Your Impact Manifesto and the Role of Your Business in the World

What do you remember most from your grandparents? Maybe it’s the life lessons they taught you, the tears they wiped after your cousin said something nasty to you, or when they encouraged you to get back up again after you fell. Maybe they taught you to have fun and smell the flowers along the way.

Or maybe, what you remember most, is the inheritance they left you. The money and the stuff.

Hmm… not likely. For most people, what they value most from their grandparents is the impact they made in their lives.

It’s the same in business. Making money is good – you have to put food on the table – but the thing we’re most concerned about is the impact we make in the world and the lives around us.

Impact looks different for everyone because we all have different things we care about. But the best way to make sure you make the impact you want to, is to get clear on what your impact goals are. Then share it, and start living it.

Your impact manifesto is your anchor.

As your business changes and grows over the years, and as you learn more about business and your clients, it’s easy to veer off course – all the ideas you’ve had about the impact you wanted to make long forgotten.

But, if you have a clear Impact Manifesto, it stays in front of mind. You can weigh every business decision against it and choose the option that is most aligned with your impact goals. And if none of those options fit, then you know that you should go back to the drawing board.

 

Creating Your Impact Manifesto

When choosing your impact goals, there are broadly two categories to consider: Immediate impact and legacy impact.

Immediate impact refers to the lives you change today. Here are a few examples:

  • Your employees: Creating a working environment where they feel you value their opinion, and they know they can ask questions or raise concerns.
  • Your customers: Focusing on the difference your product or service makes in the lives of your clients. For instance, an architect or builder may want to create a house for their clients where they can live the lifestyle they desire.
  • Community and environment: Creating a product or service that is better for the environment. For instance, as a coffee shop, you can encourage customers to bring their own reusable coffee cup.

Legacy impact refers to the long-lasting difference you make. Here are a few examples:

  • Employees: Creating a culture of learning where you train and mentor your employees. You can help them develop their career so they can become the best they possibly can.
  • Customers: Being a thought-leader in your industry and championing a different approach. For instance, an architect who designs modular houses from sustainable materials that are cheaper and easier to build. They make it affordable to not only create a quality, dream house, but also do better for the environment.
  • Community and environment: Creating awareness about an important topic and shifting the way people think about something. For instance, depression used to be a taboo topic. Now people can reach out for help without being afraid of what others would say. 

 

A Few Snippets from BWMD’s Impact Manifesto

We believe that your business is a tool to help you create the lifestyle you dream of. We also believe that success looks different to everyone. For some, they want to grow their business quickly and consistently. For others, they want to make just enough money to lead a comfortable life, with lots of time for other things, like spending time with family, travelling, or pursuing a hobby.

That’s why, the first question we ask you, is “what does success look like for you?” And then we help you craft your business on your terms.

That is the legacy we want to leave. What’s yours?

What Does Success Look Like for You?

‘Success’ is such a fuzzy word. Does it mean buckets full of money, fancy titles, public recognition? For most people, their definition of success is quite different. 

 

When it comes to business, we’ve found that for most people, the typical “growing your business” is not an accurate goal or means by which they want to measure their success. Not every business owner wants their business to grow exponentially and make loads of money. 

For some, lifestyle is more important than anything else. Instead of a rapidly-increasing bank account, they’d prefer a well-oiled machine that allows them to have more time to spend with their family, especially those with young kids. Or maybe they want to have more time to travel and just need a business that can sustain that type of lifestyle. 

The more entrepreneurial types may want their business to grow aggressively – from idea-stage to taking the world by storm in a couple of years – before they move on to the next thing. They may want to sell the business after they’ve created a money-making machine, or just live off the dividends while they’re working on their next big idea. 

Others want to create a legacy. Maybe that means creating a product that becomes a household name, or a steady business that their kids can take over one day, or they want to become known as one of the best places to work for. These businesses may want to grow steadily, but not too aggressively. 

For others, impact is their measuring stick: The difference they make in the community, their industry, the environment, or in the lives of others, that’s what drives them. This may be through their involvement in charities, i.e. using their profits to invest in good causes, or through building a social enterprise where impact is ingrained into everything they do. 

There are broadly four success-categories most businesses fall into: 

  • Income
  • Lifestyle
  • Impact
  • Personal achievement

So, to get back to our initial question, what does success look like for you?

Get Clarity on What Success Means to You

To help you avoid cookie-cutter statements that sound good when someone else says it, here are a few questions to ask yourself to figure out what success means to you. 

1. How much money do I want to take home?

2. How much time do I want to spend at work?

3. What do I want to spend my time on?

4. How flexible do I want to be with both my time and the tasks I perform in the business?

5. Do I want to be involved in every day-to-day decision, or do I want to let other (maybe more qualified) people take over the reins?

6. What excites me? Is it…

  • Inventing new products or services?
  • Talking to clients?
  • Negotiating and making deals?
  • Improving systems and getting the best out of employees?
  • Making a difference in others’ lives?
  • Something else?

7. What causes do I feel strongly about?

8. What is the legacy I want to leave behind?

 

Set Your Business on the Right Path

Defining success and personalising it to fit you like a glove is the first – very crucial – step in building a business you love. It becomes easy to not only set goals but also to reach them.

Once you’ve clarified your success-parameters, come chat to us about the next steps and how we can help you to set your business on the right path. And, if you’re torn between different ideals and you need someone to bounce your ideas off, we’d love to be your sounding board.