Startups choosing happiness before profits
15 Jan 2013 | Laurence McCahill
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
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.
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.
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
- Lifestyle design
- 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
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
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.
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