Many in the purpose-led space set goals of wanting to do more to create a better world – for sustainability, the animals, or humans.
Then why is it we have not seen many scaling up their businesses?
Right now, with Covid-19, and a lack of staff, we understand there are many day-to-day challenges.
For a moment, let’s float above and see a helicopter view.
Sometimes the business is doing well, but then time and time again, some businesses come back to the same position where they may feel stuck in the business.
Have you ever felt like this?
Do you feel like you are putting out one fire to the next?
Do you have good times and then return to a similar space?
Do you feel like you need to do everything yourself?
These are great questions to reflect on as we dive into the definition of identity and the three elements we have observed that shape our identity and legacy.
While many founders start with great intention, many are torn by their day-to-day actions and inner conversation.
There is a way out.
Being connected to ambitious purpose-led founders and surrounding yourself with values-aligned experts and entrepreneurs allows you to see and go further.
Full Transparency: What I am unpacking here is my journey as well as my observation of founders. I’ll share my insight and where ‘our’ identity sits for Purpose With Profit.
By definition, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, “the fact of being, or feeling that you are, a particular type of person, organisation, etc.; the qualities that make a person, organisation, etc. different from others"
We all have an identity based on culture:
As individuals, we have our identity shaped by physical traits:
• Health condition
Then we also have our identity shaped by the roles we have in life.
Then we have another identity layer shaped by our interest, trauma, or philosophy.
• Sports team
• Computer gamer
And this list can extend to an infinite number of areas.
But let’s bring it back to business.
Many purpose-led entrepreneurs outwardly share the same goals:
Changing our world so that we can live sustainably.
In the plant-based space, it's about increasing plant-based adoption as much as possible.
And yet, some purpose-led founders with great products are creating a significant impact, while others appear to be okay keeping their enterprise relatively small.
First, let’s start with intention.
In the purpose-led space, we all have an intention or aspiration. After all, that’s why we say we started the business, right?
The purpose-led intention may be to alleviate animal suffering, create a more sustainable world or alleviate human suffering.
For something more personal, you may want to share your gift with the world through a product or service.
Then finally, to be even more grounded, we may have a financial requirement to pay our bills and a family to feed.
On the flip side, from needs, we may have profound wants, like a house or to be financially free.
But when we don’t reach our goals, it’s time to dive into the other two elements that determine our identity.
Our day to actions can reveal a lot about what we see for ourselves and our future.
What actions are we taking daily?
Where are we choosing to spend our time?
Who are we watching & listening to?
Which networks are we around?
Now we perfectly appreciate that with Covid-19, every day is a new challenge.
But what happens without Covid-19?
Are you torn between business and family commitments?
Maybe there are friends or community activities as well?
You may prefer looking at the low-value activities in your business.
If you have no time to work ‘on’ the business, the question needs to be asked why?
When working with clients, one of our first steps is identifying where the founder(s) spend their time.
We look at their superpowers.
Where is the founder creating the most value? Do they enjoy it?
And we then look at how to resource the low-value activities – thus freeing up more quality time.
Strategy To Find Your Prioritities
Here’s a practical exercise that can help.
Using your calendar, label your activities into the following categories:
- Strategy & Planning
- Business Development (Sales)
- Development - Process & Systems
- You Time!
- Home Stuff
- Family & Friends
This exercise will give you a greater appreciation of your priorities.
You can review your activities at the end of the week to appreciate where your time is going.
This technique is an application of an advanced management accounting approach called Activity Based Costing – which looks at all the work it takes to create your product or service.
We further extend this to other aspects of life by applying coaching methodology.
Between your Intention and Action is your Direction. This is what the world sees publicly of you.
As business owners, we don’t have time to look at community activities, right?
For some of us in the purpose space, we do. That’s how we become re-charged.
Locally - Seeing a new person move towards plant-based gives me great joy! Commercially, it also helps me keep my finger on the pulse with those moving in the plant-based direction and brands they love or dislike.
Globally – Seeing best practices to accelerate a plant-based world – gives me hope!
But this year, I realised I couldn’t give too much energy to all of these. And have pulled back from #vstars to focus on Purpose With Profit and the essential work with IVU.
There’s a café owner we worked with and started documenting the roles and tasks of each of their staff and time allocation. The exercise revealed that the consultant chef was not contributing to the team. The chef was let go, and the business became more profitable.
How about you?
Are you giving too much of your energy away to other activities?
Or are you focussing too much on one area?
This brings us to the third element.
Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man – Aristotle”
The inner conversation is your self-talk. What are you saying to yourself daily?
Our inner programming is primarily set by the time we are seven.
Why is this? Until the age of seven, children absorb the world around them like a sponge.
If we grew up in a financially difficult space – that’s what we are used to. You may have had other personal challenges or suffered a traumatic experience. All of these set a foundation for life.
Our home life, our upbringing, our schooling, and the company we keep today create patterns for us.
Your true motivation will be where the intersection between Inner Conversation and your Actions.
While outside we talk about wanting to grow our business, our inner voice may say conflicting messages like:
- money is the root of evil
- you don’t want to be big like them (larger businesses)
- getting big means you’ll lose control of your business
- Or you may feel that you’ll have to compromise your values or product?
- Or you may feel you’ll lose more time growing the business?
Does any of this sound familiar?
These thoughts are not necessarily true.
From a business advisory perspective, the more you grow your business, there comes a point where you can get more time back.
If you are concerned with compromising values, there are plenty of examples of purpose-led leaders who have grown their businesses.
When we work with clients, we share the stories of other purpose-led founders like Amanda Walker from Lord of The Fries or Pana from Pana Chocolate –both leaders in their plant-based categories in Australia.
Seth Tibbot from Tofurky and Miyoko from Miyoko’s Creamery have grown, retained their values and lead their respective plant-based categories from a global setting.
If you have a block about money, you are not alone. Many have this due to cultural reasons.
Here’s a new paradigm to consider. What if we treated money like energy being shared?
The more you share your gift with the world, the more you are rewarded in the form of energy (money).
Many of you have unique products. And it’s not accessible to other parts of the city, let alone the state, country or world.
If you genuinely wanted to create a more sustainable world, create less animal suffering, and share your essence, shouldn’t you re-program these inner conversations?
Reflection or introspection is the key that unlocks the door to your Inner Conversation.
This is the intersection between Intention and Inner Conversation, where you’ll find the blockages or negative beliefs.
Having an independent business coach/advisor or peers to support you will help.
They can observe your patterns and be an independent observer. It’s even more critical for multiple founders to have an independent person as a guide by their side.
How Can We Change Our Inner Conversations
Well, first, you must really, and I mean really want to.
Without deep desire, nothing is possible.
Then it’s about being open to seeing new possibilities.
In the SME space, founders look at another founder just ahead of them.
That’s perfectly normal.
But are you seeing ALL the possibilities available to you?
There is a story about Oprah Winfrey and how she grew out of abject poverty and experienced trauma. For Oprah, books were the way out.
Books open us up to new possibilities, uplifting our imagination. Many SME business founders don’t have the time to read books.
Another approach is to use an alter ego. The singer Biance grew up in a church choir environment. When it was time to be on stage, she was shy. She imagined herself being Sasha Fierce, as the singer's sensual, aggressive alter ego.
One of the clients we worked with used to say it was time to put on the “Big Girl Pants” as they were levelling up.
You can go fast alone or go further together – African Proverb
The quickest way to see beyond your horizon is to be around those who have broken through and become a success.
By hearing and seeing their experiences, your mind and expectations stretch. You become open to new possibilities.
This may include meeting and hearing from entrepreneurs who have walked the path.
And hearing from experts who have helped many clients, just like you.
There are many business associations or business clubs at a higher level.
However, none of them is purpose-led. So, what we find is that purpose-led founders rarely engage with these other networks.
Our Journey & Services
From an identity perspective, having experienced a program in Sri Lanka as a child, and being told too much money is not good, I have made lots of money and seen it fade away in the past.
Nonetheless, I have found the right advisors to help along the way to ensure I’m on track.
With our rich insights into the plant-based & purpose-led business, our deep financial acumen, and business methodologies, we know we can add significant value to any business or institution.
For example, I have invested over $60,000 in different programs to bring cutting-edge business approaches to life over the last four years.
I joined Thought Leaders Business School to unpack my knowledge gathered over the last 20 years and communicate our methodology of the 4P’s – Purpose, People and Planet, and Profit. Think of it like a commercial MBA.
Like many of you, we are ahead of the curve.
By being around other successful advisors, they could see our work and guide us to focus on larger businesses for the one-on-one work – we eventually listened.
But we love purpose-led small businesses. And want to see them grow.
So the plan:
- Create a network for plant-based businesses with online events bringing experts and entrepreneurs. Eventually, creating a platform for members to connect 24/7. Join our Facebook Group Here'
- For ambitious plant-based food businesses with 5-10 staff and >$500K revenue, create a group program. Contact us to find out if you qualify. We have a very SPECIAL offer for the pilot Magnify program.
We most recently invested in taking our ‘one on one’ strategic growth plan and changing this to a group program with bite-sized small modules. WHY? So it’s accessible for ambitious businesses on their way
- Work with larger clients >$1.5M -$50M revenue who can invest in growth plans or looking to exit.
As we shared above, our life or business results are far more to do with our Identity than external circumstances.
We can experience and observe our identity through our Intentions, Actions and Inner Conversations that materialise in our life and business results.
We still have the power to change it if we are hungry enough.
To change it, we can either turn to books or surround ourselves with those who see more options for us - unlocking our potential.
Values-aligned entrepreneurs or experts can show new possibilities that are possible.
Growing a business is one of life's most significant personal development journeys.
No one does it alone.
Let’s get out of our way and create a fairer, more sustainable, plant-based world.