So you want to start a business that really changes the world, welcome to the club. Many of us want to leave a mark on the universe, that metaphorical dent in the universe that Steve Jobs so talked about. From the humble programmer who is simply building a mobile app to the team of MBA’s and professors pioneering new technology we would all like to leave this world saying we have left a lasting and evident impact on the world.
But it’s not going to be easy my dear friend- trust me. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by messages and advertisements of companies and brands vying for our attention, wanting to have every single dollar that we make so it’s important that you separate yourself from the club. So how do you do that? My first piece of advice is not to go it alone. It can be very tempting to go it alone, after all if you go it alone and it all works out, you are the hero right? The lone ranger who went out into the world to change it and did-solely by his own craft. After all did not The One for One Maverick Blake Mycoskie do exactly that, went into the world and built Toms into a company that has donated shoes to millions of people around the world.. Sorry to burst your bubble but no you’re going to have to stop thinking like that. Remember the famous saying by Margaret Mead;” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” You’re going to need more than just yourself to change the world, go out there and find one, two maybe three more people who share your values and then go for it. Don’t plan your idea any further. Get out there and find your gang of ChangeMakers before you start building ,it may take some time but trust me you won’t regret it.
Oh and another thing are you sure this is what you want to do? Are you sure your social aim is more important than the allure of merely being a business that makes a profit because trust me the latter iis much easier. Building a company which aims to change the world ( and I mean actually does so and not merely using it in a wooly context as is so common ); generally has a longer uptake. Because it takes time to find the specific people who are going to be so convinced with your mission-be they a team of customers/users! Whereas in conventional people can simply find clients, it takes a certain level precision targeting to find your best audience when starting a social movement.. Unless you’re ready to accept that, commit wholeheartedly to achieving the social aim of your company then you are likely to want to give up. Before you start, before you start and possibly end up wasting your time, look in the mirror and ask yourself am I really up for this world changing mission. Is this really what I want to do with my life when I could easily go down an easier route of starting a conventional business? There is no shame if the answer is no, changing the world is a tough business and may not be for everyone but I can guarantee you it would be the best thing you could possibly ever do. The excitement, the thrill of knowing that what you are doing actually means something, the beautiful feeling of measuring your efforts against the results. Its priceless.
I conclude this letter, my fellow changemaker –having given you a few bits of advice- with a poem which I would suggest you remember on your journey to changing the world, it’s a little poem by the great Christopher Logue and goes a little something like this:
Come to the edge,
We Might Fall
Come to the Edge
Its too high
COME TO THE EDGE
And they came
And he pushed
And they flew..