Entrepreneurs, your communities need you
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
The legendary boxer Muhammad Ali said these words back in 1978. They have always resonated with me: I am a great believer in giving back.
Throughout my career, I have always tried to carve out time to support charities, fellow business owners, and my local community. When you’re building a business and working every hour of the day, cramming more into your to-do list may sound like madness – but I have found these experiences to be rewarding, eye-opening, and life-affirming.
Many studies have found a strong link between giving and happiness. Whether we are spending money on others instead of ourselves or giving our time to those that need it, the results are undeniable: a marked increase in wellbeing. There’s even evidence showing that elderly people who help those around them tend to live longer
Over the past year, I have doubled down on my efforts to make a difference in my local community. I am now President of a Leeds Synagogue, and I’m supporting a their Kosher Bakery, which makes the most incredible speciality breads, bagels, cakes and doughnuts. Juggling these roles around my chairmanship of BigChange isn’t always easy – I work most evenings and Sundays – but I love it.
As the founder of BigChange, I’m able to make a real difference to businesses like these. I created the platform to simplify and streamline processes, eliminate paper, and help organisations become more efficient, so it won’t surprise you that both the bakery and synagogue are now customers.
BigChange is now so much more than a mobile workforce platform – it’s also a facilities management tool, a members management system, and a health and safety resource. The synagogue has around 2,000 members and BigChange has replaced five separate software packages with a single system. As you can imagine, maintaining such a large building can be challenging. With BigChange, we can be more proactive, creating a planned preventative maintenance schedule, which means we never reach breaking point.
I used to run a bakery business, and it’s been great to draw upon this experience to help the Street Lane Bakery. The bakery now uses BigChange technology to track its delivery van, find the most efficient routes and flag when customers get their bread, but it’s also handling rotas, finance, and health and safety in the bakery and shop, which is massive when you’re dealing with food hygiene. We do all this without using a single sheet of paper – previously, bits of paper were constantly passed back and forth.
I love using my experience as an entrepreneur to help others, and it’s so exhilarating watching the technology I created make such a difference to these charities. Right now, times are tough for many business owners, so if you have skills and resources that you can share, make the time. You won’t regret it.
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