Successful businesses are on a crusade to imptove their customers' lives, Colmar Brunton chief executive Dick Brunton says. Supplied photo
Dick Brunton says all businesses should be social enterprises
- especially if they want to be successful.
If by social enterprise we mean business that fundamentally
seeks to make people's lives better; and, if by successful we
mean motivated staff, loyal customers and happy shareholders,
then yes, says Mr Brunton - it is the only way to go.
The executive chairman of New Zealand market research company
Colmar Brunton says international study has borne out what he
has long advocated - putting customers ahead of shareholders
is best for everyone.
The Aucklander cites a study which shows the world's fastest
growing companies have, at their core, ideals of improving
people's lives which are worked out throughout the business.
"This is the age of standing up for something, for pursuing a
big ideal, for creating profit by creating purpose."
It did not matter how large or small the business, it should
be good for society as a whole, he said.
"Business is just people helping people.
"A plumber who does his best for the customer is no less
worthy than Mother Teresa.
"That's what it's all about, or should be all about - serving
each other. You don't have to be a doctor or nurse to do
Nearly every entrepreneur begins with a big ideal, but over
time it can get overlooked or dropped, Mr Brunton believes.
He has been on a mission for more than a decade to help
businesses discover, or regain, a customer- and
meaning-focused reason for existing.
"Human beings need to live with a constant sense of meaning
"If we attach meaning to what we do, we feel significant and
connected to the organisation and our co-workers . . . In
short, customer-focused purpose with meaning unleashes
energy, which delivers excellence."
To turn a business into a meaning-filled "crusade", Mr
Brunton suggests business owners or boards ask themselves
some fundamental questions.
What do I see in my industry that grieves me?
What do I stand for or stand against?
What could I change or put right? Where can my organisation
make a difference?
"The question that has to be answered is, `How can my
organisation make a difference in the lives of my customers
in a way my competitors don't or won't?'."