Defining a Better Business: Doing Good vs. Doing Well


The summer issue of TRUSTED magazine examines the concept of doing good in business and showcases companies, entrepreneurs, and organizations that are dedicated to bettering our communities and our world.

By Missy Sheehan, Owner, Sheehan Writing & Editing

What makes a business better in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace? Is it selling a superior product, offering top-notch service, or paying employees well? It could be any one of these practices, or all of them.

One way or another, better businesses define themselves by doing good. Better businesses create good products, they provide good service, and they’re good to their employees. Some businesses are better because they do good things for their communities, for the environment, or for causes they care about.

These businesses operate under the assumption that doing good is better business — and rightfully so.  “There are a lot of ways in which businesses that do good, that is, behave ethically, stand to do well financially,” writes Chris MacDonald, Ph.D., in his article, “Doing Well for the Greater Good,” in the summer issue of TRUSTED magazine. “To start, behaving ethically is the key to building trust. If your customers feel as if they have been treated fairly, they’ll trust you, and trusting you means not just buying their next car from you but the one after that and the one after that.”

MacDonald also examines the relationship between doing good and doing well in business. “It’s fundamentally a question of whether doing good things in the world is, or can be, a source of profit, and whether that is okay,” he writes. “And for many people, it boils down to a question of which — doing well or doing good — is ultimately the point of business.”

Perhaps the two concepts go hand in hand, MacDonald suggests. That certainly seems to be the case for the companies and organizations we feature in the summer issue of TRUSTED. The theme of this issue is “Doing Good is Better Business,” and we couldn’t have picked a better bunch of businesses, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits to prove our point.

Here on the website, and within the pages of the print edition, you’ll read not only about big brands such as Microsoft, which is making incredible efforts to help people and organizations use technology to achieve their goals, but also about entrepreneurs like Martin Katz, a celebrity jeweler who’s created a name for himself through his unique, beautiful jewelry and his commitment to doing good for his customers, his employees, his suppliers, and his manufacturers. You’ll also read an interview with Jeff Matt, Founder and President of Minnesota-based Victory Auto Service & Glass. Matt offers insight into what it takes to be a better business in the automotive industry.

On the nonprofit side, we showcase organizations including HeroWork, a progressive and innovative charity based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, that helps renovate other charities’ infrastructures. HeroWork hosts events called “Radical Renovations” by partnering with businesses that donate time, money, equipment, resources, and volunteers to help with construction. “With every Radical Renovation, HeroWork is not only transforming a building, it also is rebuilding a community structure,” writes TRUSTED contributor Jasmine Turner.

In one of our summer features, “Creating Unstoppable Girls,” TRUSTED Project Director Nona Phinn highlights the work of She’s the First (STF), a nonprofit that’s harnessed the power of networking to address educational inequality and help girls all over the world attend school. Since 2010, STF has raised about $3.8 million to support 881 scholars in 11 countries, including India, Ethiopia, Peru, Nepal, and Tanzania. The organization also has built impressive networks of supporters that include scholars and alumni, high school and college campus chapters, donors, and international partner organizations. “STF created a ripple effect, its own circle of life, by getting all these networks to come together to grow and spread its message,” Phinn writes.

These organizations, entrepreneurs, and companies, as well as the others we spotlight in our summer issue, aren’t isolated cases. They’re examples of a growing trend toward social and ethical responsibility in the business world.

Research by TRUSTED contributor Rubens Pessanha Filho, Ed.D., PMP, GPHR, suggests that consumers are helping to drive this trend. “As transactions are being replaced by relationships, customers are becoming less loyal to businesses that do not stand for something and aren’t able to connect with them and connect them with others (i.e., create communities) based on values,” he writes in his Research Corner article. Consumers would rather deal with ethical companies that have upstanding characters and that support worthwhile causes like protecting the environment, feeding hungry children, and advancing education.

“Doing good is powerful, and it can also be a boon for businesses today,” Pessanha writes. Showcasing their values and focusing on doing good can help companies connect with consumers on a deeper level and boost their chances of business success.

Many businesses, both large and small, have noticed this trend and are making efforts to do good in the world. As a result, it’s never been easier for consumers to use their purchasing power to support retailers and causes they care about. Turner offers a few tips to keep in mind when you shop in her article “Shopping with a Purpose.”

When consumers, companies, entrepreneurs, and organizations pull together to do good, we can accomplish great things. The stories we share in the summer issue of TRUSTED are proof. Read for yourself how doing good is truly better business.

Happy reading!

Missy Sheehan is a freelance writer and editor and the owner of Sheehan Writing & Editing. She edits magazines, books, blog posts, and marketing materials and writes for magazines and business blogs. Visit her website at