One of the inspiring things that women have brought to the world of business has been a much more overt examination of purpose and meaning. They will often start their businesses around their personal values, their families, their causes, their desired lifestyles, their passions and their natural gifts.
But many times I’ve seen women entrepreneurs forget that their business is a vehicle that allows them to make money so they can live the life they want and enjoy the work they do. It can certainly help you be your best you, but your business is not you. And by failing to draw a line between who we are and what we do, we can then have other significant challenges – especially as it’s hard to be objective about our own business.
For most men you can forget about higher purpose – its results that count! That’s the nature of the competitive business “game” that men created and enjoy playing. The commercial model is competitive – competing for customers, market share, share of wallet etc. This means win-lose at some level. Someone else – a competitor – must lose for us to win.
A “successful” business must deliver some level of financial return on investment. Whether this aligns with the business owner’s personal values and higher purpose is not that important in the male model. The argument goes “How can you fulfil a higher purpose when the business isn’t making money?”
Most conversation around the male-female difference above assumes the two are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe that.
Pursuit of the almighty dollar in isolation is soul-less. And we’ve seen the trend demanded by increasingly empowered and informed consumers for businesses with authenticity and a social conscious. There is no denying the influence that social media and the internet more generally has had on buying decisions.
And of course a business that doesn’t have a sound strategic model driving it, that doesn’t make some return, won’t be around very long.
There you go – a commercial reason for creating a Higher Purpose Business!