The days of starting a business just to turn a profit are long gone. Today’s most successful entrepreneurial minds are more focused on solving the world’s biggest problems. If you’re not running your business with a greater purpose, you are missing out on the joys — and revenue — that come from being a conscious entrepreneur.
Similar to the concept of “conscious capitalism,” conscious entrepreneurship focuses on a bottom line that journeys far beyond profit. Not only do conscious businesses take care of people and the planet, but experts have also found that businesses driven by purpose often perform better than businesses anchored in an older shareholder-driven model. As a young business, core values that make an impact can be woven into the fabric of your governance. In my Culinary Alchemy® programs, I work with many business founders, and I often find that successful, conscious entrepreneurship also requires an astute awareness of your own mind and body. You can’t solve the world’s next problem if your own energy is depleted.
Below are a few key components of conscious entrepreneurship. Incorporating these values into your business can help you achieve greater success, impact and happiness.
Lead with purpose.
Leading with purpose helps make the long road of entrepreneurship less of a trudge and more of an exciting and rewarding adventure. To find purpose in your work, identify problems in the world and how your product or service can solve them. Working on problems that are tied to your personal values can help you avoid burnout. Not only can a business that leads with purpose make a larger impact on the world, but it will also be more sustainable due to your greater likelihood of sticking it out through the inevitable challenges.
Support your people.
Your people are the heart and soul of your organization. Do everything you can to hire great people with a similar sense of purpose and keep them happy because happy employees tend to stick around longer than their disgruntled counterparts. Invest in your people by taking the time to listen to their needs and ideas to understand how to best support their time at your organization. Most likely, they will return the favor by helping your company thrive.
Protect the planet.
One 2017 study (registration required) demonstrated that a huge percentage of U.S. consumers care about how brands are protecting the planet. Eighty-seven percent of people surveyed would buy a product with a social and environmental benefit if given the opportunity. Consumers today are looking for greater transparency and deeper activism in all aspects of life. Incorporating environmental consciousness into the foundation of your business is necessary to stay relevant in the next wave of entrepreneurship.
Select your business partners wisely.
Before you enter into any kind of business partnership, whether with a brand, investor, partner or employee, make sure that their objectives are aligned with your purpose. If someone is investing in your business, will they push you to do your best and to consciously achieve your mission or are they going to be driving you to give up some of your integrity to reach for-profit goals? It’s important to avoid partnerships that will cast doubt on your sense of purpose, no matter how lucrative they may seem.
Take care of yourself.
We often hear about the triple bottom line of a conscious business. People, the planet and profits are important components of conscious entrepreneurship, but it is also imperative that you do not overlook your own well-being. Cultivating awareness of your own needs is a large part of being a successful entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship can be a 24/7 commitment, but if you constantly throw all of your energy into your business, you will be on the road to fast burnout. A fatigued entrepreneur can’t serve to their highest potential, which is why conscious entrepreneurship requires carving out time to rest, eat properly, get ample sleep and connect with loved ones.
Conscious entrepreneurship is about making a connection to the people and problems around you and offering a solution that is also profitable. Take some time to meditate about your purpose and its impact on people, the planet, your partners and your own well-being. It is often in solitary silence that we find the answers we need to succeed.