The easiest way to align purpose and profit is to pick a business model that simultaneously rewards both. In other words, the greater your impact the more money you make. And the more money you make, the greater your impact. This is the Holy Grail of impact enterprises.
From my interviews with impact enterprises, here are some ways in which a business model can support both purpose and profit.
· Pick a product/service that does good. In this business model, the product or service is designed specifically for a world-changing impact.
o Young Rembrandts provides children’s art classes in after school programs.
o EcoPlanet Bamboo provides a timber substitute that addresses deforestation and climate change.
o Pizzo & Associates restores the landscape to its natural state.
o Gay TV on the Go is a web-based TV station geared towards showing positive examples of LGBTQ people.
· Pick clients who change the world. The product or service is not uniquely different, but the clients and service providers are. The client mix may include regular clients. This model seems to be more prevalent among service companies rather than product firms.
o MightyBytes is a full-service creative firm for “conscious companies.”
o CompassX Strategy is a brand strategy firm for “passionate companies.”
o Rosen Convergence helps “purpose driven” companies develop self-sustaining marketing campaigns.
o Panzanzee is a “social enterprise” incubator.
o Ideaction Corps connects inspiring ideas for change to “passionate talent” that can execute.
· Utilize marketing opportunities for secondary beneficiaries. The primary beneficiaries may not be able to pay the full cost of the product or service. Secondary beneficiaries who want the positive marketing or advertising pay for the exposure. (Google or Facebook also do this.)
o New Futuro helps Latinos navigate the road to college.
o Eatiply feeds the world one meal at a time, by providing one free meal for each meal eaten at a participating restaurant.
I suspect that this is not a comprehensive list of business models that align purpose and profit. Please contact me directly if you know of other business models that also successfully align purpose and profit.