At FabIndia, William Nanda Bissell, has combined the mission of building a profitable enterprise with the higher purpose of doing good to its community of craftsmen and women. In June last year, William told me in the Outliers podcast that business needs to stand for a higher purpose.
“Giving just returns to your investors and shareholders is a restrictive model for business,” he told me back then.
When I spoke with William for this week’s podcast, he reiterated FabIndia’s focus on standing by its community of craftsmen and women, and the employees, even during the ongoing pandemic.
“For the first time, truly the first time in human history, it’s an event that affects every single person on the planet,” he tells me.
“If I look back at the beginning of March, it seems like it’s lightyears away. I mean in terms of, (what) we were planning, we had budgets, forecasts, AOPs (annual operating plan), everything… it has all evaporated.”
So how can companies’ culture survive this litmus test?
“My sense is that these are the times when you go back to the fundamentals. Who are you as a company? This is not the time to be running a commercial enterprise in a normal way. You have to actually start by putting people first and think about what their needs are and actually you have to put all the commercial considerations aside.”
Tune in to learn more about how William Bissell is navigating the ongoing existential crisis.
Additional listening: Please check out “William Bissell of Fabindia on building brand, lessons from the journey”