I have just read Innocent’s latest book called ‘A Book About Innocent: our story and some things we’ve learned’. It contains exactly what the title promises: an overview of the Innocent story with some of their most important lessons explained for our benefit.
The book is packed full of really interesting nuggets and useful pointers for people who are trying to start their own businesses.
Some really interesting nuggets
- Never give in, find the way that works (Innocent was rejected by 100s of potential investors before finding someone via a lucky email titled ‘Do you know anyone rich?’)
- An unmet need is an opportunity (What service/product would you like to see to improve your life which doesn’t yet exist? Fancy creating it?)
- Successful people are great at telling stories (Innocent are really, really good at this – they tell stories about starting their business, they tell stories about their products, they tell stories about their offices at Fruit Towers, they tell stories about how their famous banana phone was kidnapped a couple of days ago and is being held to ransom, read about it here)
- It’s all about having fun. Innocent ran a competition for messages on the bottom of their plastic bottles – the winner came up with: ‘Trapped in bottle factory, send help’. Their standard one is: ‘Please stop looking at my bottom’.
You’ll have to read the book to get the rest of it.
(PS – we are a member of the Amazon Associates programme. This means that we will sometimes review books on the site and include a link to Amazon. If you buy the book we get some beer money. We’ll always tell you when we’ve done this. Like now).
Saving the World…
One point that really resonated with me is that ‘doing good’ doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive from ‘making money’.
One of the principal challenges that we have encountered in starting EsctheCity is the ‘we can’t just quit our jobs, everyone has to make money to survive‘ reaction. Reactions such as these confuse what we are really saying: ‘leave a job you dislike for something that will fulfill you‘ with what they think we are saying: ‘reject working and ignore the fact that we all need money to survive‘.
Innocent skilfully engage with this question in the book (their business is a real-life example of how money and benevolence can happily coexist).
They say the following in terms of a company’s objectives (however the advice could just as easily apply to an individual’s career):
“A purpose should not be primarily financial. It is too generic and will not guide and motivate long term. If you truly only want to make money, you might consider a career as a crack dealer. We hear the profit margins are just fantastic.
“This is not to say that making money does not matter. It does; it’s crucial. But it is not the purpose.”
Innocent have successfully created a business model which allows them a) to make money and b) to pursue their non-financial objectives:
- make it healthy
- use responsible ingredients
- develop sustainable packaging
- become a resource efficient business
- share the profits
So what does this mean for us?
People stuck in jobs they dislike (who are scared of leaving their safe salary) don’t have to feel that they are making a decision between money and a fulfilling occupation. This is a false choice. We (Esc) believe that you can have both (and so do Innocent).
Sure if you want to make Investment Banker-type money with little personal risk then maybe ‘The City’ is a better place for you to be (or perhaps not at the moment!). But if you have already realised that this is not how you want to spend your time then perhaps you should start reassessing your perceptions of why you work.
What is the purpose of a job? To merely provide you with money? Or to provide you with money AND to allow you to pursue your personal objectives? If it is the former, you probably don’t need this website. However, if it is the latter, then you feel how we feel (and how Innocent feel).
Sadly this post doesn’t provide any magic answers or solutions. However, we hope that the combined weight of EsctheCity will (once we’re up and running!). We aim to show you how many, many people have proved that this is possible (to be happy at work and still make money) and we hope to provide you with lots of job opportunities which provide both £££ and :-).
What do you think? Post a comment below to have your say.