The myth of compromising profit for purpose

Branding Design

Matching purpose with profit is a challenge. Opening the dialogue and sharing perspectives on what it means to refine your expertise and advocate your cause, whilst turning a profit, calls for a series of questions that create a space for reflection and an opportunity for iteration.

Question yourself

What do the bare bones of your business look like? Which arm reaches into purpose and impact, and which leg has a firm footing in economic stability? Listening to where the heart of your business is and what it’s driven by is a great first step in recognising where your expertise lies. In stripping your company back and recognising what remains provides you with a list attributes, attitudes, and approaches that accurately reflect the essence of your business.

Positioning yourself as a company with a unique perspective pays dividends - recognising your niche adds value to your outlook, and pound signs to your invoice.

What problem are you solving?

Purposeful businesses are problem solvers. Finding efficient and effective solutions that anticipate the questions that haven’t yet been articulated is the mission of an agile business. Navigating an industry saturated with buzzwords and empty promises calls for a perceptive approach to finding resolutions, a system of thought that leads to a process of refinement. What problem are you solving? And what is your expertise?

From a design perspective, our method is scientific. We assume we are wrong until proven right, taking on the feedback and advice from our colleagues and collaborators until we iterate a solution based on collective decisions. Driftime® employs a dynamic approach that takes the community into account, prioritising people and planet in tandem with profit. The problems we solve are ones with an ethical perspective, a sustainable outlook, and a long-term solution that doesn’t happen overnight.

Take your time

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt, it would be that time is the secret ingredient. Asking the all important question of how we can offer maximum impact to a project that also turns a healthy profit isn’t answered with a quick fix. A combination of patience and perseverance helps to establish a culture of internal reflection - what have we done? And what actions can we take to improve? Having a reliable history and a good reputation doesn’t come easily. Developing productive professional relationships with clients off the back of previous work takes time - there are no shortcuts to delivering outstanding work with measurable results in impact.

"Positioning yourself as a company with a unique perspective pays dividends"

 

Pro-bono isn’t the enemy

It’s time to reposition our outlook on free work. Doing pro-bono work for a low (or no) budget can arm you with the experience you need in the field you want to work in. Compromising on your fees in the initial phases of a business or start-up feels counterintuitive - we are told that good business is built on profit, but this doesn’t have to be the case. In working with meaningful businesses with purpose, you can turn your experience into expertise. And in developing your craft and demonstrating your credibility, you can level up your business into an authority, and warrant an increase in your fees.

Giving small businesses access to your knowledge and skills can be invaluable to scaling up their vision, all whilst building up your experience in preparation for the big ticket clients. It’s a process that serves both parties - refine your niche, and improve your engagement whilst empowering an impact driven business that deserves high quality input, at a price that feels fair and just.

Where’s the proof?

Advocating your position can come in many forms. We document our work through collateral content, sending out a regular newsletter with both our thoughts and findings, whilst other businesses utilise video, or appear on panels and podcasts. Archiving your achievements publicly can open up new avenues of engagement and interaction with a clear aim - to demonstrate your expertise, and connect with like-minded people. Organic communication can help to develop a direct and dependable relationship with clients and collaborators alike. Make it easy for them to trust you.

Rinse and repeat

Running a purpose driven business that still turns a healthy profit is entirely feasible, and, crucially, is in the best interest of people and the planet. Taking the time to develop your specific skills, documenting your achievements, and committing wholeheartedly to your cause can only ever add to your expertise, and, in the long run, will help to line your pockets in a reasonable way.

Budget for reflection, development, and documentation. Invest in pro-bono work, and have confidence in your underlying motivations. More often than not, our drive is rooted in a personal conviction for responsibility and ownership, and the betterment of ourselves, our community and our planet. Lean into your intuition, and trust the process.