Business Beyond Sustainable

I was speaking with a client recently about our roles as leaders, as people who want to effect change in the world, as human beings who feel passionately about justice and equity.

These conversations aren’t separate from the work I do, they’re an integral part of it. In order to build a thriving business, we need to define your role as a leader. We need to know how you show up best in the world. And only from there can we design a regenerative business that sits in the sweet spot of what you do best and what your clients need.

I’ve noticed there are a lot of folk who talk about building a sustainable business. As always, I would encourage you to stop and ask what that means to you?

Living on a permaculture farm, I see sustainable as net zero. As a business owner, this means you get out of it what you put in. If you want to profit more, you work more. Input = Output.

And this is exactly the problem I have with it.

Instead, I’d encourage you to think about your business in terms of the word regenerative.

When you look at your business as a system that has cause and effect on other related systems, all of a sudden input=output gets far more complicated. This is where regenerative business design really shines. What if you could take your business and instead of simply sustaining you, turn it into a force for good?

Imagine the profit you make keeps a roof over your head and food on your table AND it also gets folded into your local community. You would support local artisans and growers. You would donate time and/or money to important causes. You would spend more intentional time with your clients…which in turn benefits them and their communities.

If your business was stone of your own creation, would you slip it gently into the water without sound or splash? Would you choose the biggest stone possible and drop it from a height? Or would you factor in a smooth surface and skip it across the water with a gentle flick of your wrist creating ripples farther than you can see?

Building a regenerative business looks at all the factors within your ecosystem.

These are some of the things I ask my clients about:

Capacity. How does your health, schedule, and other responsibilities factor into your real time options?

Values. What world do you want to live in?

Methodology. Do they know how you get your people from here to there?

People. Are you working with and attracting the people that will most benefit from your particular brand of magic?

Services & Offers. Do these services work within your personal/professional capacity as well as your clients’ needs? Are they priced appropriately?

Brand Voice. How are you talking about what you do? Words have power. Are you using the right ones to represent all of these other systems?

If any of these pieces are out of sync, your business may be profitable but neither impactful nor resilient. A regenerative business is all of these and more. It values your energy as much as your productivity. It considers the whole and not just the bottom line.

I’ll leave you with this: if your business had the power to change the world, what would you envision? Now imagine the impact you could create if you built your business (from here on out) as a stone that skips across the water.

If this sounds good, we should talk. I have only 2 Spark Intensives left for summer 2022. Let’s design the business you’ve always wanted.

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Helen Tremethick

Helen Tremethick

Regenerative Business Designer + Coach. ❤️ Weirdos & Queerdos . Renegade . Kinda Nifty . Thinks writing third person bios is hilarious . helentremethick.com