In the last 2 years I have come across phrases and discussions about building a conscious business and often wondered about why that name arises in the first place. At first, it met with some humour on my part as I wondered what an unconscious business looked like?

Jokes aside it took me down a path of reflection about what I have experienced and found difficult at times in business, and how business should be, including where business has lost its way.

Certainly if you take a look at the economy in recent years, there are signs that the so-called traditional systems are showing signs of old structures with banking crises in Greece, Cyprus and Northern Rock [UK]

The attempted decentralisation of industries by Uber and Airbnb in transport and accommodation respectively further reflect that shift, as does the decentralisation of money via cryptocurrency and the blockchain.

However this is not just about the quest for autonomy, but an attempt to come up with different solutions that improve people’s lives, by giving them fairer and reasonable options, minus the bureaucracy that swallows up so much money

Traditional taught marketing practices appear to be labouring in bearing fruit and profits for so many. They are in a sea of businesses fighting for the attention of their prospects, needing to stand out in a meaningful and impactful way. Accompanying this is a feeling of confusion and clarity about the way forward.

The old adage that you need 7 marketing messages to ‘get through’ to potential prospects no longer works of its own accord due to the low level of ‘know’, like and trust’ that has developed over time.

But why is this so? I get that not everybody in business would claim to be a visionary or a movement maker. There are a lot of people who simply want to run a profitable business, pay their bills and look after their family. Everything else is a bonus or luxury item. And that is fine as far as it goes.

But it does not explain the decline of the trust factor. And in spite of internet technology making communication and global reach so much easier, trust is at an all-time low.

Slick marketing practices and tactics are more commonplace as companies try to salvage or maintain a competitive edge.

When I have experiences with poor customer service such as I did this week while dealing with domestic bill enquiries it seems to underline something fundamental for me that is commonly observed.

It appears that in the quest to achieve profitability certain values go by the wayside and many businesses forget the true purpose of business which is to solve a real problem or significantly improve a situation through product and service that is win-win for customer and company. An important part of that process is how businesses serve their customers and humanity.

It appears that many businesses are more concerned about selling their product as opposed to serving their prospects in the true sense through their product or service offering.

Raising the standard of living and the lives of people in the process should be core and is often lost in the quest for sales and profitability. It seems to be about how much money has been made rather than how people are served for the betterment of society.

Not long ago Forbes made a chilling prediction those people who ignore these things and fail to integrate serving humanity and raising lives into their practice may find themselves out of business in the next 7 years.

I had the privilege of co-hosting the strategic philanthropy global summit last year where Steve Farrell of Humanity’s Team was a guest speaker. Steve has been hugely successful as a business entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, and now leading a movement of Conscious Business Leaders to restore the true heart and soul of business.

He really spoke to the heart of the problems in business and expands on where many of us have been ‘unconscious’ in our business practice and how to change that to serve humanity, be fulfilled and highly profitable at the same time.

Steve has put some video discussions together where he shares without apology:-

  • Why our legacy of unconscious capitalism with single-bottom-line profit at any cost is leading us to eventual destruction—personally and planetarily.
  • How our collective “lifting of consciousness” is the ultimate disrupter that will lead us out of greed and onto a higher plane of courage, compassion and civility.
  • The distinction between an unconscious and conscious business and the 4 “Ps” that define of the latter.
  • Why companies like Tesla, Tom’s Shoes and others are paving solid ground towards generative, servant-based and consciously innovative ways of doing business.
  • Why leadership from within is the only true way to lead and create real prosperity.
  • Where you fit into all of this.

If you feel moved to take tangible steps to forge a conscious path for yourself and your life’s work, and help bring integrity and compassion into business, listen to what he and his team have to say here in this series of videos.

Click below for more

Conscious Business Training Videos

Anita Narayan

Richard Branson once said ‘if you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives you shouldn’t be in business -it’s that simple’

Many would agree with this perspective and yet it may be one that divides professionals in business at some level. The majority would agree that their product or service needs to tackle and resolve a problem that people are seeking a solution to. However, it’s how professionals operate that starts to expose some conflicts.

There are differing motivations and forms of approach out there in the business world. For some, they merely want to have the freedom to run their business successfully enough to pay the bills and have enough profit to service a lifestyle that looks after family beyond mere survival. Others want to make a boatload of money and be hugely successful, with a more lavish lifestyle.

Then there are those who are more purpose driven in that they care about humanity and the wider world and really seek to align their business with meeting those needs so the world can be a truly better place at all levels of operation.
Many of us have witnessed the good, the bad and the indifferent in business. Even good intentions in business practice can derail under pressure such as cash flow if left unchecked.

What has become more evident is that the practice of launching a product or service out there, followed by aggressive marketing and persuasion tactics to make the customer buy, is becoming less successful and more redundant. We cannot simply operate a business in a way that makes the customer fit our product.

The return to a more socially conscious approach to business is gaining traction and reaping lasting rewards. Forbes has recently warned that businesses who ignore a certain trend will not last beyond the next 4-7 years. So it would appear that critical re-evaluation is required to make sure we are truly serving those who seek our solution, and not the other way round.

Forbes was alluding to something that can be described as strategic philanthropy – combining making money through doing good. Of course this has many different expressions.

I recall when I first came across this expression in my mastermind group I was unclear as to its meaning. However, since childhood, I had been clear about wanting to deploy my gifts and talents in a way that could help humanity on a larger scale, particularly those who were stuck in survival issues.

But beyond spontaneous acts of giving and small projects along the way, I struggled to weave them both together for so many years, due to low income.

The idea of working simply to have a decent lifestyle and acquire material things for my own pleasure always felt short of appealing. People mattered to me more than things, but I did dream about having abundant resources so that I could contribute to humanity in a big way.

However as much as I got into structured giving such as sponsoring a child in Kenya and the Philippines for a few years, along with spontaneous acts of giving, I struggled with the money side of things, largely due to low income. I was by some descriptions a broke philanthropist.

My money story and struggles meant that there was always this glass ceiling in my mind just above my head, and for many years I felt trapped by that.It restricted my capacity to give.

I remember a few years ago listening to Angelina Jolie’s acceptance speech when given a humanitarian award. She spoke of two things – gratitude and pain. Her gratitude was that she considered herself fortunate to have grown up in an environment where she could discover and develop her gifts and talents; at the same time to use the resulting wealth to support her philanthropic desires, which go beyond merely giving money to support causes.

Her pain was that somewhere across the globe was a woman with similar gifts and talents, except that she lived in a refugee camp, with no voice to her name or roof over her head; for whom each day was about working out how to stay alive and keep her children alive.

Her pain was that somewhere across the globe was a woman with similar gifts and talents, except that she lived in a refugee camp, with no voice to her name or roof over her head; for whom each day was about working out how to stay alive and keep her children alive.

When I heard this it made me cry because it spoke to a similar gratitude and pain that had been an undercurrent within me for so many years. However, my cultural and educational upbringing along with the many messages coming out of the church I attended at the time, such as money being the root of evil, rendered me in a state of constant conflict. Beyond being broke I felt that my dream was broken. Maybe you can relate.

But the dream never left me, and as I look back over the last 10 years I can see recall the turning point and processes that have brought me to where I am now. It has been fascinating to observe how I managed to evolve and close that gap significantly.

Like many business owners, I got stuck in a time for money trap with my coaching services, which limited the delivery of value, and whilst I have since rebranded, the real journey that prefaced this was so much deeper, and one of personal transformation based on acknowledging and building around core values in a deeper way.

Out of that, I have now birthed my own inspirational book Breaking Free. I also find myself co-hosting this year’s Strategic Philanthropy Global Summit with Tom Matzen, speaking with highly successful entrepreneurs who have learned to combine doing good with making money at the same time.

There were no coincidences in how this opportunity came to me. Furthermore, it has provided another platform from which to evaluate how I develop, shape and direct strategic philanthropy in my own business.

If you want a context to re-evaluate your business given what Forbes has said, please why not join us at The Strategic Philanthropy Global Summit. Come and get inspired, connect and collaborate. It is free to register and listen in live.

The recordings will be available for sale thereafter, with half the gross proceeds going to KIVA microloans. You can see all the details here for the event which kicks off on Tuesday 13th June 2017. See you there?

Anita Narayan