I’ve had the pleasure of working with a range of new entrepreneurs over the course of the last five years, and each year it gets more and more exciting. What is becoming clear for me is that the conversation around starting a business inspired by a higher purpose is no longer a foreign concept. If anything, the ideas we discuss and the lessons we teach get the entrepreneurs fired up and even more determined to get their business ideas launched.
When Seeds Consulting was conceived over a decade ago, there wasn’t a lot of talk about conscious or purpose-driven business. Social ventures were perceived as only businesses in far-away places around the world dealing with third world problems. Replacing a typical profit-driven business model with one that put purpose before profits was a tough business case to sell around the board table.
Now, there’s ample evidence that shows that “doing well by doing good” makes perfect business sense, and is in fact, an approach that will create solid businesses that have the ability to stand the test of time.
What is a purpose-driven business?
The definition I always share comes from the book Conscious Capitalism: Purpose refers to the difference you’re trying to make in the world.
Purpose plays a big role into building strong brands and marketing them in a meaningful way. From Seth Godin’s latest read, This is Marketing, he proposes that “Modern marketing is doing work that MATTERS for people WHO CARE”. In Terry O’Reilly’s book This I know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence, he shares that the purpose of a company is likely found at that moment where the founder slammed his/her hand down on the table and declared …”there has to be a better way! In that moment is the best distillation of your why“.
Modern marketing is doing work that MATTERS for people WHO CARE
Getting the the core
So how would you know if you’re building a purpose-driven business? In my experience, it comes from standing up, and boldly sharing your purpose through a brand story to see how it resonates with people. A short and compelling brand story starts with the background on why you were so fired up you ‘slammed your fist on the table’, followed by what you’re doing about it now and sharing your bold vision for the future. With a recent cohort of entrepreneurs, when they stepped up to share their brand stories in the classroom, there were tears and there were moments when we all got choked up just talking about the inspiration behind their ventures.
These days, people are far more interested in why you are in the business you’re in and less motivated by the how and the what you’re offering. The more confidently you can share your original motivation for starting a business – that core purpose that gets you out of bed and motivated each day as an entrepreneur – the more more likely you’ll grow a business that matters for people who really do care about it.
If you have a idea for a business that you keep on the back burner simmering, learning from others and their motivations is a sure way to get your ideas in motion.
In Whistler this week, a cohort of entrepreneurs will be pitching their business ideas for a chance to win start up seed funding. The businesses are related to authentic Indigenous tourism experiences and are rooted in a purpose that’s way beyond the bottom line.
Event Details: slcc.ca/events
Take a look at these resources to learn more about using business as a force for good: