Many entrepreneurs know how to make money, but money fades while impact continues to change lives.
When entrepreneurs start a business, one major goal is to generate income. Without income the business will quickly fail. In our efforts to generate income however, too many of us miss the most important part of building a business.
The word impact is defined as “influence; effect.” When an entrepreneur makes an impact, their influence continues far beyond their lifetime. A great example of this is Steve Jobs and Apple. Steve is gone, but his influence lives on through the amazing company he created that impacts millions of lives everyday.
While we want to generate income for our business, creating an impact is what takes your business to the next level. Here are three reasons why you focus more on impact than income.
1. Impact creates passive income
In 1989, Stephen Covey published a popular book called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This book has sold over 25 million copies and has been translated into 40 languages. This book is still on the New York Times best-sellers list consistently 25 years later. Stephen Covey passed away in 2012, but his impact continues on, and so does the passive income from book sales.
When you release a book, movie, music or some kind of product, the passive income will continue if that product has made an impact in people’s lives. Stephen’s book has made such a huge impact that I don’t doubt it will still sell 25 years from now. And every year the passive income will continue to flow.
Your business has the opportunity to do the same thing, even if it’s not a book. When you create something that helps people, and makes an impact in their lives, that impact will keep the sales continually flowing.
2. Impact builds your brand and business
Apple, Zappos Microsoft and many other familiar companies started as little more than a name and an idea. What made them into the powerhouses they are today is the impact they made on people’s lives, through their vision and what they created.
In the world of entrepreneurship today, there are millions of businesses, many of them selling similar products. The best way for your business to stand out is focused on the impact you can make, not by being a clone.
When you speak to your target audience’s biggest struggles and solve them, they will tell everyone they know and spread your impact. Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing because people are getting exposed to you and your business through people they trust. This is the best way to build a brand. How many people personally told you to read Stephen Covey’s book? That’s why the book remains a best seller after 25 years.
3. Impact changes lives
There have been many one-hit wonders in the world of entrepreneurship. Remember Next? The company that Steve Jobs created after he was fired from Apple? Next is gone, but Apple grows.
It’s estimated that 600,000 to one million books are published each year. Many of these books won’t sell more than 250 copies. Yet, a book published 25 years ago will continue to sell millions of copies. The difference is the impact certain books have in changing people’s lives. Too many books are written just to make money. Too many products and services are created with the main goal of creating income. They usually don’t stand the test of time.
When your business has a hand in changing someone’s life, they become a walking testimonial and constant marketing campaign. The world of entrepreneurship is flooded with hype, so when someone sees the real thing, they won’t hesitate to buy.
Owning a business is great for so many reasons. It provides freedom and a chance to build something that you can pass onto your children. It can be even greater than that if you shift the focus away from simply making money. Your business can become just as worthwhile as any of the companies that have stood the test of time.
When you create products and services that make a real difference in people’s lives, you separate yourself from everyone else. When you make an impact in people’s lives in a positive way, you create life-long customers that become your company’s evangelist.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur Magazine
Photo: Flickr/ Kalyan Chakravarthy