What comes to your mind when you think about the concept of sustainability?
Possibly you think about the environment… can we minimise the impact to our ecosystems?
Perhaps you think about your community… like how can we all access and benefit what modern society provides us today such as health and education?
Maybe you think about your business… all that work you have given to get it up and running, but will it survive the test of time?
In my view, these aspects, and many others, are all intertwined. There is no separation because we are all connected and the sustainability of one, can influence the other. I also believe that we all have a role to play and for business specifically, it is about managing the day to day challenges, while also focusing on the future.
Now doing this of course is easier said than done. Stuff gets in the way and your view of what is the “future” might be just tomorrow!
But what if your business was over 1300 years old like Japan’s Nisiyama Onsen Keiunkan, a hot springs hotel, still in the same family after 52 generations!
Does this challenge your view of what long term is?
Or even several years ago when I was visiting southern Sweden, and met a farmer who explained to me that the forest he was soon to harvest, was planted by his grandfather, and the forest he was now planting with seedlings, will likely to be harvested by his son, who was currently only five years old!
Yet somehow the focus today is short term. Annual performance reviews, shareholders to front up to. Quick profits where we have terms like “flipping”, and not necessarily building solid assets of value.
Surprisingly, I am not alone in these views either. In fact, this short-term view of modern society is often brought up regularly as an impediment of doing remarkable things.
That is why I always encourage my clients and business owners, even if they are in the early startup phase, to think longer term, because when you do this, I believe it does start to take away many restraints – of which many are self-imposed anyway.
Like, can you imagine business entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson or Elon Musk, to be just thinking about the next 12 months? Of course not! These guys are big thinkers and big thinkers look way beyond themselves and what is front of them to what is being imagined or envisioned while also getting things done.
So, we all need to do this as well in our own way.
At The Startup Business, one of the things we do is support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – seventeen goals to transform our world! On our own, probably not much of an impact, but as Helen Keller once said…
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much