“Never has there been a more exciting time for all of us to explore this next great frontier where the boundaries between work and higher purpose are merging into one, where doing good really is good for business.” – Sir Richard Branson
We are now in an interesting era where a part of our world (and I hope you are in it) is starting to flip its priorities; it’s setting new priorities that benefit all and that add greater meaning to our existence. We are starting to move from the profit-driven world to the new ‘meaning-driven’ world. And what this means for businesses is that success no longer comes by focusing on maximising profits alone. Businesses that succeed in a true sense today are those that are centred on purpose and on creating a real impact.
Interestingly, this seems to have become common knowledge, and our survey of 340 business owners revealed that 7 out of 10 of businesses believe doing good increases their connection with their customers; half of them recognise it would differentiate their business and build a strong fan base, and over a third of the businesses see that doing good increases the engagement of their team.
Let’s take a look at each of the benefits that doing good brings to your business.
Creating a Lasting Connection with Your Customers
Based on a study in the UK, 82% of customers are positively affected by a company’s engagement in philanthropic actions. And when customers feel good about the brand, they tend to stick with it for a long time.
The study by Edelman and Young & Rubicam also reveals that 87% of UK consumers expect businesses to care about their impact on the society as much as they care about their own businesses, and more than 70% of them intentionally purchase from businesses whose perspectives are similar to their own.
Knowing the importance of doing good, many businesses are looking for innovative ways to share their giving stories with their customers to deepen the sense of connection. Some creative ways include giving out “Thank you” certificates with every purchase or sending an email with the details of the causes they contributed to. Still, others create a dedicated page on their website explaining how they give locally and globally. Letting your customers know they are making a difference to someone else’s life not only puts a smile on their face but also keeps them coming back for more.
Differentiating Your Business and Growing A Base of Fans and Advocates
In Singapore where B1G1 is based, there are 700,000 small businesses. On top of that, an estimated 50,000 start-ups are birthed every year! Chances are that you operate in a much larger market and have a long list of competitors who do many similar things as your business. Doing good is a great way to stand out in your industry and to build a loyal base of fans and advocates.
In fact, a June 2018 survey done in the US revealed that two-thirds of respondents would be more willing to forgive companies that do good when they make an honest mistake, as well as defend it in the face of public criticism. They would also be more inclined to share positive stories about these companies with their family and friends, enhancing the business’ public image and exposure.
Building a Meaningful Organisational Culture
When a business has a compelling purpose, its employees feel that they are making a meaningful impact and that they are doing something good in the world. It creates pride. It creates connection. And it’s one of the biggest motivators for them. Knowing their everyday work contributes to making the world a better place also heightens their sense of belonging to the company.
A research project led by Verizon and the Campbell Soup Company quantified the benefits to the business in this way: doing good reduces a company’s team turnover rate by up to 50%, increases its productivity by up to 13%, and boosts employee engagement and satisfaction by up to 7.5%.
What the Numbers Say (And Don’t)
There are already countless studies that show how doing good improves a business’ key metrics – even in terms of the price premium that customers are willing to pay, or the increased valuation of a company due to the goodwill it garnered with its stakeholders. Instead of competing by price, businesses today can in some sense compete by purpose.
Yet, what many may not realise is that doing good does much more than improving the bottom line. There are some things that are often overlooked. Here are the 2 main things we have personally learnt about why doing good is good for business:
You Get Access to a Powerful Network of Like-minded Businesses
Supporting causes and discovering ways to create a community through giving can also bring businesses together. For example, the B Corp movement attracted many large and small businesses alike with the desire to hold themselves accountable to society and global standards in responsible and ethical practices. It has created a dynamic community of businesses encouraging each other to do better, for themselves and for the world.
Similarly, B1G1 currently works with over 2,500 businesses, all having one thing in common: being a purpose-driven, impactful organisation. Through this mutual understanding, our members love to share their thoughts (on giving and businesses likewise) with each other – often leading to endless opportunities of networking and participating in collaborations. Among the B1G1 Businesses for Good, we see a generosity that is difficult to imagine in the traditional business world, and we are so grateful for that.
You Add Purpose to Your Business and Your Life
As Sir Richard Branson so eloquently puts it:
“How to treat our world is a reflection of our humanity, our intelligence, our conscience and ultimately, our very survival. The way in which we co-exist with our natural environment, strengthen fragile societies, and support vulnerable populations is the very foundation of a sustainable future – business or otherwise.”
At the end of the day, when you start doing good in your business, you will realise that it is not simply an add-on or an extra item on your business’ to-do list – instead, it shifts the spirit of your business, everything you do, and ultimately your life too.
To summarise it in one line: doing good is good for business because it’s good for YOU, the business owner and the most valuable asset to the business.
Taking the First Step
When we get to this point, many business owners often get really excited about finding ways to incorporate giving and goodness into their business but are unsure or even fearful about how to implement it effectively and sustainably.
If you are wondering how to add a greater sense of purpose to your business, we’ve curated the Impact Guide especially for you. In this guide, you will get practical tips – complete with examples – of how you can overcome the common challenges in incorporating effective giving into your business and get started right away.
You’ll love it and learn lots from it. Get it here.