In 3 Words: How to Build a Purpose-Driven Business

To polish up a year’s worth of learnings from working with and writing about purpose-driven companies, I’ve summed up 42 principles in exactly three words each.

Three words–easy to understand, easy to share.

This list partially represents the 155 blogs I’ve written this year, but it’s nowhere near complete. Add your triplets in the comments and I’ll be sure to tweet them out.

Stand for something [Tweet]

Make sustainability personal  [Tweet]

Own your mission [Tweet]

Don’t please everyone [Tweet]

Reject your ego [Tweet]

Do not pretend [Tweet]

Inauthenticity will bankrupt [Tweet]

Practice sustainability now [Tweet]

Leverage your strengths [Tweet]

Set big goals… [Tweet]

…But start small [Tweet]

Network before need  [Tweet]

Tap your peers [Tweet]

Fire-up your employees [Tweet]

Recruit internal stakeholders [Tweet]

Launch before perfection [Tweet]

Be obsessively transparent [Tweet]

Form creative partnerships [Tweet]

Build long-term partnerships [Tweet]

Observe what motivates [Tweet]

Make consumers altruistic  [Tweet]

Give consumers details [Tweet]

Recognize all stakeholders  [Tweet]

Beware brand misalignment [Tweet]

Try, fail, try [Tweet]

Become a B-Corp [Tweet]

Internalize your sustainability [Tweet]

Voice your passion [Tweet]

Measure it all [Tweet]

Focus on outcomes [Tweet]

Keep deliverables doable [Tweet]

Evaluate mid-program [Tweet]

Adjust to improve [Tweet]

Report impact constantly  [Tweet]

Support cause long-term [Tweet]

Let mission guide [Tweet]

Don’t mark-up prices [Tweet]

Funding isn’t necessary [Tweet]

Understand funding types [Tweet]

Waste less waste [Tweet]

Safeguard your mission [Tweet]

Prepare for succession [Tweet]

Hat tip to Dharmesh Shah for the addictive exercise of condensing advice into three words. Don’t forget to add your own in the comments–what practice or mindset have you put to use that might help others?

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


    Leave a comment
    1. Cathie Guthrie December 30, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

      Engage, build trust.

    2. Olivia Khalili December 30, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

      Thanks, Cathie. Tweeted!

    3. Jay Thakkar December 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

      Start right now!

    4. Luch December 30, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

      Empower ur employees

    5. Andrea J. Phillips December 30, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

      Be you. Boldly.

      I’m working on helping entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they do–and are brilliant at it–see the benefits of letting more people know about what they do. And that they can (and should) do it by just being authentically, unapologetically, themselves…only turned to a slightly louder frequency.

      Hmm…seems like the 3-word limit has some strong advantages!

    6. DavidLivingstone December 30, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

      I can’t add a thing to this list. Whenthey’re all done & dusted, I’ll revisit it. Olivia, what a gem you are and it’s hardly surprising you attract so many like-minded people.

    7. Paul Dunn December 30, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

      Start with WHY (thanks to Simon Sinek, of course).

      And thanks to you too, Olivia.

      Create a magical 2011 and be sure to keep on doing …..

      ….. things that amaze you.


    8. Tim Rooney March 8, 2012 at 11:11 am #

      Find Your WHY!


    1. BE Profiles Second Chance Coffee: Social Value Brews Profits | BusinessEarth - May 27, 2011

      […] a business and will become a charity.Second Chance’s success is a victory for everyone involved Socially-driven businesses have a great opportunity to do good and turn profits at the same time.  In Second Chance’s case, […]

    2. Brewing Social Good and Great Coffee From the Same Bean - June 2, 2011

      […] Socially-driven businesses have a great opportunity to do good and turn profits at the same time.  In Second Chance’s case, profitably delivering truly exceptional coffee is exciting enough on its own, but the good it’s doing for ex-offenders makes for something that’s really special.  John sums up the joy that the social mission brings for people at the company so well: Helping them make a living is one thing, but seeing their confidence emerge so that they can make an even bigger contribution here, or, in some cases, move on to bigger and better things is even more rewarding. […]