In times of panic, it can seem like every aspect of your business identity is up in the air. As the economy retracts and customers dwindle, more and more leaders will be tempted to move into new markets in search of opportunities — a choice that could prove disastrous for some.
As your business weathers this storm, don’t feel the need to start changing the rules of the game now. Remember what your goal was when you got into your industry to begin with, and run with that. Making investments that complement your company’s mission is a surefire way to keep things running smoothly well into the future.
1. It’s better for the world
While the focus of most leaders starts and ends with their business, the best are capable of seeing the whole picture themselves. The most influential and lasting companies are those with visions that extend beyond revenue and profit margins.
If you want your company to make it through this difficult moment, you need to be focused on doing good for more than just your shareholders.
Take opportunity platform Nu Skin, for example. It was founded in order to offer sustainable skincare products at affordable prices to consumers everywhere, and last year it invested in a suite of controlled environment agriculture technologies in order to ensure the sustainability of its products for years to come. “This is the natural evolution in our commitment to innovate where we intend to infuse the best of nature, the latest in science and the most advanced technology into pure, safe and sustainable products,” says Nu Skin CEO Rich Wood.
That attitude is the same that should be found throughout all business investments — align with your existing mission, improve the responsibility of your company, and promote the well-being of others, all at the same time.
2. Customers will respond
In 2020, nothing in business can be secret anymore. Companies can hardly plan a press release before consumers learn what’s going on, and consumers are very picky these days. According to a survey from marketing firms Markstein and Certus Insights, nearly half of consumers pay close attention to a brand’s efforts to be socially and environmentally responsible before they buy their products. This means companies won’t be the only ones to know if they’re sticking to the mission.
One of the best examples of this is Toms, a shoe company offering a famous promise that for every pair of Toms shoes bought, a pair is donated to someone in need. This simple measure has come to define Toms’ brand identity and secure its place in the minds of millions of consumers.
“When a customer purchases an item, we try to focus on the opportunity for them – that they really are changing the world,” said Zita Cassizzi, then chief digital officer, in 2014. This helps make its customers feel like active participants in the company’s social mission. If you align your investments with your mission just right, you’ll attract the attention of customers in ways traditional marketing simply cannot accomplish.
3. Employees can get on board
A 2016 survey from Cone Communications suggested that 75% of millennials would accept reduced pay if it meant working for a business that lived up to its socially responsible mission. As millennials continue to make up a larger portion of the workforce, businesses will need to actively pursue their goals if they’re hoping to attract their attention.
Weaving your company’s mission throughout every aspect of your business can also affect your workforce in positive ways. Peer-coaching firm Imperative found that employees who are purpose-driven are 54% more likely to spend five-plus years with their employer and 30% more likely to be high performers than other employees. If you’re looking for ways to give your team something to rally around now, you’ve got no better place to turn than your mission.
4. It will make you money
In the minds of many, there’s a trade-off between maintaining a mission-focused business and a profit-focused one. However, the fact of the matter is that it’s entirely possible to have both. The consultants at IO Sustainability found that companies intent on fulfilling their missions of social responsibility boosted sales by up to 20% and share prices by 6%, meaning that mission-aligned investments are also financially aligned.
Morningstar has found that sustainable investment opportunities regularly outperform the average, and any investment that squares well with your business’s mission is bound to produce as much social good as it does profit. Any leader holding back on fully embracing their company mission because of financial fears needs to know that purposeful investing is the foundation of a healthy portfolio.
It’s easy to come up with a mission but much harder to follow it. As your business grows and evolves, be sure to keep your original vision in mind — the right investments in the right places can change your company forever.
Rashan Dixon is a senior business systems analyst at Microsoft, entrepreneur and a writer for various business publications.