Do Good, Make money & Change the World?

As we, at Hatch, started designing our Beyond Good Business conference in May, we had to ask ourselves what is ‘Good Business’? And what would we like the future of business to look like? Through reflection and research, we found three main indicators of good business that are particularly relevant in today’s environment. Good business provides supportive workplaces for employees, values purpose as well as profit and is inclusive and innovative.

Workplace wellbeing is an idea that has gained significant traction and importance over the past few years. Traditional large businesses are facing higher levels of competition from disruptive startups and scale-ups, such as Airbnb, which are known for their collaborative workplace culture among other, non-financial benefits to employees (flexible working, health, travel and holiday benefits).

We’ve also noticed a shift in millennial workplace expectations, which businesses must adapt to if they expect to retain top talent. Generation Y, those born during the 1980s and early 1990s, are increasingly placing more value on a company’s mission and workplace environment than on salary and pension alone. According to the Deloitte 2017 Millennial Survey, 38% of millennials would still leave their jobs within two years if given the choice of working for a purpose-driven business. The survey data showed that businesses that “engage in issues of [social and environmental] concern relevant to millennials are more likely to gain their trust and loyalty.” (Deloitte).

This desire to combine purpose and profit is not a new concept. Even old industrialists realised that more has to be done than just making money.

“Business must run at a profit, else it will die. But when anyone tries to run a business solely for profit, then also the business must die, for it no longer has a reason for existence.” – Henry Ford

Considering the various societal challenges we are currently facing, business should, no – business must do more to address these. Especially larger organisations that control much of what we eat, drink and consume in our daily lives. The 2016 report released by the Advisory Panel to the Mission-led Business Review (MBR) highlighted the importance of purpose in business, claiming current societal challenges are too big for the government or the social sector to tackle without the help of business.

Purpose is not only important to employees, but is also reflected in consumption patterns. Consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for ethical products. Without profit however, business growth stagnates. Making money is a necessary condition for pursuing the higher purpose of the business. It is therefore important that companies find the right balance between profit and purpose to optimise their business.

We already know that innovation and inclusivity are not only key to ‘good business’, they are essential for sustained success. But corporates are newly waking up to the reality that startups are disrupting entire industries from the bottom up. Those that are innovative see them not as a threat, but as potential partners who can add great value to their business.

Corporate-startup collaboration has benefits for both sides. Startups acquire market knowledge and experience, develop economies of scale, gain established networks and brand power, along with other considerable resources. Corporates can develop and test new technologies with less costs and risk when working with startups.

We are enthusiastic about exploring the intersection of passion and profit, and more specifically, how societal challenges can be addressed by collaboration between large corporates and mission driven businesses/ startups.

Our upcoming conference Beyond Good Business 2017 will allow attendees to engage with successful examples of startup-corporate collaboration. We will explore contentious topics to find the right balance between profit and purpose, and our amazing speakers will offer deep insights into national and international best practices on the topic.

This is a conference not only for practitioners, entrepreneurs and innovators but also for those interested in finding out what policies are driving more mission-driven business.

 

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The National Lottery Community Fund are invested in helping civil society organisations to develop their resilience so that they are in a stronger position to pursue their goals.

One way of developing that strength is to build financial resilience through generating unrestricted income.  Social Investment – the offer of repayable finance for organisations delivering a social purpose, from an investor who is looking for both social and financial return – can help.  It is especially useful for civil society organisations who struggle to access high street loans and, for those who are looking for investors who share their values.

Social investment can also be structured so that it is useful for commissioners and civil society organisations who are working together on early action and innovation around complex social issues; it can help by covering costs until preventative outcomes have been achieved, which in turn release funds – that may otherwise be locked up in acute care services – to repay the social investors for the preventative intervention they have financed.Since the Fund’s work in social investment began in 2010 they have commissioned a number of evaluations and research studies.

These include some in-depth, long-term evaluations which will generate a number of reports between now and 2023. You will find the reports here: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/insights/social-investment-publications