Ask the CEO and co-founder of SoapBox Soaps, David Simnick, to share his company's mission statement, and he might surprise you. The company creates shampoos, liquid hand soaps, conditioners, body washes and lotions that include a "Hope Code" you enter on their website. The code reveals where and how your purchase is helping people throughout the world get a bar of soap or one month of clean water.
You might think their mission is to help out people in need throughout the world.
Well...it's about something much deeper.
Using the idea of "Soap=Hope," his company exists not to be the catalyst for change but to help everyone be the catalyst for change. David states that SoapBox mission is: "empowering people to change the world through every day, quality purchases." And SoapBox is succeeding beautifully. The products are in over 10,000 stores in the U.S. including Target, Whole Foods, Publix, Giant, Stop&Shop.
So how did David land his products in some of the largest retailers in just 5 years?
It boils down to these five principles which David says "have been taught to [him] through other mentors and team members within SoapBox:"
1. Identify your values and make sure you build a team that lives them every day.David is passionate about his products and the people behind them as well. That's why he hires people who are just as excited about SoapBox's mission. His company values include being open, honest, professional, transparent and committed. He looks for people who will focus on "problem solving (versus who to blame when issues arise)."
He says it's about "empowering the people that come to you" by providing "structure, clear communication, and making sure your objectives are clearly defined." He shares that it's critical to "take time to explain the why."
He likes to consider, "Who would they be if they didn't have to work?" He also chooses employees who are not "living for the weekend."
2. Don't try to be everything to everybody.
David is very clear what SoapBox is and isn't about. This affects all company decisions including where they choose to sell. David says, "We have to say no to channels that aren't our brand." Some entrepreneurs might fear that if they do this, they are missing out. But David wisely points out that "your no's are more important than your yes's."
3. Create a brand that expands beyond just your own vision.David touched upon brand promise, pointing out that the best brands pay attention to their customers. He explains that, "brands reflect who we want to be," so we need to speak to those hopes. Two great questions to ask yourself are: "How do we portray the people we serve?" and "How do the people we serve want to be portrayed?"
4. Take everything in stride.David will attest that growing a strong brand will inevitably have challenges. You have to remember that "you will fail, but you're not a failure."
5. Find good mentors but also be willing to pay it forward too.David looks for "empathy, humility, ability to listen, and subject matter expertise" in his own mentors. He says look for people who "will not just be mentors but be champions of your brand."
David mentioned a phrase from another amazing company, Pencils of Promise: "For-profit can be for purpose." This means that you don't necessarily have to be a nonprofit company to have a strong purpose that impacts the world. Start where you are, stay true your values, and fuel your mission with your passion.