24 May 2015
I came across a quote recently from Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote. He said: “There are a lot of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason… to change the world.”
Now, you might think this is extreme, but to me – and probably to plenty of other business owners – it actually makes a lot of sense.
If you look at the most successful entrepreneurs and innovators, many can be described in some way or another as obsessive. They seem to have an almost insatiable appetite that keeps them forever looking for the next challenge. It’s when you dig a little deeper at these individuals and their motivation that things get interesting.
People often think about successful entrepreneurs or business people as driven by profit, but money is simply a by-product of something else, something much bigger. More often than not, it’s not about cash for the bank, but change for the better. It’s about positively influencing as many people’s lives as you can, helping to create wealth and security for them, their companies and their families.
This has become abundantly clear has the years have passed. UKFast is not just a hosting company, it’s an extension of all the businesses we support and it’s a vehicle for change. The more charities and local organisations we get involved with, and the more team members we support, the more we want to give back.
Our growth is not just for the directors and managers, but the entire team, the local community and, hopefully, one day, much further afield.
Starting a company isn’t about making money, or at least it shouldn’t be anyone’s primary incentive. If it is, it won’t last long. You need a great reason to get out of bed in the morning, otherwise you’ll hit snooze on the alarm and go back to sleep. The real reason behind most people’s decision to start a company is much bigger, and much more powerful than that.
Is there anything wrong with wanting to change the world, whether that’s revolutionising an industry or creating a completely different way of doing things? I’ve met some of the most extraordinary leaders and been completely blown away by how some of them live their lives and lead their businesses. The ones who stand out head and shoulders above the rest and ultimately achieve lasting success are the ones who cannot switch off that sense of responsibility and purpose.
Not only that, but they use their own life – their own story – to inspire others. Have you ever met somebody who you just knew was special? Maybe it was something about the way they spoke or the way their eyes lit up when they spoke about a person or thing they were passionate about, but often when you recognise these kinds of people, it becomes apparent that they don’t actually see it themselves. It’s a crying shame, yet the most astute leaders will pick up on this and make it their mission to empower that person.
Looking for other people who want to change things on a big scale is the next step in business. I often talk about shared values and hiring like-minded people, but it’s true. When you seek out great people whose dreams are as huge and audacious as yours, you maximise your chances of really making the kind of impact that will last a lifetime.
Even if you are only making an impact on one person’s life, you are still – in a small way – changing the world. It’s something we are all capable of doing too, whether as a business owner or entrepreneur, or as an employee, a mother, father, partner or friend.
The great leaders, inventors, athletes and thinkers that changed the world all started off as someones child. Never underestimate your responsibility and your ability to influence the next generation.
What’s your reason, in life and in business? How will you change the world?
If you’re reading this and it has struck a chord, I’d love to hear from you.