Would you like to be part of creating a happier and more caring society? If so please join our movement, add your pledge and take action - at home, at school, at work or in your community. Together we can make a difference

I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me



news rss feed rss logo

Startups choosing happiness before profits

15 Jan 2013 | Laurence McCahill

Happy startup school 2

Last year saw a huge surge in startup businesses across the UK. The Startup Britain campaign estimated 460,000 businesses were founded in the last 12 months. With only 25% of all startups continuing business a year after they've launched, the question on every budding entrepreneur's lips is "what's the secret to building a successful company?".

Well, we believe we have the answer...  Zappos are doing it. Southwest Airlines are doing it, and more and more startup businesses are following suit:

They're making happiness their business model. 

Yes, you heard that right.

There's a new breed of entrepreneur choosing happiness before profits. But what's remarkable is how, in making this choice, these companies are becoming highly profitable. By building a strong company culture they've created happy teams, happy customers and a happy balance sheet! Also, working with people you like on a business you believe in, means everyone can work together towards a common, meaningful goal. 

Study after study proves that happy teams are more productive and effective (and hence make more money).  Just think about it for a second. Happy employees are nicer to be around, they like making their customers happy, and therefore work harder to achieve that. Happy customers spend more money, are more loyal to a brand and like spreading the word to their friends and family. It's a marketing plan in itself.

Happy startup school 1

So who's on board the happy bus?

As well as a variety of diverse businesses (Moo.com, Zappos, Innocent Drinks, etc) we're seeing a movement of individuals that want to start businesses firstly as a lifestyle choice, and secondly to make money. Small business owners are choosing to do things differently for various reasons that may include:

  • Spending more time doing what they love.
  • Spending more time with who they love (family, friends)
  • Flexibility to make better life choices (so they can make a difference in the world)
  • The ability in choosing the environment they work in, with people they like.

 Happy startup school 3

How can you take action?

Here at The Happy Startup School HQ we're at the early stages of developing something new, that brings in the leading minds from the following disciplines to help entrepreneurs build profitable businesses through happy teams, customers and partners:

  • Lifestyle design
  • Branding
  • Lean startup
  • Customer experience
  • Company culture

Whilst building our own business and working with dozens of entrepreneurs, we've learnt a little along the way and believe in the following 3-step process to building a happy startup:

1) Define what success looks like to you

If you're like many of the people stuck in a dead-end corporate job you hate, you're probably thinking about what success looks like to you. And it's probably not where you are now. Really spend time thinking about what your end goal is. Try to focus on the life you want, not the numbers you need (that will come). Happiness should be your starting point for success.

2) Define your passion and purpose

At The Happy Startup School, we believe passion trumps any kind of entrepreneurial experience. Defining your passion is what will drive you to succeed, after all if you're not passionate about your business why should anyone else be? This passion will help you define your business purpose and help people rally around your cause. Rather than saving 'the real you' for the margins of life, you'll be living a 7 day weekend! It will create a contagiously happy environment for the people around you, with a positive effect on both productivity and profits.

3) Explore ideas and a business model that works for you

Boldly go where no one has gone before. There are hundreds of challenges yet to solve and you have the exciting opportunity to create a business around your purpose. It's just a matter of testing different ideas and creating some 'planned serendipity'. By exploring different business models and niches around your passion, we firmly believe you'll make your own luck.

If you've read this and you're one of those 460,000 startups founded in the UK last year (or are looking to break out on your own in 2013), remember you're in the driving seat. Take control of your life and help give business a better name. Happy startups means a happier world - something we all believe in.

Happy startup school 4


Laurence McCahill is founder of The Happy Startup School. If you're a UK-based startup and would like to be part of their initial intake then apply here

Happy startup school 5



The Happy Manifesto

Happy Manifesto

Henry Stewart from Happy Ltd explains how to make your organisation a great workplace. Download report 

Happy At Work

Happy at work

Alexander Kjerulf shares 25 things you need to know and do to be happy at work. Download report


Ten Keys to Happier Living

Great Dream 200

See the full set of posters

click to view

Happiness leads to success

Most people think that if they become successful, then they'll be happy.

But recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience show that this formula is backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.

When we're positive, our brains are more motivated, engaged, creative, energetic, resilient, and productive.

click to view

Happiness: a skill you can learn

Western neuroscience has now confirmed what Eastern wisdom has known for a long time: happiness is a skill we can learn.

Research shows that happiness, compassion and kindness are the products of skills that can be learned and enhanced through training, thanks to the neuroplasticity of our brains.

click to view

Happiness is contagious

Our happiness influences the people we know and the people they know.

Research shows that the happiness of a close contact increases the chance of being happy by 15%. The happiness of a 2nd-degree contact (e.g. friend's spouse) by 10% and the happiness of a 3rd-degree contact (e.g. friend of a friend of a friend) by 6%.

Action for Happiness


  • Take time to slow down and look around. When we switch out of autopilot, we're more likely to notice and appreciate… https://t.co/cmJOsEx72G

    yesterday 4:40am

  • The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment ~ Dorothy Nevill

    friday 23 jun 1:28pm

  • Great times to use mindfulness every day: waking up, in the shower, at the table, on the road, bedtime 🙏 https://t.co/jEqEGW9NCA via @thrive

    friday 23 jun 9:59am

  • @compassionplus: 'There has never been a better, or more urgent, time to cultivate compassion'. Wise words from @jonkabatzinn this eveni…

    friday 23 jun 8:38am

  • @LislPietersz: 5 ways to stay mindfit https://t.co/3HN7yIOGbf

    friday 23 jun 8:38am

  • Music has the power to heal and unite. Let's use our voices to promote more understanding, kindness and compassion… https://t.co/pjo0M8NLri

    friday 23 jun 8:30am

  • @lucyswhitehall: What an inspirational event. Mediating with 900+ other folk and @jonkabatzinn (That's him lying down!)

    thursday 22 jun 12:28pm

  • @mummy_mindful: Thank you for an amazing evening with #jonkabatzinn #inspiring ❤️ #ThursdayThoughts

    thursday 22 jun 12:27pm

  • Treat everyone kindly, including yourself https://t.co/5GzrWCwRgD

    thursday 22 jun 12:27pm

  • @weybridgewellbe: Great tips on calming yourself down from the wonderful 💚 https://t.co/jNaoNuXoDp

    thursday 22 jun 12:19pm

follow us on twitter