5 Things I’ve Learned From Building a Company That Cares

“What happens when you put care at the centre of everything you do as a business?”

That was the question my business coach, Mark Seabright, asked me six months ago.

I’d just started my creative agency, Make Us Care, and it floored me. Sure, care was in the name of our business. But putting care at the centre of everything we do as a business, from our finances to our strategic growth? That was new.

It’s an experiment my co-founder, Callum, and I have been running ever since.

Prioritising care has led us to do the best work of our careers, land an incredible group of clients and exceed our financial targets. Here are five things it’s taught me so far.

Grow with your clients, not off the back of them

In May 2019, I lost a £100k pitch. Like most agencies, my last role was all about winning more clients and more money. I found myself completely isolated.

In that moment, I vowed I would never let other people feel the way I did. Launching my new agency, I’ve been learning that long-term, sustainable revenue comes from real relationships.

How do you measure relationships? It’s the difference between focusing on your client’s retainer and caring about them as people. It’s knowing their kids names, their birthdays and making a continual effort.

Nowadays, we have less clients but our relationships are stronger and, financially, we’re winning more repeat work than ever before. We’re growing with our clients, not off the back of them.

Making your team feel valued looks like listening, HARD

Research shows that 1/3 people feel they don’t belong at work.

What if your company didn’t have to be that way? What if you could create a space for people to say what’s on their mind — not just in a 1:1, but always? As leaders, it’s our job to create space for people to show up and be themselves. It starts by us being more ourselves.

We need to get to know each other better so we can support each other better. When you make people feel safe and supported, their work becomes fundamentally better too.

Show more care in what you share

I used to feel pressure to share something on LinkedIn every day. I felt bad because, in my mind, I’m taking away people’s time and attention. This particularly matters to me as the co-founder of a branding and advertising agency.

It got me thinking: What if we all considered the time and attention of others before sharing something? What if we asked ourselves: does this piece of content deserve to take up space in someone’s newsfeed?

How we think about the stuff we share shows how much we care.

Care needs to be measured in quantifiable action

We need more accountability around care.

For me, care is all about taking real, quantifiable action.

At Make Us Care, we’re proud to be supporting GenieShares, an initiative that sees founders pledge 1% of their 2021 profits to an individual who really deserves it.

We’re donating our 1% to an NHS nurse at West Suffolk Hospital, where my nana was when she had both her falls during the UK’s first lockdown.

The cure for burnout is all of us caring for each other

Covid has set the perfect backdrop for burnout. As a founder, I’ve been focusing on moving from self care to collective care. It shouldn’t be up to one person to look after themselves. Fundamentally, we’re all here to care for each other.

Burnout is our collective responsibility. As Emily and Amelia Nagoski, authors of Burnout say, “Self care requires a bubble of protection of other people that value your well-being as highly as you do.”

The cure for burnout is all of us caring for each other. Care starts with each of us caring about each other.

Thank you for being here. I hope you enjoyed reading this piece.

Here’s a little bit about me…

I’m the co-founder of Make Us Care — a strategic creative partner for businesses doing good in the world. I work closely with founders, leaders and marketing teams to build brands people care about. My magic sauce is a communications framework I created called the 5 Stories.

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Founder and creator of 5 Stories, a methodology I use to build brands people care about. I write about storytelling and being an entrepreneur 🙃