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How to make happiness your business model

At The Happy Startup School, we’ve seen firsthand several problems that we believe need addressing in the world. Problems that almost everyone is directly affected by in some way.

A huge proportion of people are disengaged at work

We spend most of our waking hours at work – more than we spend with our loved ones – so if we don’t find it fulfilling or meaningful, it leads to an unhappiness that can spill over into the rest of our lives.

Business as we know it is broken

Many people still think that to succeed in business you need to act like the TV personas of Alan Sugar or Deborah Meaden – hard-nosed, ruthless and, often, downright rude – but it needn’t be that way. A new type of conscious business leader is slowly, quietly making an impact. People that care for their employees and customers, and don’t focus purely on profit – their companies have a higher purpose. We want to see more of these role models – people like Tony Hsieh, whose company Zappos is focused on ‘delivering happiness’.

Customers will ultimately decide whether a business succeeds or fails

In a recent study, 80% of CEOs believe their company provided an excellent customer experience, but interestingly only 8% of their customers agreed – it’s time they’re treated fairly.

Social media has changed the rules – now everyone has a voice. We believe the future belongs to truly customer-centric companies.

Most startups fail

9 out of 10 startups fail. But many failures can be avoided with the right approach. There are loads of business resources available that focus on the mechanics of starting a business – the hard stuff; but very little that focuses on the soft stuff. We want to bring the emotion back into business. Love what you do, love your customers and employees, and they’ll love you back.

Our aim is to change the face of business, by encouraging more people to tap into their passion and find meaning in their lives through entrepreneurship. Our hope is that we can encourage people to leave jobs they’re unfulfilled in and take control of their lives. To stop dreaming and start doing.

Whatever your story may be, if you believe, like us, that happiness is the key to success both in business and life, then you’re in the right place.

Start with the following 3-step process to making happiness your business model:

1. Define what success looks like to you

Before you start on your entrepreneurial journey, it’s vital that you consider what you’re in this for. Whatever success looks like, it’s probably not where you are now. Really spend time thinking about what your end goal is. Try to focus on the life you want and the change you want to make, not the numbers you need (that will come). Happiness should be your starting point for success. Also consider impact, legacy, relationships and the undervalued entity that is time.

“Have fun, do good and the money will come.”

Richard Branson

2. Define your startup DNA

We believe you can lay the foundations for success by really defining who you are and what you stand for – your values, passion and purpose. At The Happy Startup School, we believe passion trumps any kind of entrepreneurial experience. Defining your passion is what will drive you to succeed, after all if you’re not passionate about your business why should anyone else be?

This passion will help you define your business purpose and help people rally around your cause. Every quarter we gather together tribes of budding entrepreneurs around the world to teach people how they can build a business around their passion. Some of our Home School students have now gone on to escape their corporate roles and start doing work they love, that aligns with their values in business and life.

3. Test ideas and experiment with different business models

Boldly go where no one has gone before. There are hundreds of challenges yet to solve and you have the exciting opportunity to create a business around your purpose. It’s just a matter of testing different ideas and creating some ‘planned serendipity’. By exploring different business models and niches around some key constraints (your passion, purpose and values), we firmly believe you’ll make your own luck (for more information read up on effectuation). Our Happy Startup Canvas will help you move fast and stay lean, whilst making your business more human giving it a better chance of survival.

If you’ve read this and you’re one of the startups founded in the UK last year (or are looking to break out on your own in 2015), remember you’re in the driving seat. Take control of your life and help give business a better name.

If you’re driven to building your own happy startup, to make a difference in the world, check out our Happy Startup Home School, an online 6 week course to help people go from idea to profits, the happy way. It takes a few minutes to apply, and if you mention Crunch in your application, we’ll give you $100 off if you’re chosen.

Happy startups means a happier world – something we all believe in.

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