I listened to a fascinating presentation by the founder of ThankYou Water (and other products) recently. Daniel Flynn is his name. I had seen ThankYou water bottles in a fridge somewhere – and I recall wondering what they were about! Now I know! Let me share with you….

When Daniel was at Uni (studying ‘concrete’) his computer flashed on the side with a comment saying that millions of people every day don’t have access to water – and of those that do; many die from the water they get (as it is not safe enough).

So he had an idea – he would start a Bottled Water Company and the profits would go to providing water to those around the world that didn’t have water. His mate and girlfriend came on board at the idea and they decided to do it! The next stage is amazing!

They had no money, no business plan, no strategy – just an idea and a passion. They called factories to see if they could get bottles made. They called printing companies to get labels made. They asked for freebies. The rang a major packaging company for a meeting with the CEO – using the 1800 number – and ultimately got a meeting…which didn’t last too long as he hadn’t really worked out what they were going to ask for! They asked for 10 million free bottles to be made – they were promised 30,000.

They basically just kept stepping out of their comfort zone – just had a crack even though logic and every bit of business common sense said they had no hope! “Ideas aren’t worth a whole lot – but when they get momentum, a whole lot of passionate people want to come onboard”.

Daniel highlighted the importance of teamwork for their organisation – “teamwork makes the dream work”. Their operation is owned by a Charitable Trust with all profits going to the cause. Maybe the cause is the difference?

The value of teamwork? “If we all value teamwork, then we all have to value each role as significant as another”. “When everyone understands how significant their little role is, it ignites the passion of the team!”

Along their journey they hit obstacle after obstacle – including stockers of the product pulling out their orders, printing run stuff ups of labels, success in small cafes etc but the major players not stocking the brand and the obvious money issues. Whereas each one of the setbacks might have stopped most people, these guys just kept getting back up and pushing ahead.

So why did they? (When any sane person would have given up!) “It’s about “finding your Why” – why you do what you do…and then make sure you have daily constant reminders to make sure you remember why you do what you do.”

Their philosophy? “You can say no to us a hundred times, but we will keep getting back up again as that is why we do what we do!” I found that fantastic! More? “We don’t want your money – we want your choice!” ie “Don’t buy our product because you want to give money to us – buy it because you choose it – because it is better and you make the choice to buy.”

They had great difficulty in getting the major stores to stock their product. So they went about it differently. They got on Sunrise TV for a session and were promoted. They got onto Facebook and their message went viral – they asked people to send messages to 7/11 stores saying if you stock it – we will buy it. This was massively successful! They flew helicopters (all donated) over the Head Offices of Coles and Woolworths with massive flags saying “you will change the world – if you say yes”. They then followed this with meetings to pitch for their product to be stocked – and this was successful!

They have since expanded into food products, hygiene and about to launch a nappy range! But they didn’t have the money for the launch…. They wrote a book called “Chapter One – you have the power to change stuff” it was about their journey so far. They launched it on Facebook/You Tube with an invitation for people to buy it – for whatever price they wanted to pay. Of course this went to a massive following audience – and within 28 days they raised over $1.5m!

Totally risky – totally brilliant! The book is written sideways – so you read it longways. Why? – so when people on the plane, train or bus see you reading a book sideways they ask why? And the message gets out….!

Take away thoughts?

  • You must be willing to challenge your thinking regularly.
  • Fear of failure stops so many from proceeding. You must overcome your fear!
  • ‘Culture and Value fit’ in the workplace is vital (take culture and attitude over skill and expertise any day)……..if you want a great business and organisation.

Yes – I bought a couple of books and have started reading – still getting used to doing it sideways!

Go and look them up on You Tube or Google “Thankyou water” and similar names. Doing wonderful things and a great journey so far!………and make sure you buy some nappies! Oh, and buy the book too – pay whatever you want!