“I’ve got to be better in what I offer. I’ve got to be that much better in the service I provide my customers, or they’ll go to my competition.”
I’m in Honduras for the week with John Ledford, our 2008 Socially Responsible Advisor of the Year. We’re here to make a donation in John’s name to the Adelante Foundation, an organization that makes micro-loans to poor women in rural areas (usually about $100). The women can then buy toothpaste, combs, brushes and other toiletries to resell for a profit in their villages. It’s a way to build a business at the grassroots level and empower women to lift themselves — and their families — out of poverty. And it’s overwhelmingly successful. Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist and founder of Grameen Bank, won the Nobel Prize for developing the concept of micro-loans in 2006. The micro-loan repayment rate is 99 percent (try to find a repayment like that in today’s sub-prime mortgage environment).