You Can’t Build a Successful Business Without This

January 3, 2017, 11:30 PM UTC
Businessman sitting at desk working on computer
Businessman sitting at desk in high tech startup office working on computer
Photograph by Thomas Barwick via Getty Images

The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “What important lesson can transform every entrepreneur’s business for the better?” is written by Kunal Sood, founder and CXO of X Fellows, co-founder of Novus, part of the founding team at HaloDrop, and author of Exponential Happiness.

Being “exponential” can transform every entrepreneur’s business for the better. Being exponential means serving a cause greater than yourself. Building a business with a good bottom line and making yourself wealthy is one thing. But entrepreneurs who accomplish this goal usually ask, “What next?”

Exponential entrepreneurs are not only concerned with doing well, but doing good. Find your “why,” align it with your passion, and continually strive to inspire your team to build something that solves the world’s greatest challenges—that’s the only way to create the lasting impact that many entrepreneurs seek.

If your business is connected to information, water, energy, or health care, look for ways your company can improve the industry. Constantly striving to solve big challenges brings purpose to your work, and everyone connected to it.

Take Apple (AAPL), for instance. It holds the top spot on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies list for the ninth year in a row. The company placed first in nine attribute categories. Bottom line: Apple goes beyond selling computers. The company is exponential. It’s purpose-driven. And it’s changed the way people live forever.

There’s an African Proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Exponential business leaders remove all egos to build stronger relationships with their team and like-minded innovators. You can build something much bigger than yourself—and faster—when you work together.

See also: 3 Myths Entrepreneurs Need to Stop Believing Right Now

Building a great business is a marathon. And it’s hard to keep pushing forward without a strong “why.” Knowing your purpose will propel anyone associated with your business forward. It acts as a moral compass, keeping everyone grounded and on course when the inevitable challenges of business arise. The pioneering entrepreneur Peter Diamandis says the best way to predict the future is to create it. If your team is excited about the future you are creating, you’ll be collectively unstoppable.

If this sounds compelling, you might be wondering about where to start. You first have to transform yourself from the inside out. Understand your purpose and share that throughout your organization. Then, you must create a culture that is service-orientated and mission-driven. Elon Musk is a good example. As the founder and CEO of SolarCity, Tesla Motors (TSLA), and SpaceX, he has a mission to change the world and humanity. Ensure that your business decisions are underpinned by moral courage, empathy, and compassion. Lastly, focus on leveraging breakthrough technologies to solve real-world problems in new markets.


For example, technology alone is just a tool to accelerate change. But when used to provide free Internet around the world or deliver medicine to the most impoverished economies, it becomes transformative. Not only does it save billions of lives, but technology also improves quality of life by increasing access and opportunity. Think about how different your life would be without Google (GOOG), WhatsApp, and Uber. These three platforms allow individuals to take charge of their health when illness strikes. Technology works.

Finally, being exponential may change your business, but more importantly, it will transform you as a leader. A powerful vision that inspires people to solve grand challenges and leverages technological innovation can allow your team to truly change the world, and feel incredible showing up to work each day. My mentor, David Roberts, founder of HaloDrop, explains it with this quote: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear; the brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.”

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