INTRO: CAPITALISM, ENTREPRENEURSHIP & TRADE
Clarifying What’s Gone Wrong & What’s Still Very Right
One thing we believe it’s important to clarify – the process of developing a product or service and of bringing it to the marketplace, and the act of engaging in trade, are not features that are unique to capitalism, nor are they inherently problematic activities.
Not only do we believe that everyone should be free to practice entrepreneurship, but we actively encourage it. We see it as more than a means for creating material abundance; it’s also an opportunity to share our gifts, talents and passions in a spirit of service, and to experience tremendous self-development in the process.
As with most things in life, the problem lies not with the object itself but the way it’s used – and unfortunately, entrepreneurship in the context of capitalism has resulted in exploitation of both people and the natural environment, two outcomes we believe are completely avoidable when entrepreneurship is practiced with integrity.
Similarly, trade has allowed exploitative business practices to exist and thrive, because consumers have failed to wield their power of consumer choice, and have opted instead for selfish and unconscious (or at best, compromised) purchasing decisions. Fortunately, we can begin to shift that pattern as quickly as we can change our minds and reset our priorities.
We developed Bijou Collective’s “Collaborative Entrepreneurship” model as an alternative to exploitation-based capitalism, and we hope that by building a thriving company that completely reimagines our management and compensation systems, we can “lead by action” and forge a path for all companies to experiment with alternative business models founded on integrity, justice and respect, and which support the wellbeing of their team members, their families, their communities, and the planet.
Likewise, when you choose to give your business to Bijou Collective, you are “voting yes” on creating new paradigms for the workplace, ones which center humanity and ecology over profiting from exploitation.
How Bijou Collective Is Changing The Game
FAIR & EQUITABLE COMPENSATION
At Bijou Collective, we believe the profits of a company belong to the people working within the company – and our profits should be disbursed among our team in the same proportion that each person has invested their sweat equity into the company.
In other words, if Johnny has invested 10 hours of work and Sally has invested 20 hours of work, then Johnny should receive ⅓ of the profit disbursement, and Sally should receive ⅔ – so that the amount of money they take out from the disbursement is exactly proportionate to the amount of work they’ve put in.
Our compensation model is flat and transparent – meaning we have built-in structures and policies that serve to avoid both overt forms of discrimination, as well as the more opaque, structural disadvantages of the traditional workplace.
OUR MANAGEMENT APPROACH
We are reimagining workplace roles and avoiding the replication of hierarchical models within Bijou Collective. There are no “owners” and “employees” – only collaboration between equals.
We each have a defined job to do in order to keep the company running, whether that job is administrative, executive or creative. We are colleagues who recognize that although our roles within the company may be different, all of our contributions are equally crucial to the overall success of the company as well as to the success of our clients.
Our team members do not “start at the bottom” and “work their way up” because there IS no bottom or top. Excellence is contributed by everyone on our team from the beginning, and we encourage each other to grow into greater expertise within each of our areas of genius while allowing our colleagues to handle the responsibilities best suited to their own talents.
Over time, we experience greater specialization among team members as our company grows, allowing each one of us to serve our clients by doing more of what lights us up inside.
KEEPING OPERATIONS LIGHT & LEAN
The first wave of the "reinvented workplace" – which emerged roughly around the turn of the millenium – played out with more of a college dorm mentality than a rational, cost-sensitive and tech-savvy approach.
We are adults here at Bijou, and we don’t need to inflate our client prices in order to pay for workplace foosball tables, giant beanbag chairs, big screen TVs and catered lunches.
In fact, we are a fully remote team who stays interconnected using the latest technology. Remaining a virtual team is a core value for us, not only for the cost savings to the company but for the time savings (less time spent commuting means more time with our families!) and the reduced environmental footprint.
We don’t have set office hours, or track vacation days and sick days. Each of our team members is responsible for managing their own schedules, and we all trust each other to get the job done and make our clients happy while also taking care of our own needs and personal lives. The self-responsibility each one of us stands in, and the mutual trust we invest in our team members, both in turn reduce our administrative and management overhead.
THE BIJOU COUNTDOWN: PROFIT ALLOCATION
Responsible financial governance is a balancing act between living in abundance in the present, planning for a healthy and stable future, and paying it forward to the communities we call home.
To achieve this balance, we have developed a system we call the Bijou Countdown. We divide our quarterly net profits into ten equal parts, and we allocate them in the following proportions:
4 – 3 – 2 – 1
FOUR FOR SPENDING
Each quarter, we disburse 40% of our net profits among all our team members, in proportion to the number of lifetime work hours they have invested into the company.
We define our “team” not only in terms of the people who contributed work within the present quarter, but to past team members as well. That means, if someone takes a year off to have a baby, or volunteer with a political campaign, or hike the Pacific Crest trail, or finally write that novel they’ve been dreaming up – they will still receive a disbursement of profits from the company they helped to build.
THREE FOR INVESTING
Each quarter, 30% of our net profits are earmarked for investing into building a better Bijou. That might mean investing in marketing, business development and other forms of expansion, or it might mean educational opportunities for the team, or even an in-person “team building” event.
TWO FOR SAVING
Each quarter, 20% of our net profits are put into long-term savings. We don’t yet know what this money will be used for, but setting it aside for the future creates the potential for more stability for the company, as well as for the possibility that we can take advantage of yet-to-be-imagined opportunities when they arise.
ONE FOR GIVING
At Bijou, we believe that sharing our abundance can only increase us, and we also acknowledge that we have a responsibility to use our success to encourage and invest in others within our communities, and to serve as stewards to our animal neighbors and the natural environment.
We have established a foundation, and we divert 10% of our quarterly profits into the foundation’s account. Sometimes that money is used to fund direct action in our communities, and other times it is disbursed to local, grassroots charitable organizations when we feel confident they are making the world a better place.
Are you intrigued by our business model? Our strategic consultants are available to help you implement an alternative structure that fits your own progressive values and the unique product or service you provide. Schedule a consultation to get started.
Interested in engaging us to provide your business with marketing or administrative support? We invite you to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs.
Are you an experienced professional with a track record for excellence, who is interested in joining our team? Jump over to our careers page to learn more about the opportunities with Bijou Collective, and for instructions on how to apply!