READING LIST - Purpose vs. Profit

September 23, 2016


To compliment our panel at the Small Business Festival, this month's theme is PURPOSE VS. PROFIT. Although traditionally, profit and purpose have been seen as two opposing sides, the panel agreed that they have a more complex approach to these two elements of business. Jarrod Briffa from Kinfolk and Donkey Wheel House Events said that although it's often presented this way, he has "never seen profit and purpose as opposing sides" and Children's Ground put it succinctly when they said that we "have these western paradigms of purpose vs. profit, but there are other ways of approaching it". 


The phrase "purpose washing" as in "green washing" was introduced when talking about how organisations can make a real difference.


READ: "Purpose Washing" and How To Avoid It


Vetty Duncan from Ethical Property emphasised that when you're running a social enterprise, you are "about more than just money". It's important to understand what your purpose is and why it matters.

READ: Five reasons why your startup’s purpose matters


Bessi Graham from The Difference Incubator suggested that anyone interested in starting a social enterprise would be wise to consider the Golden Circle Approach. The panel was in agreement that it is helpful to focus on why your business exists rather than what product you sell. In one of the earliest and most famous TED talks, Simon Sinek outlines this very concept.  


WATCH: TED: Simon Sinek - "The Golden Circle"


Social enterprise does not have an official definition, so the best way of understanding what it means is to ask the experts. The Big Issue has been running for 20 years and they said that their definition of a social enterprise "includes scaleability, self-sufficiency and competitiveness".


READ: Why Becoming Purpose Driven Is The Path To Success in the 21st Century

The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival says that any social enterprise "must nurture volunteers, deliver non-financial rewards and have fun!"


READ: Making Money While Doing Good 





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