Whether or not you want it to, your venture will have an impact. And given that founders generally create products and services to serve a perceived need or mission, the idea of having an intentional impact (serving the underlying need or mission) is already embedded in the core of the venture.
Paying deeper attention to impact is about having a clearer understanding about why a venture exists and how its existence affects people and the world.
From the earliest stages of building a venture, this clarity helps a founder:
In 'mainstream' venture, founders that demonstrate an attention to impact are now often described as 'mission-driven'. A mission statement describes why a venture exists.
As a venture grows, so do its impacts. Paying deeper attention to impact in this stage is key to mitigating risks from unseen and unintended negative impacts. These could include:
These are all common examples of impacts seen to negatively affect venture performance.
A better understanding of impact also means a better understanding of how the venture interacts with the world around it. This can lead to new and early detection of external risks and opportunities arising from changes in the venture's environment. This can result in new products, features, markets, and partnerships that lead to competitive advantage.
Impact awareness is already a common aspect of strategic management and forecasting, product development and marketing, and human resources and operations management. The emerging discipline of impact management offers additional tools and practices that can help improve understanding of these effects. This is particularly valuable in periods of volatility (e.g. navigating a pandemic and resulting shocks) and amid growing public and investor attention on the impacts that companies have.
<aside> 👉 Explore the rest of the FAQ: What is impact and why should I think about it? What are the drawbacks of paying attention to impact? What are the risks of ignoring impact? Should I incorporate as a Benefit Corporation?