What is a Social Purpose Business?
A social purpose business is a company that makes and offers a product or service in order to make the world a better place. Its sole reason for doing business is to create positive outcomes in our society. These companies are created believing that they can be the change the world needs, inspire a movement and ultimately, change the world.
Making a profit is not their main reason for being. Similar to a person’s higher calling in life, a social purpose business has a unique, higher purpose for why it exists in the marketplace. Just like a human living to achieve life fulfillment, it satisfies the needs of others. It is humanistic in nature.
As a social purpose business thrives, so do the people, communities and society at large it targets. It generates true value and inspires higher meaning for everyone involved. Most often seen in larger corporations, their higher social purpose aligns with their corporate social responsibilities (CSR).
What is corporate social responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) as defined on Investopedia’s website is a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable — to itself, its stakeholders, and the general public.
When you come across a company that includes CSR initiatives on their website, you may automatically think of an ethical, trustworthy business. Ethical businesses consider the social, economic and environmental impact they have on our society. Examples including human rights, labor rights, environmental responsibility and anti-corruption all have an impact on our way of life.
The company’s mission and purpose usually aligns with the why and the how they do business.
The people behind a social purpose business
When you think about it, the foundation of a social purpose business really stems from the person(s) who has created the business. Often, this may relate to satisfying their own human needs. They’re in it to make a difference. It’s part of their personal higher calling.
Social entrepreneurs, business owners, sustainability officers, and employees alike are the real do gooders. Their life’s purpose serves as an inspiration to start up purpose-driven companies and establish CSR initiatives. They understand that the secret to living is giving. As Tony Robbins explains of our 6 basic needs, contribution and creating meaning is what life is really about. Who you become and what you contribute is a human need that can make us happy in the long term.
It takes a conscious mindset to achieve something that makes a positive, purposeful impact on people and our planet. When one thinks about how to save our planet or how to help others in desperate need, what that person really is doing is offering their very best. They believe that it is part of their journey in reaching their full-potential in life. We humans have an inborn desire to be self-actualized, that is, to be all that we can be. Realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences are all motivational achievements that help us strive to achieve our self-actualization needs.
When we do our best, we naturally feel good about it.
Human life will never be understood unless its highest aspirations are taken into account. Growth, self-actualization, the striving toward health, the quest for identity and autonomy, the yearning for excellence (and other ways of phrasing the striving “upward”) must by now be accepted beyond question as a widespread and perhaps universal human tendency …
– Abraham Maslow
As seen in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, fulfilling our basic human needs first then moving up the pyramid gives us the chance to reach maximum psychological health. After satisfying our physiological and safety needs, we must fulfill our belonging and love needs. As most social enterprises do, creating a sense of community is necessary. Belonging to that community helps to serve that human need.
Many social enterprises flourish by building up and strengthening communities. Whether it be inspiring a community of climate change advocates or school age children living in poverty-stricken areas, their value in forging communities helps to satisfy one’s human needs.
If it’s good for business, it’s good for the soul
Earning profits and improving society while satisfying stakeholders is what all great social purpose-driven businesses do best. However, it’s a person’s heart and soul that drives the engine for good carrying value to the world.
Their innate spirit and inspiration attracts other conscious individuals who share similar values. They look for partners who align with their commitment to their higher purpose and collaborate together to achieve them.
It’s a win-win-win for all stakeholders involved when the goals of obtaining positive social outcomes are achieved.
Striving for excellence and self-fulfillment satisfies our human needs. And in the end, this can make one happy and helps to satisfy one’s soul.
Do you run a social enterprise? Do you feel yourself achieving personal growth and self-fulfillment?