Insight, intuition, feedback and finally validation…

Julie Plottier explains the long journey, sometimes full of obstacles and doubts but also immense happiness, that goes with the creation of a business in line with her on values. She describes how her initial idea has been reinforced by the network “Multiplicadores B” and also by the B-Corp certification project. She explains her secret: how to stay true to an idea despite the obstacles and loneliness that are faced by pioneers.

Withfor

26 February 2019 |

Having the personal conviction of the economic, social and environmental orientation, as well as the framework one wishes to give their business is one thing… Implementing this on a market, which is moving in the other direction, is another!

 

The emotional rollercoaster

Finally, after several months of an emotional rollercoaster, during which the entire team experienced moments of great happiness quickly followed by heavy doubts or intense emotions, Withfor comes to the fore. Withfor, the first ethical estate agent.

 

The not so obvious evidence

Now let’s try to explain to everyone what this is. To our astonishment: the concept we have carried inside us for months with such conviction, was not as straightforward to explain and convey as we had thought. The economic model we had chosen because it reflected our values, seemed to be confusing: “Ah, it’s an estate agent that offers council housing?” Or “it’s an estate agent that doesn't charge commission?” We also heard: “This is marketing, it won't last, it's advertising”.

 

Advertising, advertising…. Absolutely not!  Withfor is the continuation of who we are, both the founders and the team. We haven't changed in order to create Withfor. To the contrary, Withfor is an extension of who we are as individuals. Live better, mutual respect and also respect for the environment.

 

An individual focus extended to the workplace

We are convinced of the enormous impact business activities have on the world we will live in tomorrow. Through our choices, when it comes to buying a product or services, we define the world in which we want to live.

 

Of course, the pioneers or “early birds” are already “adherents” if not “addicts”, but sadly they are a long way from representing a majority. Not only was our message not understood, it was a source of misunderstandings.

 

Despite all of these “failed” introductions, our slightly troubled belief remained firmly anchored and our inner voice whispered: “Don’t let it go, it is the right choice”.

 

What is an ethical estate agency?

An ethical estate agent is an estate agency that doesn't view its profits as its sole objective, but also the common good and the well-being of its employees.

 

It is an agency that reinvents the market code and specifically guarantees that all parties involved in the process of renting, buying or selling, end up winners. Impartiality and neutrality are its slogans.

 

Getting back to the essence of the profession, we wanted to create a structure that would attract talent once more.

 

Nothing ever happens by chance

Keep listening to your inner whisperings, keep believing in yourself. Such was my relief when one morning, unexpectedly, I received an email from one of our external partners. It was an invitation to participate in a two-day event in Barcelona: Multiplicadores B. By the end of the first morning, I felt transformed and relieved. Doors open and our visionary perspective is embraced. Ten years from now, businesses that don’t have this social and environmental conscience will be perceived as obsolete and irresponsible. They will have huge difficulties in attracting and maintaining employees.

 

I’m split between joy and astonishment. I make two observations:

1. Phew! We are not alone … Other companies have the same concerns as us.

2. Phew! We are not crazy … Our idea is not so ridiculous, it is even considered as the economic model all companies should follow in the future and it is backed up by an international network established more than 10 years ago.

 

Multiplicadores B are businesses certified as B corporations by B lab. Multiplicadores B stands for “profit multipliers” or “multiple benefits”. These are businesses that measure their development, not just through the increase of their profits, but through the extent and impact of other benefits created within society, people, and the environment.

 

Economic model validation

B Corp, as well as validating our ethical DNA, in a neutral and impartial way, also offers us tools and a specific structure to implement, develop and constantly improve our actions and internal “processes”.

 

As well as opening to us a community that has followed the same path and with whom we can share our experiences, the B Corp community is inspirational: it is a great mechanism to help any business to improve.

 

We are not crazy, we are not alone … Phew!

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