Georgia’s Newest B Corp: Classic City Consulting

Since 2013, Classic City Consulting has been helping companies build better websites and implement content and SEO strategies that drive bottom line results. Their CEO, Chris LaFay, started out as a solopreneur, but quickly began growing his team. And with that growth came the same question that every young company must ask itself: “What are we going to be when we grow up?” 

For LaFay, this question meant a lot to him. He wanted to create a great place to work, to take care of his team members, but also to build it around the right people. When Classic City really began to expand its customer base in late 2021, he reached out to the Terry College of Business’ Full-Time MBA program and its B Corp instructor, Nathan Stuck, who also founded Profitable Purpose Consulting (PPC) and had hired Chris & his team to build their website. 

After working with a group of students in Fall of 2022, LaFay and his team took their implementation roadmap and did exactly that–they started implementing. From policy changes to developing & tracking new impact KPIs, Classic City was cementing a foundation to continue to build their business on. With their initial certification now officially behind them, we sat down with Chris to talk about the process, their why, and what’s next. 

Chris got his team together for an offsite earlier in 2023 and it sure looks like they enjoy working with each other. Photo credit: Classic City Consulting. 

PPC: Chris, you’re officially the owner of a certified B Corporation! Why did you pursue it and what value has this process brought to your business? 

Chris: When I reflect on the journey that led us to pursue B Corp status for Classic City Consulting, it’s like looking back on the evolution of a passion project that unexpectedly transformed into something much bigger. What started as a freelance endeavor for me personally gradually grew and morphed into Classic City Consulting over a span of 10 to 15 years. It’s wild to think that, as a company, we’ve only officially been around for about six years now.

In those initial years, growth was exciting, but it also meant we were navigating uncharted waters without implementing the robust systems and structures that, in hindsight, we now realize are crucial. We were fortunate enough to thrive without the need for extensive employee documentation, clear financial transparency, or formalized job descriptions. It was a bit like riding the wave of growth, but as we expanded, we began to feel the need for something more concrete—a roadmap for our future.

The decision to pursue B Corp status wasn’t just a strategic move; it was a conscious effort to hit the pause button on our rapid growth and start defining who we are as a company. It forced us to put pen to paper and articulate our values, document our processes, and ensure that we’re not just growing for the sake of growth but growing with purpose.

One significant revelation through this process was realizing how our community engagement had taken a back seat amidst our growth. We had become highly reactive, putting all our focus on delivering quality services as we expanded. B Corp became a catalyst for change, prompting us to step back and ask important questions. What causes do our people care about? How can we ensure that our fully remote workforce impacts local communities all across the U.S. in a positive way?

So, the decision to pursue B Corp status wasn’t just about ticking a box; it was about redefining our identity, solidifying our commitment to transparency, and making intentional choices about our impact on the communities we touch. It’s a journey that’s reshaping not just our business practices but our entire outlook on growth and responsibility.

PPC: Along your B Corp journey, you worked with a B Impact Team in UGA’s Full-Time MBA program and then with a local B Corp consultant. What was the process like and how did they help you achieve certification? 

Chris: Securing B Corp status as quickly as we did was nothing short of a collaborative triumph, and a significant chunk of the credit goes to Profitable Purpose Consulting and the fantastic team of UGA students. When we initially embarked on the B Impact assessment and submitted our scores, I had no idea about how much documentation we did not have. What made working with PPC and UGA truly remarkable was the wealth of experience they brought to the table in the realm of B Corps. It was like having seasoned guides on an unfamiliar trail—they knew the right questions to ask, the opportunities to boost our scores, and an arsenal of pre-made documentation that served as an invaluable starting point for us. I can’t stress enough how much time and effort this saved us. Both the UGA students and Profitable Purpose Consulting weren’t just partners in paperwork; they were incredibly easy to work with, adaptable to our needs, and as invested in the process as we were. I’d recommend them in a heartbeat.

What impressed me most was their flexibility and reactivity—qualities you don’t always associate with such in-depth processes. We weren’t just clients to them; it felt like a shared mission. Their extensive experience in the B Corp arena not only streamlined the entire certification process but also enriched our understanding of what it truly means to be a socially responsible business. So, securing B Corp status wasn’t just a checkbox exercise; it was a dynamic collaboration that not only expedited the process but also left us with a newfound appreciation for the potential impact of businesses like ours on a broader scale.

PPC: Classic City Consulting’s motto is “Make it work. Then make it work better.” I feel like there is a parallel between your approach and the benefits of going through the B Impact Assessment. Did this process make Classic City “work better?” 

Chris:  In those early stages of growing Classic City Consulting, it felt like we were constantly in a “make it work” mode. We were reactive, hustling to deliver quality, and honestly, it was a bit of a whirlwind. We were so focused on the day-to-day challenges of expansion that we didn’t have the chance to lay down solid foundations for the long term.

When we decided to pursue B Corp status, it was like a turning point for us. It wasn’t just about keeping the wheels turning anymore; it was about making those wheels run smoother, making them part of a well-oiled machine. It took us about a year to navigate through the entire B Corp process, but in the end, we emerged with more than just a certification. We now have a rock-solid foundation—a playbook, if you will—that empowers us to continually up our game.

This transformative process wasn’t just about meeting a set of criteria; it was about ingraining a commitment to better practices. Now, armed with the tools and insights gained from our B Corp journey, we’re in a perpetual state of improvement. It’s not just about making our company work better; it’s about amplifying our positive impact on our team and the communities we’re part of. We’re constantly asking ourselves, “How can we do this better? How can we contribute more meaningfully?”

So, yeah, while the journey to B Corp status took about a year, it was an investment in a future where we’re not just making it work; we’re making it work exceptionally well for everyone involved.

Make it work. Then make it work better. The B Impact Assessment allowed Classic City Consulting to live their mission internally, using it to make the company a better place. 

PPC: With this behind you (well, until you recertify in three years), what’s next for Classic City and how do you plan to engage with the Georgia B Corp community, B Local Georgia

Chris: Looking ahead, our goal is to actively engage with the vibrant Atlanta community and contribute to the growing Be Local Georgia movement, especially with the exciting growth anticipated in 2023 and beyond. Given that a significant part of our team is based in Georgia, we’re gearing our volunteering efforts towards initiatives where we can collaborate with other B Corps and make a meaningful impact. The plan is to dive into community involvement swiftly, fostering connections and contributing to the positive growth of the Be Local Georgia community.

Profitable Purpose Consulting is a full service culture and impact agency that specializes in B Corp certification. While they’re headquartered in Georgia and their heart is in the southeast, they work with clients around the world and have a network just as global. At PPC, it’s not just the certification, it’s successfully implementing every part of the process and telling the story of the good you do.