5 Profitable Businesses Leading With Their Purpose

There is a lot of buzz around having a purpose driven business, but what exactly does that mean and why does it matter? To some, businesses exists solely to make profits. To others, businesses should set out to add value and do some good. I’m here to tell you both are true. In fact, the natural consequence of setting out to make a difference and adding value is huge profits.

Why does purpose matter?

Purpose is your Why and the engine that drives your company.  It is the reason your organization exists and makes clear what positive impact you seek to make in the world. Of course you’re in business to make a profit. But if you want to be hugely profitable, what you really need to do is bring clarity to your greater overall purpose beyond the single bottom line.

That’s because when your overall purpose is clear everyone involved from employees, customers, suppliers, stakeholders and more pulls together to support your organization’s goals.

The reason is simple.

Human beings are naturally designed to need to connect to something greater than themselves. Understanding why we do what we do and believing in what we do drives us to want to do things better. It’s no surprise that companies with clarity of purpose have more engaged employees and are thus more productive. In fact, purpose driven businesses outperform the S&P 500 making corporate purpose a powerful tool for affecting top and bottom line growth.

Clarity of purpose is the reason we wake up in the morning and it allows us to be passionate about what we do.

Once uncovered, purpose illuminates everything in its path and trickles down to define all organizational activity including innovation, communications, systems, recruiting, training and more.

The result?

Loyal customers who believe in the business and want to share with the world.

Sustainable success naturally follows. That’s why I help organizations excavate their purpose and share it with the world.

Here are 5 examples of profitable and purpose driven businesses:

1.   Tom’s Shoes – Is in the business of changing lives. With every pair of shoes sold, Tom will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. One to one program.

2.   Zappos –  Innovated ways to “Deliver Happiness” not just shoes.  Zappos is a company with a cause to grow a movement that spreads and inspires more happiness in the world. They have aligned their entire organization around one mission: To provide the best customer service possible.  Internally, they call that their WOW philosophy.  One of their untraditional practices includes  surprising 80% of customers with free overnight shipping.

3.   The Container Store – Believes in a culture of putting the employee first. In doing so, employees take better care of customers and ultimately the shareholders experience greater benefit from this approach to business than if the company focuses myopically on the shareholders alone. It’s a departure from what most other companies practice, yet it’s been at the heart of The Container Store’s success since 1978. It’s because of this employee-first culture that FORTUNE magazine has recognized them on its annual list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past 14 years.

4.   Southwest Airlines – CEO Herb Kelleher is committed to creating a culture of caring and fun for people at Southwest. Their purpose is clear, to connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly skies. During training, employees are reminded of why people travel. When baggage handlers are transferring luggage, they know they are doing something meaningful. Those bags perhaps carry a grandmother’s present for her first grandchild or have insulin that belongs to a diabetic. The human being factor is never forgotten.

5.  Patagonia – Their reason for being is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. At Patagonia, a love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them, and to help reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet. They donate their time, services and at least 1% of sales to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups all over the world who work to help reverse the tide.  Staying true to their core values during thirty-plus years in business has helped them create a company their proud to run and work for. And our focus on making the best products possible has brought them success in the marketplace.

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