A while ago I made a pledge:
I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me
I’m not the only one though. Anyone that joins the wonderful Action for Happiness commits to this simple pledge (25,000+ to date).
You may already know that March 20th is the UN International Day of Happiness. As we were asked to be ambassadors by Action for Happiness I should probably tell you a little about it. In their own words:
A profound shift in attitudes is underway globally, and people are now recognising that progress should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy at all costs. That’s why all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority and March 20 has been declared as the International Day of Happiness – a day to inspire action for a happier world.
When we do things to bring happiness to others, everyone benefits. It helps the people we connect with, boosts our own wellbeing and also inspires others to be more caring and positive too.
And we believe this rings true for business as well.
We believe happiness makes business sense . Happier teams are more successful, productive, creative, loyal and nicer to customers. Think Southwest Airlines above Ryanair.
As Herb Kelleher, the visionary behind Southwest puts it:
If employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right, the outside world uses the company’s product again, and that makes the shareholders happy. That really is the way that it works and it’s not a conundrum at all.
A happier economy
We’re at the start of our journey to build a community of people that believe there’s a better way to do business – better from the human side, better from the customer side, and believe it or not, better from the profit side too.
Think sustainability above short-termism.
We want to help passionate people build the best companies of the future that have a clear purpose, a strong brand & culture, and loyal customers.
So why are we doing this?
Life is short.
We’re only here for a short while so we want to make our time here a happy one. Unfortunately there’s a shit load of unhappy people out there.
Here’s what we’d like to change:
- Business gets a bad wrap – many people still think that all business people are like Alan Sugar or Deborah Meaden but it needn’t be that way. A new type of conscious business leader is coming through, one that cares for it’s employees and customers, and doesn’t just focus on lining their own pockets. I want to see more of these role models – people like Tony Hseih from Zappos.
- Most startups fail. Only 1 in 3 businesses survives the first 3 years of trading. I’ve seen this happen first hand and I believe much of it can be avoided with the right approach. Many methodologies for testing ideas focus on the mechanics of starting a business. We want to bring back the emotion in business. Love what you do, love your customers and employees and they’ll love you back. Your chances of success increase right away.
- A huge proportion of people hate their jobs. We spend most of our waking lives at work – more than we spend with our loved ones – so if we don’t find fulfillment or meaning in our daily lives, then this leads to unhappiness that spills over into the rest of our life.
- Customer service is an all-time low. In a recent study, only 3% of companies scored excellent for the quality of their customer experience. Not. Good. Enough.
I believe all these issues can be radically improved by encouraging more people to tap into their passion, and find meaning in their lives through entrepreneurship. This could be different for different people – maybe you want to set up a social entreprise, be the next Mark Zuckerburg (god Forbid) or start your own coffee shop with a creche – it’s up to you. Just as long as it’s not one of those dreaded institutions – the cup cake shop (sorry cup cake fans!)
Our hope is that we can encourage people to leave jobs they’re unhappy in and take control of their lives. To stop dreaming and start doing.
And in the spirit of practising what we preach we’re taking action.
A few of our team went out to the City of London as part of our involvement in Happiness Day – spreading the word, sharing random acts of kindness with strangers, covering the heart of the financial district to handout plantable seedpaper that encouraged city workers to grow their happiness.
We’ve met an increasing number of people in the corporate world that have money but no meaning. There’s something missing and we’re helping them find their purpose and start living today. We want people to flourish and follow their dreams, not fester in the doldrums. This is what drives us. It’s our why.
So in short, we believe the 4 p’s are key to become a happy startups – passion, purpose, people and profits. We’re hoping by empowering budding entrepreneurs with the knowledge, resources and commuinty needed to fulfil their amibitions, we’ll realise our vision of a world with better businesses, happier workplaces and delighted customers. That’s the kind of world I want to live in. Happiness all round.
Starting up is hard.
If you’re looking to start a business at some point this year, keep an eye on our upcoming affordable workshops in Central London, where we’ll be helping corporate escapees stop dreaming and start doing. Drop us a tweet or come for a drink with us to share ideas.