EP 132: Choosing The B Corp Life with Buzz Food Truck Founder Michael Sirianni

May 8, 2018 | Business Models, Community, Podcast

Tara McMullin is a writer, podcaster, and producer who explores what it takes to navigate the 21st-century economy with your humanity intact. Click here to support this work.

The Nitty Gritty

  • Why Michael created Buzz, a rock-and-roll infused sandwich shop on wheels
  • How he infused his personal values into Buzz — and how those values extend into the culture of the company
  • Everything Michael learned from taking the B Impact Assessment
  • How becoming a B Corp positively impacts Buzz, its employees, and the community
  • What running a responsible business means to Michael

Today on What Works, we welcome Michael Sirianni, owner of Buzz, a mobile rock-and-roll inspired sandwich shop serving the Lancaster, Pennsylvania community. But Buzz is about so much more than egg and cheese sandwiches: as a B Corp certified business, Michael runs his restaurant-on-wheels a bit differently than most.

Listen to the entire conversation with Michael to hear all the details on what B Corp certification is, why sustainability is an important foundation for running any business, and how the B Corp certification benefits Buzz, its employees, and the community.

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How B Corp Certification aligns Michael’s company and personal values

“I’m a firm believer that a company’s values need to drive and reflect what your customers, vendors, and employees value. In addition to that, those values should be rooted in kindness, fairness, and generosity.” — Michael Sirianni

Most of us go into business because we see possibility for a better world — and we see how we can help make it so. That’s definitely true for Michael, who, after years working in the food industry, felt that his B Corp business matched his personal values. “I think that’s who I always saw myself as a leader in business,” Michael adds. “I could not be more happy that B Corp came along and now my personality matches my professional desire.” For him, making Buzz a B Corp certified business made it possible to make an even bigger impact than without it.

What Michael learned from taking the B Corp Assessment

“I sat down with my books and said I can’t really afford to do this. I can’t afford to give everyone a living wage and bring home X of profit. But that’s what the whole thing’s about. It’s about saying profits need to be sacrificed for the betterment of my staff. When you give somebody a living wage, they’re less likely to leave, they learn more, they grow more, they’re more invested, they become a bigger part of your company in the long run, they’re less likely work a second job because they have less of an economic need so they’re available more hours to you. There are all these positives about it. That’s the thing I learned most and simultaneously the thing I’m proudest about.” — Michael Sirianni

Going through The B Corp assessment, Michael realized that if he truly wanted to create the company he was the proudest of, he needed to be able to pay his staff a living wage. That meant that he’d take home less profit — but, to Michael, it’s worth it because it results in happier and healthier employees. In addition, providing stable, living-wage jobs to his employees results in a stronger community.

What responsibility in business looks like

“Are you doing what’s right for your community? Because they’re your customers and they’re your future employees. The private sector, as we define it, absolutely has a responsibility to make themselves a part of the solution and a part of progress.” — Michael Sirianni

B Corp certification is Business Sustainability 101. “Everyone should do it,” Michael argues because it forces you to look at every aspect of your business — from the way you hire and train your employees to how you give back to the community to how you approach environmental sustainability. With that foundation, the greater impact you have, no matter if you’re a startup or a business vet.

Hear more from Michael Sirianni on B Corp certification, sustainable business models, and responsibility as a founder, and much more, in this episode of What Works.

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