We’re Good Together: Insights from 50 Impact-Driven Founders

This guest post comes from Alex Birtles, multi-Hatch programme graduate, and co-founder of In Good Company: an online platform providing an essential guide to the best local ethical businesses and experiences. Alex started her journey with Hatch on our Launchpad programme and most recently graduated from the Impact Business Growth Academy. This guest post explores the findings of the Good Report, a study into ethical business and the cost of living crisis.

Alex Birtles

The Good Report

This year In Good Company – a platform to match people with the perfect feel-good, guilt-free ethical businesses and experiences – launched our inaugural Good Report, an annual deep-dive into what’s happening in the world of good businesses. We wanted to really get under the skin of the unique challenges and opportunities facing ethical and sustainable businesses, particularly in the context of the current cost of living crisis. 

In the summer, we heard from over 50 ethical businesses, some of whom are also Hatch graduates, and this is what they had to say.

Impact of the Cost of Living Crisis

The cost of living crisis is definitely real and impact-driven entrepreneurs are not immune from feeling its effects. 39% said they are seeing a decrease in customer spending, with 34% also noting more cautious purchasing behaviours. This understandably has also led to concerns about growth and profitability. 

Despite these hurdles, there’s a silver lining – 71% remain confident their business will survive, showcasing remarkable resilience in the face of adversity.

There’s no doubt that building a business is tough, especially when you’re trying to build a business with a purpose, one that lives and breathes the values and behaviours you want to see in the world.

One that is trying to make a difference for the better.

But it’s also an incredibly powerful and fulfilling thing to do.

It’s clear that having a real mission at the heart of it gives impact-led entrepreneurs real strength and determination to draw from.

The Central Role of Community

A key finding from the Good Report is the vital role that community plays in the sustenance of ethical businesses. 43% are already part of a business network and 14% connect with other local businesses. 

One thing which has always struck me about the impact-driven business space is that there is such a desire for collaboration over competition. Unlike the stereotypical portrayals you see of the cut-throat business world, we realise that the way to succeed is to do it together. It’s also a reflection of the fact that we’re not just driven by profit, we’re here to use business as a force for good, tackling societal and environmental issues that are simply too big for any one person to solve alone. 

We did find that there was a desire for deeper connections and more collaborations, with 30% wanting to know how to connect with other good companies. This was one of the top three things people said they wanted more help with. At In Good Company, we have found that taking part in programmes like those run by Hatch – and continuing to attend workshops, networking events and support sessions – is the best and most effective way to grow what we call our ‘founder support group’!

Effective Communication: A Key to Success

The report also dug into effective communication and the importance of your mission to customers. This threw up some really interesting insights. Whilst businesses are clear that their mission matters – 39% believe it matters a lot and a further 39% agree it’s important – there were a number of comments that people felt the mission was secondary to the product or service itself. However, they did feel that once customers understood what good they were doing, it strengthened loyalty and made them feel good about themselves. 

I am a firm believer that whilst it is absolutely true that increasingly consumers care more about ethical issues and want to support true impact-driven brands, convenience, price and a whole host of other behavioural factors will often win out. But what is true is that whilst a brand might not win on ethical credentials alone, sharing the story of your mission, purpose and positive impact definitely deepens the connection with your customers, driving word of mouth and loyalty. 

It’s no surprise therefore that word of mouth was the second most powerful customer acquisition channel for ethical businesses, just below organic social media and followed by partnership work. 

Looking ahead to 2024, many businesses said they wanted to prioritise making better use of technology for sales and marketing – watch out for Hatch events as they run some excellent workshops on this kind of thing! 

We’re Good Together

Reflecting on these findings, and echoing my own experiences since starting In Good Company with my co-founder Sarah, it’s the resilience, passion and collaborative spirit which really shine through. 

There are many reasons why we began our business. We saw a problem – that ethical companies desperately needed more customers and consumers didn’t know where to find them – and we wanted to help more good companies thrive. 

But for me, at its heart, it’s about human connection – especially with other entrepreneurs and small business owners who are making the world better and brighter and fairer. With everything that is going on in the world, we need that more than ever. Because we’re good when we’re together. 

Next up - the Consumer Perspective

We’re gearing up to release Part Two of the Report early in the New Year, focusing on the consumer perspective based on our research with over 225 individuals. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to get it when it lands. And if you want to read the full report, packed full of more insights and lots of quotes, then you can get it here

About In Good Company 

Alex is the co-founder of In Good Company, a purpose-driven, female-founded UK tech start-up on a mission to help the flourishing good business sector thrive, and a Hatch Enterprise graduate. 

By matching you with the perfect ethical experiences and businesses in London, In Good Company helps you feel good about getting out and about. Damn good, and guilt free. If you want to make more of your days out, while doing your bit for the world then check out ingood.app to discover the good we can do together.

If you’re a good business who wants to be listed – or you’re interested in working together – please get in touch at hello@ingoodcompany.org.uk 

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