Start with the why and the how will take care of itself. That’s the advice of some business gurus. It is not quite that simple – the ‘how’ of running a business does not just happen by itself; it takes planning, strategy and a lot of work. But you do need to start with the ‘why’ – the higher purpose or ideal behind your business.
In his book and popular TED talk (watch it below), Start With Why, Simon Sinek explains the concept of the Golden Circle in business: The outer circle is the What, the middle circle is the How and the inner circle is the Why.
“Every person, every single organisation on the planet knows what they do, 100 per cent. Some know how they do it whether you call it your differentiating value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP [unique selling proposition] but very, very few people and organisations know why they do what they do.” – Simon Sinek, TED talk, September 2009
And if you are thinking your why is ‘to make money’, think again, says Sinek, who argues that profit is a given result. The why is the purpose, the cause, the belief underpinning your business. It is the reason your business exists; it is why you get out of bed in the morning and it is why anyone should care.
When your mission, cause or purpose is bigger than you and something you are so committed to, in mind, body and soul, you will love that business like it is your baby (baby animal if human children are not your thing!).
And when the days when everything goes wrong and you are the verge of a meltdown or tears and your stress levels go through the roof come around (and they will, as they do in any business), when you come back to your ‘why’, you take a deep breath, feel your mind, body and spirit re-energised and carry on, because you know with all your heart, that this is your calling.
Here are the driving factors or higher purpose behind 5 vegan-run businesses:
“The ‘why’ has always been – and always will be – for the animals. I have been a vegan since 1989. In the beginning, I was very active with different organizations, leafleting, doing outreach, taking part in protests. The business is an extension of this activism,” says Donna Oakes-Jones from Cow Jones Industrials.
Swami Hennessy-Mitchell, owner of Cocoluscious desserts in Australia, dreams of “waking up on a vegan planet” and believes the best way to do this is to manufacture vegan products. “For many people, the hardest things to give up when becoming vegan are chocolate, ice cream and cheese. I’ve covered the chocolate and ice cream, and have plans to do a vegan cheese some day,” she says.
“I want as many people to eat plants as I can, so that’s the big motivator for me to help people, not just with their health but also help animals and help the environment. The more I can get my patients to go at least closer to plant based the better off they are,” says Heather Lounsbury, acupuncturist and healthcare advisor at Live Natural, Live Well.
“We started Veggie Grill because we were passionate about three things: The need for delicious, convenient, healthy food; the opportunity to show people how delicious veggie food could be; and because we became big believers in the benefits of plant-centric eating,” explains co-founder TK Pillan.
“Our main mission is to create delicious vegan foods for people’s health, the health of the planet and the health of the animals; farm animals in particular that are very abused,” says Seth Tibbott, founder of Turtle Island Foods, makers of the renowned Tofurky suite of products.
What’s your ‘why’? Tell us your business’s purpose by leaving a comment below.
Katrina Fox is an award-winning vegan journalist, publisher, speaker, PR consultant and media trainer who teaches vegan business owners, entrepreneurs and change makers how to get free publicity by sharing their stories. Katrina was a regular contributor to Forbes for a year, writing about vegan and plant-based business. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Vegan Business Media, the host of Vegan Business Talk podcast, and the author of Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business. Katrina is also the creator of Vegans in the Limelight: Online PR course for Vegan Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. For more information and to hire Katrina, email her at katrina [at] veganbusinessmedia [dotcom]