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Putting a New Face on Business - The Creation of a Caring Corporation

By Cynthia Kersey
Motivational Expert
Updated: December 10, 2008
These decisions turned out to be some of the most inspired "mistakes" in the history of retailing. Even though Anita has never paid for advertising, her unconventional ideas have inspired hundreds of articles and interviews generating tremendous publicity. Her first shop in New York was packed with customers from the day it opened. At one point, a thirty-five-year-old woman on roller skates threw up her arms and shouted, "Hallelujah! You're here at last." So much for advertising.

A new branch of The Body Shop opens somewhere in the world every two and a half days. Occasionally, Anita has had trouble opening stores in shopping malls. But having a past that was filled with challenges, Anita is accustomed to coming up with creative solutions. For instance, when one mall refused to lease her space, she organized every mail-order customer within a 110-mile radius to write letters to the management of that mall. Within a few months, a branch of The Body Shop was open.

Anita also had this nonconformist idea of putting ideals ahead of profit. From the start, Anita wanted not just to change the faces of her customers but to change the entire face of business. She envisioned a company that was socially responsible and compassionate. "I see the human spirit playing a big role in business. The work does not have to be drudgery, and the sole focus does not have to be on making money. It can be a human enterprise that people feel genuinely good about."

Some of the raw materials for her products are harvested by groups of people in underdeveloped regions, thus generating an income for them. The Body Shop has launched campaigns to save the whales, ban animal testing in the cosmetics industry, help the homeless, and protect the rain forests. All of these campaigns have been eagerly supported by loyal customers.
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Employees of The Body Shop are actively involved in these efforts. Each month, employees receive a half day off with pay to volunteer in the community. Some employees, for example, went to Romania to help rebuild orphanages. In the stores, customers are encouraged to register to vote, recycle their plastic cosmetics containers, and bring their own shopping bags to save paper and plastic. Because of all these activities, people have suggested Anita's company should really be called "The Body and Soul Shop." Customers emerge not only looking good but also feeling good.

"Business as usual" isn't part of Anita Roddick's make up. But as far as she's concerned, doing what is not usual has made all the difference.


Anita said that what saved The Body Shop over and over was their willingness to recognize what wasn't working and quickly identify a new way to approach a problem. This is a crucial strategy because everyone who starts a business is going to face challenges. Things never work out exactly as intended and creativity will play a key role in enabling a new business owner to conquer daily battles. If you don't come up with alternative solutions, your dreams will die.

The first step to expanding your creativity is to clearly identify the problem you're experiencing. Maybe you're struggling in sponsoring people who are interested in working the business and not simply purchasing the product. Or maybe you're having a hard time finding new prospects period. Write the numbers 1 through 10 vertically down the left side of the sheet of paper. Finally, write ten possible solutions to your problem. Make sure they are viable options, but stretch your imagination.

Remember, the solution to every problem lies within you. You may need a few minutes of quiet time to complete the exercise effectively, or you may need to brainstorm possible solutions with a friend. Feel free to do whatever you think is necessary to connect with your inner knowing. When you've completed the exercise, you should find that the solutions you have found will renew your sense of possibility and your commitment to your goal.
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