Here’s a question for you; “What makes your company great?” Take a second to think about it and weigh up in your mind everything you believe is great about your company.
Write them down, the first three things that came into your head, now look at that list. Has - “we make a lot of profit” - made it on to that list? The chances are it hasn’t. What you’re more likely to see is something along of the lines of “our product” or “the people who work here” or “the way people are looked after.”
The sole purpose of business used to be to make money. And for many the barometer of success is still the bottom-line and the level of profit. Yet, as we saw above, this rarely enters our thinking when we list what’s great about our company.
Businesses will always want to make money. What’s becoming ever more evident is the way businesses choose to do it, is just as important. As Harvard Business School professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, says: “Great companies work to make money, of course, but in their choices of how to do so, they think about building enduring institutions. They invest in the future while being aware of the need to build people and society.”
The most successful business, and those whose success endures, are those who put the ‘Three Ps’ at the centre of their strategy; purpose, people and product. Get these three right, and then the P for profit, will fall naturally into place.
Make sure your business has a purpose that is much bigger than making profit. Like we’ve said before, it’s possible for every business, in their own way, to change the world. In having a purpose, your company will develop its own personality, identity and beliefs.
Create a mission statement your employees and customers will love. Ikea’s mission is to make everyday life better, JetBlue want to bring humanity back to the skies and American Express put supporting their employees at the top of their list because they believe this means their employees will deliver a level of customer service which sets them apart from their competition.
Find your purpose, develop a mission statement and then work towards achieving it.
TED speaker Simon Sinek said this; “Customers will never love a company until employees love it first.” Invest in your people and ensure your employees are engaged. This means caring for them while they’re at work and enriching their lives when they’re not. No job in the world will be plain sailing 100% of the time. It’s the same with relationships. But the best relationships endure because there’s a strength of love binding people together. Win this love from your employees and your success will grow, flourish and endure.
So we’ve created a great culture, we have a clear mission and we have employees who love us. What’s next? You need to have a product everyone believes in. A product so good that everyone involved in the business is proud of it because they know it’s the best product out there.
Success doesn’t happen overnight but providing you have a product you believe in you can sacrifice short-term gains for long-term success. Take the t-shirt brand, Life is Good, as an example. Their mission is to spread the power of optimism, they donate 10% of their profits to charity and they can do this because they make t-shirts that bring a smile to the face.
Every business needs to make money. However, lasting success will come when a business contributes to society and care for the people who make that business work; its customers and employees.