The worst thing you can seemingly say to your teammates, investors or customers when you are running a company, is that you are not customer-centric. That is because people are used to businesses catering to their every need, centering around their convenience. Whether or not that is a sustainable way of doing business is not often questioned.
What is a customer-centric company?
A customer-centric company focuses all its business decisions on consumer convenience to generate more sales. For example: Reducing delivery time without taking into account the environmental impact, or making a 2 for 1 offer on food that will end up having an impact on the price the farmer receives.
We have decided not to run our company based on trends or survey results, or on the newest marketing strategy they are teaching at business schools. Don’t get us wrong, we do take customer needs and profitability very seriously, they represent a key input in our day to day – but they are not the only factors that drive us.
Our vision is to build the most sustainable food supply chain. To build a system that allows organic farmers to set their prices and sell directly to final consumers. In order to achieve this goal, we need to balance our decisions and not just focus on the consumers, but also take the environment and the farmers into account. For us, the environment and the farmers are stakeholders at the center of our business, as much as the customers are.
In the past decade food-industry players have gotten the consumer accustomed to certain standards, which we removed from our farmer-to-consumer model, in order to make sure it is sustainable: No immediate deliveries. No discount prices. No absurd amounts of packaging for small quantities of food. In other words, if we only think of short-term satisfaction, no one wins in the long term, because it comes at the cost of sustainability.
What is a mission-centric company?
Customer convenience should not mean that companies will do anything, no matter the environmental or social cost. This is why we have chosen to be a mission-centric company, where the environment, consumers and farmers are all our “customers”.
Both farmers’ and nature’s wellbeing are at stake if we don’t change things now. Artificially low prices suffocate the rural economy and force farmers to take decisions based on productivity only. This ends up damaging product quality and the ecosystem in which they operate. The common alternative of simply importing the food we need from far-away countries comes at a high price in terms of social conditions and carbon footprint.
We are not willing to participate in the game where companies just care about selling to customers and let governments or NGOs care about the environment and social justice – let’s take care of it all together!
Co-founder & CEO of CrowdFarming