What do we mean when we talk about “conscious” business?

The Joyful Web Conscious Business Blog

We want to work with conscious businesses, run by conscious leaders, creating communities of conscious consumers. So, what do we mean when we talk about “conscious” businesses?

For us, a conscious business is one that doesn’t just look at numbers on a balance sheet. One that’s not only concerned with profits, but also whether their business is doing some good in the world, or providing a necessary challenge to the status quo of their industry. They’re concerned with whether they’re happy as business owners, whether their teams and customers are happy – and these are equal measures of success with their bottom line.

Why use the word “conscious” and not “good”, “ethical”, or “purpose-driven”? 

This is something we’ve spent three years talking about, because there are so many different words that could be used to describe the kind of business that makes our ideal client, and the kind of business we want to be.

There’s “good” businesses (which we love, and we’re proud members of the Good Business Club), but that can be subjective. There’s also “ethical”, but there is so much grey area around what that means to people. Then there’s “purpose-driven” – but every business should have a purpose if it’s worth its salt. And so, we arrived at “conscious”.

The courage to be conscious

Would you define yourself as a conscious business owner? Do you know that you want to be more conscious? Are you already feeling a bit overwhelmed because you just can’t see how to get there? We’ve been through ALL of these stages since we started The Joyful Web.

The first thing to say is that this is a journey. And that journey is unique to every business. There’s no blueprint. Nobody is going to slap a sticker on you that says: “Well done! You’re conscious now!”

Being a conscious business isn’t always easy: it takes awareness and courage. It requires looking at how you’re operating right now, stepping out of a fear and scarcity mindset, and it demands that you value yourself, your purpose, and your principles over the bottom line.

We know how daunting that can feel.

But the good news is it can also be fun. And exciting. And it can change everything for your business. The whole process of working out what’s most important to you – whether you’re a business owner, a team leader, or a sole trader – is hugely valuable. That’s what will transform the way your business works, and that’s why all of the work we do starts with values.

Moving into consciousness

It’s very easy as a business owner to get consumed by your bottom-line. After all, that’s the fundamental thing we’re taught about running a business: it has to make money, it has to grow and be profitable, and that’s the number one measure of success.

In our first two years of business, we spent a lot of time being extremely> concerned with our finances. And we made a lot of decisions from a space of fear that certainly were not conscious. You can’t be conscious when fear is in the driver’s seat.

That’s another reason that the word “conscious” is so powerful for us. What helped us move out of that space of scarcity isn’t that more business just suddenly started flooding in, it was a fundamental change in our mindset. We had to move out of all the stories we’ve been conditioned to believe about running a business being hard work, and needing to hustle all the time, and come at running our business from a different space. A more conscious one.

To us, becoming more conscious was about stepping into a higher level of awareness about how we were showing up in and engaging with the world around us. To look critically (yet kindly) at how we were doing things, and give ourselves the space to step back from the hustle and fear that was driving us. Once we started to do that, we became far more joyful people to work with – both for each other, and our clients.

Practising conscious marketing

Marketing is a dirty word to a lot of people, and it’s no wonder. The advertising industry has a long history of using compelling marketing messages to manipulate people into buying things they don’t need. So, one strand of conscious marketing is about how you communicate with your potential clients and customers, and bring your products and services to those who genuinely need them, will benefit from them, and will love you for it.

On another level, a lot of marketing that goes on in big agencies (we know this from our experience) can feel distinctly unconscious. It’s easy for marketing services to become formulaic when you’re under pressure and being held to account for a whole bunch of metrics that “prove” ROI. You can fall into the trap of taking actions because you know it’s worked for one business, so you end up creating the same kind of blueprints for strategies over and over again. And of course that’s not conscious, because you’re not really thinking or taking time to step back and consider what that particular business needs or wants.

Right now, the time we’re spending online has gone through the roof and there is a lot more noise around now than there’s ever been. And there was a lot of noise before. It’s more important than ever for businesses to think carefully about the content they’re putting out there and what purpose it serves. And that starts with a solid marketing strategy that’s rooted in your values.

Conscious customers and clients

On a personal level, we’ve both been looking at where we spend our money. And have realised how out of integrity we’ve been. We’re the leaders of a business that talks about the importance of supporting local business, small business, and sustainable business… and yet we’re not always spending our money in these places.

We’ve been pretty unconscious for a lot of reasons. To save money, to make things easy, or because we’re impatient. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with that (because there isn’t) and we’re not saying that we’re going on a total boycott of retail chains and that we’ll never buy anything from Amazon or set foot in Sainsbury’s again. We’re saying that we want to make a commitment to make more conscious choices where we know we can.

For example, can we look at independents first and see if they have what we need before we go to the chains? Making small changes is a step in the right direction, and if everyone made just a few small changes it would have a big impact.

We’re seeing a surge of businesses in the UK who want to do good and enable positive change, and a lot of the British public are showing themselves to be industrious and community-focused.

Relationships between businesses and customers are getting stronger. Now, more than ever we are conscious of the fact that what we choose to do with our money directly impacts the rest of the world. That’s just one way that we are so much more powerful than we know ourselves to be. These huge corporations who we outcry against when we hear that they treat people badly are enabled to do so because we give them our money.

That’s how we change the world: conscious consumers create more conscious businesses, and conscious businesses will change capitalism. And that’s something we can get behind.

Want to hear us talk more about conscious businesses and how they can change the world?

Watch the conversation that inspired this blog:

If you’re looking for support with a more conscious approach to your marketing, check out our NEW Joyful Marketing Packages for business owners.

Whether you’re just getting started and want to lay strong foundations, or you’re ready for world domination but need expert guidance, we’ve got you covered.

Alice Reeves

Alice Reeves

Alice has a decade of experience in digital marketing, with a specialism in social media, engagement campaigns and creative content.

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