Business can be a catalyst for change. Using business for good can benefit our organisations, our communities and the living world, and it’s a step to creating the kind of future in which we can all thrive.
The most impactful businesses are the ones that generate social and environmental value alongside financial value. They’re businesses driven by a powerful sense of purpose, and a tenacity to make a difference. They understand that the old way of doing business doesn’t work anymore; that the economic model of endless growth is unsustainable and destructive. It’s stretching our precious resources, damaging our planet, destroying our biodiversity and contributing to social and economic problems for some of the poorest in our societies.
But as businesses, we can do something about it.
Business as a vehicle for social change
We have the chance to rebuild our economies, to design the kind of future that puts people and the planet first. A future where community, culture and passion will thrive.
Business shouldn’t exist to create value solely for shareholders. What if we shifted our focus from creating financial value to including social and environmental value? And what if we took that value and shared it equally with our clients, our planet and our wider communities? What if we actively fostered a culture of open collaboration and peer production? A model where we take tools, ideas and resources from within our community, collaborate and improve upon them, and then share them back with members of the community.
We’d have organisations that are productive, rich and fertile by design. Enterprises that benefit everyone in the community and contribute to a better world.
If we take a design-led approach, we can shape innovative business models that help people and our planet thrive. Businesses that benefit more than just customers and shareholders; businesses that help to make the world a better place.
Leading with purpose
We believe business shouldn’t just be about profit. This isn’t our reason for being. Our reason for being is to help people, and the services we provide today help people build more purposeful businesses that truly meet the needs of their customers, and arm them with an in-depth understanding of their finances. But we know we can do more. That’s why we launched our Business Model Innovation Course, our Community Fund and Powered by Positive. Our organisation is all about people– about connecting with people, helping people, and building a thriving community around our purpose. We want to use our organisation as a powerhouse for good to inspire people and drive positive change in our communities.
Adopting a mission-led mindset will deliver tangible benefits for everything you do, helping you deliver your own value proposition and make a difference in the world. But what are the other benefits of leading with people and purpose over profit?
Vitalising your team
Purpose matters. It’s what drives you to get up in the morning, it’s what motivates your team to show up and work hard everyday. It’s what inspires people and unites them around a common cause. Purpose is what builds powerful tribes of people who feel that they’re contributing to something far greater than themselves. It’s the driving force behind our organisations. Purpose is what inspires us all to make a difference and build the kinds of futures in which we can all thrive.
Building your culture
Purpose shapes our organisational cultures, it’s what attracts like-minded people to become champions of your cause. It attracts others who believe what you believe, and inspires them to act. Purpose is the glue that holds your team together, the yardstick for all company decisions and the talking point of every brand story.
Strengthening your brand
Millennials are our biggest consumers, and research has shown time and again that millennials are attracted to brands that are authentic, purposeful and clearly demonstrate their value. A comprehensive study of over 10,455 millennials across 36 countries shows that young people are prepared to switch brands to those associated with causes. Millennials are driving a need for purpose-led business– they only want to buy from brands that align with their values; brands who are actively making the world a better place.
Helping your bottom line
Leading with purpose is good for business. Employees with a strong sense of purpose are happier, more motivated employees. They’ll have increased job satisfaction and as a result, they’ll be more engaged and productive.
Businesses with a strong sense of purpose are also more likely to have fiercely loyal customers who work with them because they believe what they believe. These are the customers that become ambassadors of your brand, giving you multiple referrals and positive word of mouth. And when you lead with your mission and your values, you’ll attract more of the right customers, people who share your purpose and strongly believe in everything you do.
Building a better future
We believe profit shouldn’t be the only measure of success. If we really want to make a difference, businesses need to set other non-profit-related business goals and focus on their long-term vision. How do you want to make a difference? What legacy do you want your business to leave behind? What kind of world do you want to contribute to? By adopting a purpose-led mindset, we can use our organisations to improve the lives of the people around us and make a difference in the world, even if it’s only on a small scale. When you lead with purpose and fight for change, you will stand for something, something that others can get behind, and we think that’s pretty powerful.
Over the last year, we’ve witnessed a huge amount of innovation. New, inventive business models have emerged whilst old ones have crumbled. Nimble, dynamic startups are successfully navigating a world ruled by social distancing and working from anywhere, whilst stuffy, archaic companies who are slow to act are left in the dust.
Which camp will you fall into?
As our friends at Vero often say, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Let’s use this time to build the kinds of businesses that give back rather than take; businesses that stand for something, and businesses that actively contribute to a thriving world.