By Jeff Klein
In many respects, it is easier and more natural for small businesses than for big ones to practice Conscious Capitalism®. Most people start their business with a sense of passion and purpose. Yes, they want independence and an income, but they are also motivated to bring something to life that captures their imagination.
To be successful and sustainable, small businesses must be intimately connected to their customers, employees, vendors and other stakeholders. If they don’t serve their customers or clients well and deliver value to them, they will lose them. The same will happen if they don’t treat their employees, vendors, and, if they have them, investors well and create value for them. While a big company might be able to lose some of their customers, employees and others, the impact can be proportionately higher for a small company.
This sense of purpose and creating value for all of your stakeholders is the foundation of Conscious Capitalism. While entrepreneurs and small business owners may think “Conscious Capitalism is a luxury for established, successful companies,” small businesses, and especially startups and fast-growing companies can’t afford not to practice Conscious Capitalism, because in the long term companies that have the glue of human trust and care are the ones that survive and flourish.
A Conscious Business takes better care of the people in it. You pay attention to your own and other people’s well-being. One of the greatest dangers for small businesses, start-ups and fast-growing small businesses is burnout. People work too hard without taking care of themselves, and their culture does not support taking care of yourself or of others.
In a Conscious Business, people are typically encouraged to take better care of themselves and each other, which makes the company more sustainable. Of course you have to address the other elements of your business — such as creating great products or services, and managing your resources responsibly and effectively — but all other things being equal, embracing Conscious Capitalism will provide any company — new, small, medium or large — a competitive advantage over those that don’t and will generally deliver greater resilience, sustainability and overall success.
A few tips for cultivating a Conscious Business and practicing Conscious Capitalism:
- Know your purpose and let it guide you
- Focus on creating value for all of your stakeholders.
- Lead with awareness, focusing on your company’s purpose and on creating value for your stakeholders. Look for opportunities for win-win-win solutions, rather than looking for trade-offs.
- Care for yourself and others and cultivate a culture of respect, care and trust.
Relationships based on care, trust and respect can weather difficult passages and sustain over time, and a Conscious Culture provides an energetic glue that binds your team and stakeholders together to advance your purpose and energize your business.
If you stay small, you and the people around you will be happier and healthier. If you grow, you will have a strong core a to sustain growth and development over a long time and the resilience to respond to changing circumstances.
To learn more about Conscious Capitalism, participate in Conscious Capitalism 2013, April 5th and 6th, in San Francisco.
Jeff Klein authored the newly released book It’s Just Good Business: The Emergence of Conscious Capitalism & the Practice of Working for Good – a concise introduction to Conscious Capitalism designed to be read in under 30 minutes. He is a trustee and executive team member of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and producer of Conscious Capitalism 2013 and the 2013 Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit. For more information, visit http://workingforgood.com and http://consciouscapitalism.org, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.