What is a sustainable business and why do you need to be one?

grants for small business startup

What is sustainability?

Sustainability essentially means ‘the capacity to endure’. In business terms it means you are here for the long haul. It means that your business will survive in the long term. It is not something that you would roll up in the next five years.

What is a sustainable business?

A sustainable business is one that generates profit while improving societal and environmental conditions in the area that it operates in. This includes what you do (your product or service) as well as how you do it (the way you operate).


Every company needs to pin down “why we do what we do.” That’s the company’s North Star, guiding every aspect from recruitment to customer management to product development and sales.

A strong purpose drives growth and profitability

In order to achieve sustainable success, companies must repeatedly reexamine their sense of purpose and make sure the organization serves it well. An authentic and inspiring purpose allows for:

A constant, consistent sense of focus

A strong emotional engagement both within the company and with its customers and partners

Continuous, pragmatic innovation


If you want to create a scalable business, you have to understand how crucial it is to build brand equity and emotional connections with customers. It’s those attachments that link customers to your products and will keep them returning to you. Building a brand is about developing and sustaining those relationships over time. Here are some basic rules to connect, shape, influence, and lead with your products and brands:

Choose your target audience. The surest road to product failure is to try to be all things to all people.

Connect with the public. Make your audience feel an emotional attachment to your brand that’s grounded in confidence in your products.

Inspire your customers. A simple, inspirational message is far more influential than one that tries to highlight too many product features, functions, or ideas.

No marketing plan can rescue a brand identity that isn’t fully formed. Don’t have much marketing budget to speak of? Create compelling content for publisher and social media sites to start generating awareness among target customer bases, and build up.

Focus on excelling in an area

It’s no longer about one company delivering value to every client at every place; it’s about being a part of an ecosystem. If you are not part of the ecosystem, then you are limiting yourself. You might have a successful start, but eventually it starts becoming difficult. Further in the bigger ecosystem, you are going to become a part of many ecosystems. In some, you might be a significant player and in others, you might be a small player. But in the end, it’s all about the contributions you are making in each of those ecosystems. So don’t try to be a big player in every ecosystem, rather look at how things work to drive the incremental value.

Focus on constant reinvention

When you are part of a company/single entity, then it’s all about constantly re-inventing what you do, it’s about reimaging how you do it and at the same time retaining a core belief system because you want your employees, your clients, and your partners to work with you and for you.


Creating a unique product and brand isn’t enough. It takes repeatable sales processes to create a scalable business. It’s one thing to sign up a few customers; it’s another thing to design and implement sales processes that can be successfully deployed again and again at ever greater scale.

  • You’ve created a scalable sales model when:
  • You can add new hires at the same productivity level as the entrepreneur or the sales leader.
  • You can increase the sources of your customer leads on a consistent basis.
  • You have a sales conversion rate and revenue that can be consistently forecast.
  • The cost to acquire a new customer is significantly less than the amount you can earn from that customer over time.
  • Customers get the right products in the right place at the right time.

A repeatable sales model builds the platform to scale. But it can take a lot of experimentation and intensive research before you hit on one that’s truly sustainable.


To continue growing, entrepreneurs, managers, and business owners must become the leader the business needs for each particular stage of growth. And since a company’s needs change at each stage, its leaders need to keep evolving at the right pace. That requires introspection, self-awareness, and a keen sense of strategy–both in the short and long term. I believe that an adaptive, flexible leadership style comes from being mindful. Our individual, interpersonal, and working lives are all interconnected. By being mindful, we understand those relationships and how best to utilize them to create, innovate, and lead.

The most sustainable way to create value is to continually invest in our capabilities.

And that allows us to arrange our lives and our organizations in a way that leads to long-term value creation. Indeed, the most sustainable way to create value is to continually invest in our capabilities, both as individuals and as organizations.



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