The Selle BusinessĀ Blog

Ā Changing the world through positive impact

from a natural and organic business consultant

Does Your Company Need a Purpose?

core values decision-making purpose Apr 22, 2024
cover of e-book

I value companies with a purpose. It lights me up. It makes me feel a sense of relief after despair that commercialism might be ruining our planet. Actually, it turns out, there are many companies out there whose leaders display a very high ethic and really want to be beacons of positive change.

Companies are inherently profit-driven, otherwise the endeavor is a hobby. But profit need not be the only motivating factor. A purpose that shines within (for the team) and without (for customers) is as much a motivating factor as making money and, I believe, should be a central pillar for businesses simply because they have secured wealth and influence and they should be responsible.

In fact, the Australian nonprofit Pro Purpose found that 65% of consumers believe a company’s primary purpose should include “making the world better.” Compare this to many businesses who would quickly say their primary purpose is to generate a profit, and we have a strong disconnect between sellers and buyers. Pro Purpose also found that 72% of adults agree that companies should be mission-driven and that 74% of consumers believe companies can and should take action.

Being Actionable

What does action look like? A company’s actions toward “doing good” can be environmental—such as committing dollars and hours directly to farm, forest, ocean, and/or waste reduction activities. They can also be social—such as implementing policies and systems that promote diversity, equity, fair hiring, and fair trade. Many companies are women-owned or minority-owned, and customers are increasingly seeking to purchase products and services from businesses that not only value women and minorities but that reflect the consumers’ own experience. In my reference e-book Business on Purpose, I share dozens of certifications and commitments that exist to support businesses in making their purpose a reality.

Gaining a certificate such as B-Corp status is a fantastic way to start. B-Corp is a private vetting entity that holds companies to certain standards so that the consumer public can be assured that the company is transparent and accountable. Becoming a B-Corp is one way to attest to a company’s ethics and purpose. Other ways include partnering with strongly ethical and aligned vendors.

One company that serves as an example of this is Here We Flo, a period-care company that operates both in the UK and the US. Not only is Here We Flo Vegetarian Society Approved and Cruelty Free, they went an extra step to ensure their rubber ingredients were produced ethically (they produce condoms). The company is a founding member of the Regenerative Rubber Initiative; their website states that this means they use Fair Agroforestry Latex and cooperate directly with smallholders who earn fair wages and practice biodiverse, sustainable farming of rubber trees.

Action Through Vendor Choice

Vendors are an incredibly important business partner that, unfortunately, many companies prefer to hide. Take animal welfare: a company can state loudly that its finished products are not tested on animals, meanwhile its individual ingredients have been tested. I’m always hyper-alert to the wording on labels that attest to animal welfare, and finding a statement about “finished product” does nothing to allay my concerns about ingredients in the pipeline. Consumers are not so easily fooled and most recognize the sly language used to cover up a vendor’s unsustainable activities.

All of this is to say that consumers want more accountability from their product and service providers, and companies that intentionally go out of their way to produce ethically-made products tend to win the market. Pro Purpose finds that purpose-driven companies grow 3 times faster than their competitors, and that customers are 4 to 6 times more likely to purchase from, protect, and champion purpose-driven companies.

Gen X and the Millennial generation are well-known advocates for honesty and integrity in the corporate realm, with more than three-quarters encouraging their peers to buy from such companies. This word-of-mouth loyalty is key to a company’s ability to weather storms and remain in business for years to come.

Consult with Me to Strengthen Team Unity

As a natural and organic business consultant, I specialize in leading in-person retreats, workshops and trainings where executives and/or team members come together to identify and expand core values and purpose. Creating a mission statement is not enough. To keep teams healthy and engaged, your company must invest in the ongoing process of exploring and identifying core values. And to propel your company forward with both employee retention and customer love, you should consider implementing a meaningful purpose throughout.

What does this look like? I can help with assessments, trainings, curricula, HR resources, and implementation that strengthen team unity. Contact me at [email protected].

 

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