I have been receiving a lot of questions lately. What is a heart-centered business? Is it a non-profit? What makes it “heart-centered”? Why are you so interested in heart-centered businesses vs. all businesses or a particular industry? So I wanted to take this opportunity to share my perspectives on this topic.
What is a heart-centered business?
The way I define a heart-centered business is it is a business that has a heart-centered mission in addition to the objective of being financially sustainable or profitable. It is a business that has a strong core of making a positive difference in the lives of other people, of being kind and compassionate and loving toward others, and finding ways to bring joy and happiness to others. Not just to make money off of those people, and not just as a marketing ploy. But not in lieu of making a profit either.
It is about building a business using both the head and the heart equally. It is about creating a business that leverages all of of your unique strengths and talents, and allows you to fully be seen for who you are and who you want to be when you are fully your authentic self. It is about serving others by fulling embracing, sharing and leveraging your passions.
It is about consciously creating the intent and culture in your business that there is a larger objective and legacy and impact that you are intending to make in the world that is not defined by the financial legacy or impact of the company. And while making money is part of the objective, there is a way to do it that is in alignment with your larger objectives of giving your gifts to the world and making a positive impact in others’ lives.
What I find is that this type of business allows you to be more creative in how you go about building your business. Most folks I’ve met so far who are drawn to creating a heart-centered business aren’t looking to follow a tried-and-true cookie-cutter business plan. They are looking to create something that may have never existed before, or to create a completely new spin on an existing model. We are each unique and it stands to reason that the unique businesses we feel called to create will also be unique.
A heart-centered business can be either a non-profit or a for-profit business (which is a tax distinction, not necessarily a business model distinction). Traditionally heart centered businesses have been considered non-profits, and most people I encounter immediately think I am focused on the non-profit sector as a result.
However, in recent years we have seen a surge of for-profit businesses that have a heart-centered mission or component to them. These businesses are sometimes called social enterprises, or B-Corps (if incorporated in states that have this legal entity distinction), or part of the conscious capitalism movement. And even some non-profits have started calling themselves “for purpose” organizations. While I think the non-profit side of this equation is great, I am really interested in the for-profit business side of this movement.
Over the past couple of years my definition has expanded as I have encountered more businesses that have fallen outside of my original definition but would also consider them to be very heart-centered. I thought I would give a few examples of some of my personal favorites.
A Few Examples:
There are many companies that have built philanthropy into their business model:
Marie Forleo, Intl. – Marie Forleo is a business and life coach who helps heart-centered entrepreneurs build a business and life they love. Every program that she creates donates money to causes that are important to her, like clean water, and building schools in impoverished areas around the world.
Tom’s Shoes – This is called a “1 for 1 model”. For every pair of shoes bought, Tom’s gives a pair of shoes to someone who doesn’t have shoes.
There are companies who have created their businesses out of love and in turn spread love and happiness to others:
Natural Life – I love this company and their story and their products. A crafty Mom from my hometown started taking photos of the simple things in life that she loved, then other crafts, and now has a very successful company making all kinds of products that spread happiness and joy. This is a very successful business that is all about the heart.
Irresistible Pound Cakes – I had the pleasure of meeting Tracey West, the founder and owner of Irresistible Pound Cakes last year. Meeting her and learning about her business caused me to expand my definition a little. She started her business with a family recipe that represented pure love for her, and now she makes her products with that same love which shows in the whole experience of ordering, receiving, and enjoying her very yummy products!
There are also companies who didn’t necessarily start out as a heart-centered business, but quickly found themselves running one!
Rosa’s Fresh Pizza – I love this story. To me this is the power of the universe at work to help us find our intended path! And it shows that any business can be a heart-centered business with the right intentions and willingness to truly open our hearts to others. Check out the video segment from the Ellen Show. There is no way that your heart won’t be a little more open after watching this video.
What all of these companies have in common is envisioning a way to make the world a better place, finding their passion in the products or services they have created, and authentically and purposefully creating a business model that allows them to achieve both the financial and impact goals that they have. All of these businesses exude love and compassion for others, and make me (and many others) happy.
These are the entrepreneurs I love working with and the types of businesses I am working to create more of in this world.
Please leave a comment below this blog and let me know what your favorite heart-centered business is! Also, if you have a business that you consider to be heart-centered, tell us what that means to you!
If you tweet, tweet one of the following questions to start a conversation about heart-centered businesses!
Have a great week!