A three-dimensional perspective on business
How purpose drives success
When Entrepreneurs ask how do I make my killer idea (startup) become successful? Most advice contains the key words: market, team, validation, track record, exit strategy, etc. And of course this are all true, but somehow we’ve tried to convince ourselves that any purpose is actually worth pursuing. purpose becomes kind of secondary when defining a venture when in reality within it lies the true potential of a venture.
Yes, there are multiple examples of newly created companies which disrupt business models becoming our new reality, -kind of like an accelerated reality shifting process- but what we can’t forget is that this life-changing concepts started with a greater, transcendental purpose.
Take Google for example, which mission is as follows:
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
A statement that goes beyond providing the most relevant and used search engine in the world. Or Patagonia’s:
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Again, a statement of their pursued purpose that captures the essence of their proposition beyond a clothing brand that has, undoubtedly, redefined success.
So maybe with this two commonly known examples we can agree on how purpose is a key factor for success; but, how can purpose really be defined?
Well, at this point, it really turns into a relative matter, and since we’re not looking to undermine any perspective, we’ll just lay out and explain the one we’ve found the most effective (and enjoyable): it is called the TBL principle.
TBL stands for Triple Bottom Line, and as a term it has been included in Business Management textbooks since the 90's on topics such as sustainable supply chains or corporate social responsibility (CSR) and many others. Essentially, the TBL principle says that for evaluating any given business decision we should have a three-dimensional perspective (running on 3 main factors): people, planet and profit, which, in the long run, should appeal to the sustainability of a business.
But, why is having a purpose and following the TBL principle when starting or running a company relevant?
We’ll explain it as easily as we can:
1.People: Happy people that are cared for and treated as individuals in a collaborative space, work and think better. This equals more productivity and better outputs for any company.
2. Planet: do you really think that reducing your input consumption, reusing materials and recycling goods won’t have a positive impact on your costs? Remember sometimes sustainable inputs such as clean energy can be cheaper in the long run (the Sun will never send a bill).
3. Profit: understanding that profit should not be the end but a means to something greater (accesible information that empowers people, clothing that connects humans to nature) is the first step to redefining Success. From how much profit a business makes to how much a business benefits humankind and profit being one of those benefits and a natural consequence of how much value has been created.
A company can expect great things from the people the company needs the most — The employees! Plus the Company would be taking care of the one it mostly profits from and is everyone’s biggest, kinder and unconditional supplier — The planet! With people and planet genuinely taken into account, The company can start seeing how money — Profit follows.
So now you know, having a shared purpose can really help you drive success that will eventually be redefined and make the TBL principle the rule and not the exception in your daily life in and out of business.
Sharing is the only asset that returns the most when given.