There’s no question that profits are important to any startup or business. Yet the more time I spend in the startup world, the more I realize that profits shouldn’t be our sole focus. I’m learning that profits seem to be more of a bi-product of focusing on your company’s purpose or mission. Identifying the impact you want to have on the world will ultimately lead to profits and sustainable success.
Focusing on the purpose of your business and what product or service you’re aiming to provide will help you more easily gain the support of customers, investors and employees. It helps you develop a stronger brand and a better work environment, turning customers into brand evangelists and employees into ambassadors of the cause. Focus on purpose over profits, and you’ll enjoy these three tangible benefits for your startup.
1. You’ll get more out of–and more likely get into–accelerators and incubators.
Incubators and accelerators are a valuable resource for startups. I advise startups at incubators and accelerators across the country and have seen firsthand the value those programs provide to entrepreneurs. Research findings indicate that such programs can significantly improve the chances these fledgling endeavors have of becoming successful. What’s especially telling is that studies indicate that prior entrepreneurial experience doesn’t change the positive impacts of an accelerator program.
2. Your brand’s purpose will differentiate you from the competition.
In almost every industry, consumers are inundated with options. Many businesses sell similar products, and some are virtually identical. Focusing on impact or purpose is a great way to help your business stand out from the crowd, and it allows you to offer a unique selling proposition your customers will find compelling.
3. Your employees will be happier and more productive.
Having a business that focuses on impact instead of profit can contribute to a much better environment at work. Work culture is so important to your business that it can actually make your employees more productive, even when financial incentives aren’t enough to do the same. Almost three-quarters of American employees feel their job is more fulfilling when it enables them to positively impact their communities.
None of this is to say that profits aren’t important. At the end of the day, they are very important–as any failed entrepreneur can tell you. Fortunately, studies indicate that the choice between purpose and profits is a false one.
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