Updated: Nov 30, 2019
The allure of starting a business, for most entrepreneurs, has been about making money, and personal freedom. A new breed of entrepreneur is emerging driven by social change–in other words making a difference rather than just making money.
Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing evil or sinister in starting and growing a profitable business making lots of money. In a free market society, profit is essential to the central order of things. That said, a new breed of entrepreneurship is quickly rising up all over the world. This new breed of entrepreneur is driven by social change. There are three attributes defining these social entrepreneurs:
Passion (a deep personal connection based in a higher purpose)
Profit (creating economic value by doing good things)
Planet (making a positive impact on the quality of life itself)
These factors form the new bottom line that matters most to this breed of entrepreneur. Of course there are many shining examples of these socially driven enterprises: Patagonia, Toms Shoes, Warby Parker are big success stories that come quickly to mind.
They all began with passionate founders committed to having their business enterprise represent a higher purpose and reason for being than just profit alone.
Of course you don't have to be big and successful to follow this model. Bureo Skateboards is a compelling example of a small emerging enterprise soon to take its place among the success stories demonstrating the relationship between entrepreneurship as the driver of innovation and social change. Founded by three friends who shared a passion for the well being of the ocean, Bureo designs and markets skateboards made from recycled plastic fishnets– a dangerous polluter of the ocean.
These entrepreneur founders are doing something about one of the big problems we face as humans on the blue marble–and they are making money doing it.
The success of these enterprises is completely based in shared values with customers.
It’s great to have a high calling and purpose, but to make a successful business out of it; you have customers who care as much as you do. More consumers are beginning to realize that an exploitive consumerist society is no longer a sustainable model. More customers today want to support a business that is making impactful good. And they only buy from brands that represent this shared value system. Typically these customers are more than happy to pay a premium price as well– helping the profitability of these enterprises so they can do ever more good. May the circle be unbroken.
For entrepreneurs growing a social change business, their marketing is baked into the value they create. These founders know they can’t brand their way to social change. The authenticity of these businesses is what builds instant trust and goodwill with their customers.
The rise of social entrepreneurship is a paradigm shift. Many thousands of purpose-based businesses are forming each day. It’s not a trend. It’s a fact! And the numbers are growing. This reality is a challenge for businesses still focused on counting transactions rather than creating social change. Perhaps your new business startup will be one of the new breed.
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