmers who then decide collectively and democratically how they wish to spend the money. This social premium is an amount that the farmers receive that is always in excess of what they would get from selling their cocoa on the open market.

How Entrepreneurs Benefit From Non-Conformity

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The two traits which can best help to predict the success of an entrepreneur are previous experience and non-conformity.

Non-conformity is the desire to be different from the status quo, in both thought and action. This takes a lot of courage, because most people spend their entire lives doing their best to conform so that they don’t draw negative attention from bullies, the law, teachers, friends or family. Typically, schools reward kids for conformity in terms of learning, performance, presentation and behavior.

Yet successful entrepreneurs share a talent for thinking outside of the box, and applying the same knowledge that everyone else has access to in innovative ways. Entrepreneurs must have the courage and determination to put their innovative thoughts into action, and to ignore their detractors. This explains why entrepreneurs remain a minority in a society structured around conformity.

Non-Conformity For Online Entrepreneurs

The internet and online business is one area in which non-conformity can be especially beneficial to entrepreneurs. It is also a type of business that is often subject to cries of illegitimacy from society at large. This stems from the fact that it is relatively easy and inexpensive to start a web-based business in relation to a traditional business. A domain costs as little as $10, and hosting can be had for pocket change. More businesses, including social enterprises, are going online.

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Since the barriers of entry are so low, it creates the illusion that anyone can do it. However, it is these same low barriers to entry that hinder most people from succeeding, because it makes it very easy to walk away from a business in which you have little investment. Therefore, for online entrepreneurs especially a life of non-conformity is easy to get started with but harder to maintain.

How Non-Conformity Leads to Success For Entrepreneurs

Author Chris Guillebeau has become famous for his book on the Art of Non-Conformity, and he is also a rising start among lifestyle bloggers.

In true non-conformist style, Chris released all of his secrets to success in blogging for free in a manifesto called “279 Days to Overnight Success.” Chris said that he chose to focus on non-conformity because it’s the only thing that he’s really an expert on. According to Chris, what matters most is a person’s own definition of success and living their life accordingly.

His writing speaks to those people who are interested in unconventional living but feel stuck in traditional work or marginalized by peers when they try to change. His advice for people who want to become self-employed but don’t know how to make the leap is to start small, but start immediately.

10 Top Fair Trade Coffee Brands

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Do you enjoy drinking a warm cup of coffee in the morning?

You probably do, just like many other people.

I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself. I prefer tea.

Although for those of you who love drinking coffee on a regular basis, you probably would prefer drinking fair trade coffee, especially as it ensures fair working conditions and wages for coffee farmers from developing countries.

10 Best Fair Trade Coffee

Here are 10 major fair trade coffee labels, as well as a description of each. Many of them are organic coffees too.

1. Equal Exchange Promotes Better Coffee Through Fair Trade

The secret to the success of Equal Exchange coffee is not just that it’s socially responsible, but that by using fair trade practices for sourcing coffee it also gets better beans.

That is a difference that customers are willing to pay more for, and it’s led to caffeinated growth for Equal Exchange. At first glance fair trade might seem uneconomical, since the co-op is voluntarily paying third-world farmers above market prices in the interest of “fairness”. This higher price is then passed on to cafes, grocery stores and individual customers. However, it turns out that people are willing to pay more for a superior quality product. Equal Exchange actively works with small farmers to help them grow and process better beans, and the result is a product that beats the lower-priced competition.

2. Fair Trade Coffee From Peace Coffee

Fair trade coffee is becoming more and more common, especially among co-op shoppers. Peace Coffee is one company that adheres to the basic fair trade standards which make the coffee trade a bit more fair to the small farmers who often get the short end of the stick when selling their product on the global commodity markets.

The small security that a minimum fixed fair trade price provides is only one piece of the bigger picture. Part of the fair trade price also includes a premium that is allocated to development projects that are determined by the co-op’s membership. Over the years, some of the farmer organizations have chosen to put it towards schools in Ethiopia, clinics in Indonesia, and pickup trucks in Mexico. All of these projects were deemed of critical importance by their communities.

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3. How Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters Promote Fair Trade and Sustainability

Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters put a premium on socially responsible practices like fair trade. They sell some of the finest coffees in the world that are sourced from farms with healthy soil, clean water and a bird-friendly habitat. Their certified organic coffees have been farmed without the use of pesticides or other synthetic inputs.

Batdorf & Bronson are members of the Northwest Shade coffee Campaign, which is committed to purchasing coffees from farms where rustic shade is used to protect the coffee and provide a home to migratory birds. The company ensures access to the best coffees by developing direct relationships with farmers and paying a fair and sustainable price for their coffees. All of the certified organic coffees the company sells also carry a fair trade certification which ensures that farmers have suitable working conditions.

4. Fair Trade Coffee With a Mission From The Roasterie

The Roasterie is a coffee company that was founded by Danny O’Neill after he discovered his love for coffee while he was an exchange student in Costa Rica. The company sells some fair trade coffees at its many locations at college campuses across the country. The Roasterie was founded in the Brookside neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri but has since expanded to Iowa State and many other colleges throughout the country, including Ohio State, the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri and the University of Southern California.

The Roasterie guarantees that all of their fair trade coffee is produced with the greatest respect and compensation for the farmers of the countries of origin. In addition to helping these communities with his business, O’Neill is also giving back to these countries where he obtains most of his coffee by founding the St. Drogo Foundation which gives aid to schools in Brazil, Costa Rica and Colombia.

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5. Fair Trade Coffee at Gorilla Coffee

Gorilla Coffee is a company that is local to Brooklyn, New York. All of the coffee they offer is fair trade certified and organic. In addition, it is roasted on the premises daily. The baristas will grind your coffee to order, which is uncommon in cafes today. The coffee they use for their espresso is a relatively light roasted Brazilian bean which produces a mildly acidic shot. They also sell a variety of beans available by the pound, all freshly roasted.

Not only are all of the coffee offerings at Gorilla Coffee fair trade certified, but all of their teas are as well. The coffee is always roasted in-house four to five times a week, and every bag of coffee sold is marked with a roast date. The coffee is bagged fresh and usually still warm from the roast. The maker of their coffee roaster, Stephen Diedrich, is considered a guru in the roasting world and he is the one who taught the shop’s owners how to roast.

6. Doma Coffee Practices Fair Trade and Sustainability

DOMA coffee began with the intention of creating a life-long project that was about much more then coffee. The goal was to create an environmentally sound company that roasts great fair trade coffee. DOMA purchases certified organic, fair-traded and direct relationship coffees. They are a member of Cooperative Coffees, which means that they are committed to placing farmers and their product front and center.

DOMA makes it a point to let their customers know the people that grow their coffee and the cooperative organizations that they own and manage. Their commitment to sustainability inspires the company to also partner with other local businesses and community groups on projects involving bicycle transportation, green building and community gardens. All of the light at DOMA is ultra-high-efficiency, and all of their print material is produced with recycled paper and vegetable-based inks.

La Pita coffee plantation: Matagalpa, Nicaragua [Photo by nagillum] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

7. Stumptown Coffee Roasters Known For Fair Trade Practices

Around the world, from Guatemala to Colombia to Kenya and across the Indian Ocean to Indonesia, coffee farmers everywhere are struggling to make ends meet as they did during the world’s last coffee crisis. This time, though, fair trade with companies like Stumptown Coffee is helping small family coffee farms and cooperatives to meet these challenges. Costs of production at origin, ranging from fertilizer to processing and transportation are at all-time highs, and real financial incentive is the only means that these small coffee farmers have of continuing their pursuit of excellence.

The commodity coffee market has not created an atmosphere which values the top-quality production methods of small farmers, yet this element is critical to producing great coffee. Stumptown’s direct trade strategy is based on the premise of nurturing relationships with coffee producers and giving them an opportunity to command better prices.

8. Fair Trade Organic Coffee From Newman’s Own

Newman’s Own has partnered with Vermont’s Green Mountain Coffee which is a leader in the specialty coffee industry. The partnership is designed to allow both companies to pursue their shared philanthropic goals while offering customers an exceptional product line from which to choose. This line will include seven fair trade organic coffees that are made from some of the world’s finest handpicked arabica beans, which have been roasted according to the handcrafted traditions that Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is famous for.

The fair trade certification insures that farmers in coffee producing regions around the world can enjoy a better life. All of the beans are grown and processed to meet the strictest organic standards, so that these coffees are gentle on the environment as well as extremely enjoyable to drink.

Friendly man playing Mandolin in the park near Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam [Photo by Eustaquio Santimano] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

9. Suma Launches Fair Trade Coffee

Suma launched a new range of five single country ground coffees in 2010 that are all organic and fair trade certified. The coffees are suitable for cafetieres, coffee makers and percolators, and their countries of origin include Sumatra, Honduras, Ethiopia, Peru and Colombia. For those who like to grind their own coffee, there are also Ethiopian Yirgachefffe, Peru and Columbia beans available.

It is advised that you grind the beans immediately before use and adjust the grinder to suit your coffee making equipment per the manufacturer guidelines. Suma is a workers’ Cooperative that has been practicing fair trade principles for over 20 years. They market products that directly benefit producers in various parts of the developing world. They look for products that are both fair trade certified and organic whenever possible, and are always working with importers and manufacturers to make more of these products available.

10. Percol Fair Trade Coffee Pioneer

Percol Coffee is a UK company that has earned the Fairtrade Mark. The company is committed to the concept of fair trade, paying the coffee growers they source from a fair price for their hard work, which can be as much as three times more than the free market price for coffee. In addition , the growers also receive a premium that they can invest in community projects.

Sourcing coffee beans from small farmers and communities allows Percol to consistently provide coffees that are the highest quality and have a distinctive character. They select farmers who put a lot of care into their crops and the forests that sustain them as well, which highlights their concern for the environment. Percol is a pioneer of fair trade in the UK, and the company takes great pride in their products. The Percol Fairtrade Nicaragua Ground Coffee was one of the first fair trade roast and ground coffees in the UK, and has won three top taste awards.

Share your favorite fair trade coffee

Perhaps I left out your favorite fair trade coffee brand. Tell us the name of your top coffee brand and why you like drinking it!