Purpose-Led Businesses Are More Successful … Are You Leading with Your WHY?

By Chris Olsen

I was recently among 200 women in business who attended the BWC Annual Forum at The Machine Shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In case you missed it, the theme of the event was purpose, and the speakers did a wonderful job demonstrating the power of purpose in business. While the speakers were all amazing, I’m a data person, so I especially appreciated the numbers that the BWC’s CEO, Lani Basa, shared in her talk about the success rate of purpose-led companies.

The key takeaway: Values-based organizations experience better business outcomes across the board—with employees, with customers and with shareholders. Here’s some recent data on the subject from EY:

  • Employees of purpose-led organizations were 1.4x more engaged, 1.7x more satisfied and 3x more likely to stay.
  • 89% of customers believed a purpose-driven company would deliver the highest-quality products/services, 72% would recommend a company with a purpose and 84% made cause-related purchases at least annually.
  • Values-based companies yielded 10x greater return on investment for shareholders and brands connected to human wellbeing outperformed the stock market by 120%.

Now more than ever, people are putting their money where their hearts are. It’s not enough for companies to be neutral; they must stand for something. And as the founder of your business, it all begins with you. You decide the values that ultimately drive your company.

The event’s keynote speaker Nancy Lyons, founder of Clockwork, is the perfect example of this. Her Minneapolis-based tech and interactive design company is rooted firmly in what is important to her—diversity, inclusion and simply being nice to one another. Clockwork has received stacks of best workplace awards that demonstrate how leading with purpose leads to success in business.

Dozens of the women I connected with at the conference were inspired to lead with purpose and share their WHY with stakeholders. When I asked them to describe their purpose, many admitted that that they hadn’t had time to fully define it. Some were fairly clear on their WHY but hadn’t figured out how to articulate it on their website and in other marketing materials. Fortunately, there are some great resources available out there to help, like Simon Sinek’s book “Find Your Why” (which conference-goers received in their swag bag).

My Founder Story also supports and empowers female founders like you in developing and sharing your WHY by helping you clarify the connection between your personal experiences and values, and how you are making a difference in the lives of others and in the world as an entrepreneur. Once you’ve fully discovered your WHY, we guide you through the process of sharing your WHY in a Whyography—a powerful short story designed to articulate and elevate your purpose.

About the author: Chris Olsen is an author and broadcast media maven turned communications consultant. Through her work as a consultant, Chris realized her WHY—to support women-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She created My Founder Story as a platform for doing so.

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