Applying nonprofits’ passion to small business success, with Kris Hoots and Steve Thomas

This might seem counterintuitive, but it turns out there’s a lot that for-profit small businesses can learn from nonprofit organizations that work every day to make a difference in the community.

That’s the message we heard loud and clear from Kris Hoots and Steve Thomas, whose Seattle-area boutique agency works with small nonprofits to up their game and achieve excellence. While in Austin last year the Wizard of Ads partners talked with One Man Brand’s Ray Seggern about the crossover in values and motivation that “mom and pop” entrepreneurs can take from the nonprofit world.

“It’s easy to think that passion and beliefs not as important as profits and expenses,but what you’re passionate about and what gets you up in the morning is what gets you out of bed,” Thomas said. “It’s the same as most nonprofits. Everyone has a dream and people who have passion for nonprofit work are an entrepreneur in their own right.”

Thomas said he and Hoots are naturally drawn to operators who are passionate about making a difference and who are “nuts in a good way.” He said studying the culture of great nonprofits from afar has helped him in his agency work.

And his view on the toughest thing for most businesses and nonprofits right now, in an age where media and attention is as fragmented as ever?

“Biggest struggle is getting their story told, to get a personality to their brand and make it real and accessible to everybody.”