How to build a conscious business in four easy steps

Are you an aspiring conscious entrepreneur? Learn how you can build a conscious business in just four steps.

Have you ever wondered what the term ‘conscious business’ meant? Jo-Ann Hamilton from SecretBirds explains what it means, and four steps to building a conscious business.

What’s a ‘conscious business’?

A conscious business is very simply one that has a clear purpose beyond simply making a profit, and keeps its values front of mind when making business decisions.

A conscious entrepreneur believes that business should be conducted for the good and wider benefit of everyone, not just to make a small group of people wealthy.

To be a conscious entrepreneur you don’t need to run a social enterprise or label yourself a social entrepreneur – you simply need to be aware of how your business operates.

And as the business landscape evolves and businesses are becoming more connected and more visible, it’s becoming more fashionable to be a conscious business. Many successful businesses today are much more aware of how their business operations impact everyone they interact with – from employees to their supply chain, how they’re perceived and who they associate with.

How to build a conscious business in four steps

So how do you build a conscious business? Or ensure your existing business operates in a more conscious manner? It can be achieved in just four simple steps.

1) Have a purpose

Having a passion and ensuring that it is represented throughout your work is the first step to consciousness in business. As Fred Kofman, Philosopher and Vice President of LinkedIn, and author of the book Conscious Business says: “Most important, I learned that happiness and fulfillment do not come from pleasure but from meaning, from the pursuit of a noble purpose.”

So what is your meaning? What’s the purpose of your business? Why does it matter? How is it making a difference, and to whom?

As Simon Sinek, author of the bestseller Start with Why says, “People don’t buy what you do; they by why you do it.” So what’s your ‘why’ beyond making a profit? Probe as deeply as you can to become as knowledgeable as you can about why you do what you do. Once you understand why you are on your way to becoming a better leader.

2) Practice value-based leadership

As a leader in your business you will be expected to lead based on your values. These are shaped by your purpose and your environment, which includes everything from your upbringing to your religion, ethnicity and education.

Do personal values and business values differ? This is another question that you will have to ask yourself as you build a conscious business.

As a value-based leader you will aim to inspire, motivate and encourage based on your core values. So it’s important that you reflect on what matters to you – what you stand for. This isn’t just about having a universal moral compass, but having a sense of right and wrong based on your own values.

With this foundation you can now engage with all your stakeholders with ease, knowing you can make value-based decisions with confidence.

3) Consider your stakeholders

To run a conscious business you need to consider all its stakeholders – from your employees and investors to third tiers in your supply chain.

You will need to treat them in line with your values, and in alignment with your purpose. But more than that. You’ll need to bear in mind their purpose and values, and ensure that they have a voice or opinion in how business is conducted, because ultimately they all matter.

So consider all the challenges you face with your stakeholders, and work to improve them. Ensure that everyone feels empowered and that their needs are considered and, where possible, met.

4) Create the culture

A business’ culture is demonstrated by the way it behaves. And a conscious business culture actively promotes learning and development, and practises accountability and responsibility.

Too many businesses overlook the importance of these attributes, leading to the growth of toxic cultures, which in turn demoralise their employees. In the long run, a conscious culture will positively affects your bottom line, as there is cohesion both internally and externally and everyone learns and grows together.

Build a business that is greater than you

Every business needs to make a profit – if not they wouldn’t survive long! But to a conscious entrepreneur, building a business is about so much more than making money. They want to achieve something much greater than themselves.

It’s a movement that, right now, is gaining momentum, with UK-based networks such as Conscious Lab and Conscious Business UK working towards exploring different ways of doing business.

So if you believe your business is driven by a need to fix a problem, and that success is bigger than just revenue, perhaps the path of consciousness is right for you.

Jo-Ann A Hamilton, is the founder of SecretBirds, an enterprise, which encourages, supports and empowers girls and women through entrepreneurship.