I hear this all the time, people want to start a purpose-driven business. But what does that really mean? You want to help people? That’s too vague. You want to do what you feel is your soul’s purpose. Great! But let me push it a bit further. Does your soul’s purpose include helping a cause? Awesome! That’s the kind of purpose-driven cause-based business I’m talking about.
It’s doing your soul’s purpose work, be it creating beautiful illustrations or designing simple, yet functional products and doing that work for an important cause.
There’s probably nothing more fulfilling than feeling like you are truly aligned with what you do in a way that contributes to making the world a better place. So where do you start? Here are my top 10 tips for building a purpose-driven, cause-based business.
1. Just get started
Don’t let fears get in your way. It would be much worse to never try for that feeling of alignment with your purpose work and contribute to a cause you care about, than to make an attempt trying.
Waiting for the perfect moment, or having the perfect product only delays the contribution you could be making towards your cause. It doesn’t make you a hypocrite if your business, or your products haven’t embodied the values of the cause you may care about. Just because your packaging isn’t 100% recyclable or your supplies aren’t all fair trade because its simply cost prohibitive or not available, doesn’t mean you are less worthy of your mission.
2. Create a quality product
It doesn’t matter your cause, if you product doesn’t actually solve a problem or it isn’t of the highest quality, your customers aren’t going to want to buy it, no matter your cause. I see a lot of people flounder a bit on this, they’re focused on a cause and they forget that as a business you still need to offer something that people want. So don’t skimp on the market research and don’t skimp on the production or materials, understanding how you can best serve your customers is still the best thing you can do for your business and its cause.
3. Align your product with your mission
Whether you have a service or a product to offer, supporting a cause that relates to your product creates a logical connection for customers to follow, or tell your story of how it’s dear to your heart. But it goes beyond just having a cause and its about aligning with the values, impacts, language or actions that show that you are genuine in your mission and not just a marketing PR stunt.
4. Choose a business model that works for you
There are lots of ways you can build in supporting a cause, whether directly through the materials you use, people you hire, or suppliers you choose, or indirectly through donating a percentage of profits or donating your skills and time to important causes or just being an advocate, choose the model that works best for your business.
If your business is already started, you can choose one of your products or services to go towards supporting a cause. Or, pick one day of the month. For example, every 10th day of the month, donate 5-10% of your sales to a nonprofit group. Or, if you’re a service-based business, give one day each month providing services to local causes.
However you choose your business model it should be more than just lip-service and a part of your business considerations.
5. Share your story so your customers can help you
Your why, your mission is a big feature of why you stand out compared to other market offerings so you need to tell your story in a way that brings your customers in to the journey and allows them to see how their purchase contributes. This can be telling about how much money has been donated, how many individuals have been impacted or how much X has been saved.
6. Find ways to remind customers of how they have helped
Continue to build the relationship with the customer by reminding them how their purchase decision has created an impact. Build it into your product, whether with a thank you note and reminder of how that purchase has helped to contribute or simple thank you cards at certain times of year. It’s a way to remind your customer how they have created an impact so that the next time they consider a purchase, they are reminded that through your business they can make a certain impact that perhaps they can’t with another company.
7. Teach your customers about your cause
You have created a platform where you have a great opportunity to not only make a direct impact to your cause but to educate and inform others on why it’s important, and how they can also help. Your customers will naturally be curious about your cause so it’s an opportunity to get your customers taking an active role.
8. Use social media to grow your platform
Grow your impact by amplifying your voice. Whether through Instagram or Facebook, Twitter or any other social media channel, choose a platform that works best for you and your audience in a way that lets you tell your story best.
9. Find the right partners to scale your business
When you’re clear on your mission, it’s much easier to align yourself with others who have the same values and can offer you help to scale your business. It makes it so much easier to find the right say, social media manager who can create content that is on brand or the right partners that will help you get in front of new people.
10. Seek advice, find mentors
When you’re the founder of a company, the buck stops with you. Ultimately you make the final decisions but likely you don’t have all the answers so seek advice from mentors to get that unbiased, experienced opinion. It’s also the fast-track to success vs trying to figure it out all on your own.
Starting a purpose-driven, caused-based business is within your reach. Living in full alignment with your purpose-work while supporting a cause makes an impact in many ways. It’s what lights me up most, to be able to support business owners in doing their thang and changing the world. If you’re looking for support in starting your purpose-driven biz then grab a free call with me now.