Despite some people’s logic, physical things don’t make us happiest in life. Meaning and purpose do.
That’s the word from various experts who seem to know what they’re talking about. If you feel like the work you do every day makes a difference in people’s lives, you’ll likely notice you have more enthusiasm. That can mean more than the money you see in your bank account every couple weeks.
This is especially true of millennials, who have already realized the money they make doesn’t go far. Instead of splurging on large purchases, younger generations are learning to see “success” as feeling fulfilled by the work they do rather than the material items they own. Happiness for many among this generation goes beyond the money they have in the bank.
In turn, good business owners and managers have figured out this connection between purpose and happiness. They work hard to keep their staff connected with that purpose and, when they do, they see that morale improves.
It’s no longer enough to manufacture products or offer services. Entrepreneurs want to know that they’re impacting the world around them.
Here are reasons why businesses that have purpose-driven models tend to be more successful and will do so more in the years to come.
Customers connect with authenticity.
Customers rank likability and trust as important factors when it comes to loyalty. If customers like you, they’re more likely to buy from you, which is exactly what you want them to do.
In order for this to make a difference, your brand’s purpose must be authentic. Don’t simply pick a random charity that has nothing to do with your day-to-day operations and announce you support it. Craft and nurture an ongoing campaign that is near and dear to your heart and gives back to a charity or community. Make it part of the mission of the company, as well as part of your marketing.
For instance, Chivas’ annual $1 million competition, the Chivas Venture, invests in startups that are using business to create positive change. Through this, Chivas continues its founding brothers’ commitment to helping the community and keeps the company’s original entrepreneurial spirit alive in a way that matches current trends.
Bottom line, customers will only continue to use apps and websites to order products, and that will create a craving for a personal touch. If you’re authentic, you’ll win customers who also identify with your mission and like to buy from a company with personality.
Investors respond to purpose.
Investment dollars can take a company to the next level, but did you realize purpose is mattering more and more to investors, too? If you understand how your business changes the world, you can communicate that information to anyone who might consider investing in your company. You may even find investors contact you after learning about the difference your brand is making.
Investors want to see passion in the companies they support. It’s important that your mission statement and business plan reflect that. In the next several years, as more investors realize the benefits of putting their money and time into startups that help the world or fulfill a purpose, they’ll be building portfolios stacked with such companies. Don’t miss out.
Purpose-driven businesses have staying power.
Let’s face it: We all want to make money. Even if you love what you do, there are bills to pay. That’s life.
But businesses that exist solely for the purpose of making money often don’t have what it takes to make it over the long haul. Take a look at Newman’s Own Foundation. The organization takes all of the profits from Newman’s Own food products and gives it away in grants to smaller charities and companies trying to make a difference throughout the world. It’s been going strong since 2005.
Another example of a company making this work is Unilever, the 87-year-old British transnational consumer goods behemoth. Unilever’s CMO, Keith Weed, says their “brands with purpose” are the ones that drive the most growth for the company. As Unilever has discovered, consumers recognize and reward authentic positive behavior from brands.
You don’t have to give away all your profits, of course, but your activities should be tied closely to your mission statement, which should support your business’s overall purpose (and this does include making money). In the future, the marketplace is going to only get more competitive, so those who tie their business purpose into the work they do will often beat out those who don’t.
Employees need purpose, too.
Employees are going to leave. It’s unavoidable. But when your office becomes a revolving door, it’s time to take a serious look at what you’re doing. Or, better yet, think about purpose from the very start and avoid unnecessary departures.
In addition to the expense of hiring and training someone new, if you’re constantly replacing departing employees, you don’t have time to focus on growing your business. When employees are personally invested in your business’s purpose, they’re more likely to stay with you long-term.
In the coming years, hiring will only become more competitive. If you want to avoid losing your A-players to competitors, step up your game. Find ways to demonstrate the difference your products or services are making by interviewing customers and showing the videos to employees in meetings or on your website.
Purpose means personal happiness.
When your work makes you happy, you’re happier overall. Instead of living for nights, weekends and holidays, you enjoy each day. That happiness also translates to better health, reducing your risk of developing insomnia, depression, diabetes, heart disease and other stress-related issues. Your personal relationships may benefit, as well, since you’re happier at work.
For entrepreneurs, it’s important to question your brand’s purpose and ensure the work you’re doing each day helps further that purpose. If employees, clients and investors share your vision, you’ll be more likely to find long-term success.