Most successful startups are created when someone is trying to do something… but can’t. This is very efficient and resolving these problems feels good and has helped create massive companies.
But sometimes, the problem is such that resolving it does not just make life easier: it turns a wrong into a right, and makes life better. This is the power of mission-driven companies – they have a real positive impact in people’s lives – they build a better world. And working on achieving these missions gives a strong and genuine sense of purpose to all involved.
Mission driven teams don’t just want to be entrepreneurs: they want to solve these massive pain points and create positive change on a large scale.
Periods of crisis, like this major pandemic we have been experiencing for almost 2 years now, amplify the positive emotional effect of these deeper purposes and encourage the success of mission-driven companies.
More emotional needs = amplification
Everyone’s needs have suddenly become more acute, more emotional. People’s needs are often brand new, evolving at a rapid pace, and include indeed stronger emotional components. If companies listen intensely, with a mix of empathy, purpose and ambition (always ambition!), they can have a deeper impact, imprinting a potentially indelible mark on their customers. Their purpose itself is amplified.
The empathy deployed by companies like Westjet (updating PCR rules based on each individual traveler) or Save-On-Foods (rapid deployment and expansion of grocery home delivery) went way beyond the need to just survive. Many companies increased the pay of frontline workers to recognize their increased risk and dedication. It seems obvious in these situations that purpose was a big part of the decision process, not just business goals.
I certainly don’t want to minimize the dramatic destruction that took place in the last 18 months, with millions of businesses closing, temporarily or for good, and the impact it had on the millions of accompanying jobs. Many firms have not been able to reinvent themselves – many of them did not have the opportunity to transition to a more digital self.
But we have also seen magnificent innovations and new ways to do things, breaking things while improving customer experience for the long term. The positive emotional reactions of clients are causing the perenniality of these missions.
Creative destruction’s innovation acceleration
Indeed, economic crises are good periods for “creative destruction”: new ways of doing business jump to the front and take many by surprise.
We experienced this first hand at Autozen. The idea for our new company, Autozen, was born a few months before Covid-19 hit: the considerable duress consumers experience during the process of selling their own car seemed just wrong to us: it could be better. It had to be better.
We found the solution to all the hassle and haggling of selling one’s car was relatively simple, at least on the outside: put together a strong group of curated buyers (at least 100) and have them compete with each other to make sure the price offered is fair. And, we also take care of everything, from inspection, paperwork, payment, pickup…One recent reviewer commented that she was “gobsmacked” at how easy it (using Autozen) was. I can’t tell you the dopamine boost that that kind of validating and reaffirming reaction gives me and the team.
Obsessed with the emotional waves
The value proposition is strong: consumers get a good price right away, never have to leave home and the car can be sold, gone and paid in a couple days.
Each 5.0 stars review gives dopamine boosts I hope never go away.
What surprised us proved to be the biggest driver: the emotional intensity of these reviews: the ability to remove stress from people’s daily lives seemed to be very deeply experienced and even bigger than we initially expected. We realized we were not just making life easier – we removed heavy weight off their shoulders and made their life better.
Touching these emotional waves remains our #1 mission – if we do this well, we think the company’s growth will be considerably easier. Like it is for mission-driven companies.
Olivier Vincent is the CEO and co-founder of Autozen.
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