Paul Lindley is one of UK’s most successful entrepreneurs, a vocal advocate for the power of purpose-led business, and a leading campaigner for change in the UK business community and beyond. Ten years since it began at Paul’s kitchen table, Ella’s Kitchen is now the UK’s number one baby food brand, with a global turnover of $100m. Here Paul offers P@P his top tips on how and why to grow a purpose-driven business…
Have a clear purpose from the outset, and never lose sight of it
Today, the most successful businesses have a strong mission built into the core of their business model. Ella’s Kitchen was born out of my personal experience as a parent and driven by our founding mission to improve children’s lives by developing healthy relationships with food. That ultimate goal has guided every decision we’ve made from the start and is embedded in everything we do: from product development and business strategy, to public relations and imaginative content creation. Even as we’ve expanded across the globe, we’ve ensured that our guiding purpose hasn’t been diluted by growth. I’m certain that it’s this refusal to compromise on our principals that has led to our success.
Market your purpose
Having a positive social impact does not compromise your ability to achieve huge financial success. Quite the reverse. At Ella’s Kitchen, our long-term commitment to our founding mission has built our loyal base of consumers, who have driven our double-digit growth for the last ten years. The latest figures show that purpose-driven businesses grow 30% faster than the national average, a figure that is only set to rise as consumers and employees increasingly believe that the purpose of business is to benefit society. According to recent research by Sage, a reported 50% of millennials claim they want to work for businesses with ‘ethical practices’. The reign of the big corporates, that were once the top magnet for talent, is over – purpose-led businesses with a conscience are going to run the show. Market yourself as purpose-driven and the numbers will take care of themselves.
Embed your mission within your company culture
You’ve got to practice what you preach – and defining company values is absolutely key to ensuring you do. Having a clear set of values within your team is crucial to shaping what you stand for as a brand, and how you’re going to bring that to life. Our business values are ideals that the whole team can relate to and invest in, and they’re powered by our founding mission and child-first approach. As a business, we commit to thinking differently, wanting to win, being business minded, childlike and good to each other in everything we do. Making your brand purpose work inside and out will not only help to build your business’ reputation and credibility, but will also ensure your employees become ambassadors for what you do. Brands are built from the inside out and not the other way round.
Build partnerships with people who share your goals
As well as nurturing your company’s personal mission, establishing partnerships with people and movements that share your broader goals and values can help build credibility, open up new opportunities, and maximise positive business growth. An important recent partnership for Ella’s has been our certification within the global B Corporation movement, which offers official recognition to businesses driven by the desire to turn a profit in the benefit of society and not just their stakeholders. The combined impact of those 1,900 businesses is huge – and as this movement gains momentum, the potential is genuinely limitless.