Each Monday on our blog we profile a different entrepreneur and share a few things they’ve said about their success (and failures). Over the past four years, we’ve featured nearly two hundred founders from around the world. And we’ve profiled several who are deeply involved with charitable causes, but today’s profile may be our first Australian—certainly our first Australian founder of a business for social impact. To our friends down under, we’re sorry it took so long.
Daniel Flynn started Thankyou Water when he and two friends learned that 900 million people in the world don’t have access to fresh drinking water. At the same time, Australians spend more than $600 million on bottled water. It occurred to the group that they might take advantage of the latter in order to help the former. So they built their startup—a bottled water company that would donate a major portion of their sales revenue to providing water projects around the world.
When customers buy a single bottle of Thankyou water, they help provide fresh water to one person in the developing world for a month. Today, Thankyou Water is available in convenience and grocery stores across the country. In addition, Mr. Flynn’s small business has branched into other products—foods, soaps, and lotions—all providing funds for social impact.
Along the way, Mr. Flynn has been interviewed and spoken widely about his organization’s efforts (without a media budget, speaking out has been one of the few ways to share his brand’s story). Here are a few things he’s said or written that we think other small business owners will find inspiring:
“Find your why. Why do you do what you do? Why are you going to go down that career path or launch that business? From my experience the why needs to go pretty deep because when the going get’s tough it’s the only thing that will keep you there.”
“Most of my previous jobs have taught me how to not manage staff and how not to run a business. I know that sounds bad. All my jobs weren’t bad but I saw so many different management styles and decisions that were made that I knew later on I wouldn’t make… [We take] what we’ve seen hasn’t worked and pretty much do the opposite.”
“A good idea doesn’t guarantee success–everyone has one. The value is in the execution of that idea and that’s where your focus needs to be.”
“Leadership is learning. In front of more people.”
“If someone encourages me it means the world to me but when the opposite happens it is a challenge not to take it personally. The key is to not let criticism get to you. Stay focused on your goals and what you are meant to be doing. I once heard a great quote, which sums this all up: ‘If you live for the praises of men, you’ll die by their criticism’.”
“Always start with the thought: ‘If we had no limitations, we would…’. Then work from there and remind yourself everyday of those big objectives.”
“Rich isn’t a number on your bank statement, it’s when you realise that every moment you get with the ones you love are priceless.”
“A mentor once said ‘Dan, get momentum because when you have it you can ask for things you could never ask for without it. Once you have it, it’s your job to keep it going’… it was profound advice that definitely changed my focus.”
“Excuses just give you permission not to succeed–don’t make them.”
“Be bold, don’t let criticism or excuses hold you back. I love this thought that “Impossibility is only someone’s opinion, not a fact’.”
“If you don’t change the game, someone else will.”
“Without a strong foundation, you can build fast but you can’t be built to last.”
—Daniel Flynn, Founder of Thankyou. Group.
Photo credit: monthshot.