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This is it.



This is what it’s all about. Truly. This isn’t marketing spiel. This isn’t me selling my wares.


This is me sharing my perspective. My passion. My purpose. You could call it my business manifesto.


Why am I sharing this with you now?


Because now, tomorrow, and every tomorrow after that, it’s going to shape how we do business together.


What am I talking about? The Quadruple Bottom Line


Four simple words that mean so much.


I had the honour of being a keynote speaker at the LOGIN conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. It’s an established annual business festival that brings together over 5,000 entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers—the largest of its kind in the Baltics.


My talk focused on why companies that put People, Planet and Purpose as well as Profit at the heart of their business significantly outperform businesses that don’t.


Life changing moments


I feel quite emotional when I write this. 


It meant so much to me when people approached me afterwards to say how much my talk had resonated with them and moved them; and above all, motivated them to change the way they were going to run their business.


This made the learnings, painful as they were at the time, from the near-fatal stroke I had some  years ago and lived to tell the tale, all the more worthwhile. 


Before that fateful day — suddenly losing the use of my right side — life was sweet. I enjoyed a remarkable wife and family. I was running a successful business. I had lots of money. I was ruthless in my pursuit of chasing the next pound. 


Money doesn’t buy happiness


It’s strange, looking back. I had an extremely privileged upbringing, living in a big house, being chauffeur-driven to school, and having staff wait on me. 


But, although we were living in 5-star luxury and everything looked perfect, my parents had serious issues (my mother suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder) — my childhood wasn’t a happy one. I learned that money doesn’t buy happiness.


However, navigating my mother’s moods heightened my innate ability to read people, which has been a true gift in my life and work.




My first words were ‘cash flow’


Both sides of my family were very successful in business, and they expected me to follow the same path. The running joke in my family is that my first words weren’t “mama” or “dada” but “cash flow”! But I was a rebel, I couldn’t wait to break free from the shackles of school and follow my dream, which was music.


A career in music


I was a drummer in a London band. We had a huge following but couldn’t get a record deal. However, my experiences in rehearsal studios led me to co-found a business renting sound equipment to touring bands, using seed money from my parents.


I ended up in a hedonistic whirl of touring with some of the world’s most successful bands, including The Jam, who later went on to buy the business (here’s the rather rock ‘n’ roll story involving Concorde).


I then invested the proceeds in co-founding a top-quality professional loudspeaker manufacturing business called Turbosound. I spent the next decade building a Profitable global business. I was driven and relentless during this time. Profit was the key motivator and I aggressively went after anyone stepping on our toes.


Looking back, my proudest moment wasn’t when I successfully sued a Canadian company that copied our patented loudspeaker design, and I arranged for their stockpile of copies to be chainsawed in a well-promoted public display. That said, it worked: the copying stopped after that.


I’m telling you this to illustrate where my head was at during this time: Cold-heartedly, single-mindedly chasing Profit.


My business journey was colourful, with highs and lows that gave me invaluable experience I bring to my coaching, consulting and mentoring today.



A change of heart


But then came the stroke, which dramatically shifted my perspective overnight. In retrospect, I think of it as ‘My Stroke of Luck. Suddenly, striving solely for Profit felt empty.


I knew I wanted to do something more meaningful than ‘just make money’ and, in my research to find out how, I came across an amazing book called, ‘Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose’.¹

I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of business and apparent softness.


Their eye-opening findings proved that world-class companies not only Profit from investing in Purpose and People, but also they outperformed the Standard & Poors 500 Index by huge margins. Fact. 


And this is what the Quadruple Bottom Line is all about.


Of course, a successful, sustainable business has to make a Profit (even if it’s eventually)—that’s a given—but it can be so much more.


What’s about its culture? How well does it look after its People; not just its own team but its stakeholders, shareholders, clients, suppliers—everyone involved in and with the business?


What is the company doing to invest in the good of the Planet and decrease its carbon footprint?


Profit, People and Planet are the three pillars of the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ (a term coined by John Elkington in 1994)²


Purpose takes us to the next level: The Quadruple Bottom Line (the term emerged as an extension of the triple bottom line in the 2000s )


Let’s talk Multiples


There are many ways of valuing private companies, but the most common is to multiply the Profit by a number. This number is called the ‘Multiple’. So, for example, for an accountancy firm making £1m turnover with £100k Profit, we could use a 5x Multiple to estimate a £500k value for that business.


The crucial element to the valuation is the Multiple that an investor or buyer uses when negotiating with the owner(s). In my experience most entrepreneurs know they can influence their company’s Profit, they don’t realise that it’s possible to take steps to influence the Multiple. 


And this is directly related to the Quadruple Bottom Line.³


Spot the difference


Take these two coffee shops as an example.



Let’s imagine the turnover and the profit for each are exactly the same at a particular moment in time. BUT how these two companies are run is entirely different, from how they treat their people to their green credentials, and everything in between. While there are no guarantees, the one on the right is much more likely to achieve a higher valuation than the one on the left. 


This is a prime example of how the principles by which a business is run — how closely they adhere to the Quadruple Bottom Line — can have a huge impact on their valuation.


In my keynote talk at LOGIN 2024, at around 22 minutes, I go into more depth on this and give other examples that are likely to be more relevant to your business (unless you run a coffee shop!). 


Investors and buyers are likely to value businesses higher that use the four pillars of the Quadruple Bottom Line. Research proves it.


A real-life example of living the Quadruple Bottom Line


Examples can be compelling, but nothing beats shining the spotlight on a real-world case study. For me, the American outdoor living clothing brand, Patagonia, is the epitome of a business living and breathing the Quadruple Bottom Line.


They are highly Profitable; they look after their People brilliantly; they have an impeccable reputation for being a great place to work (the owners recently gave the company away to their employees); their products are made with the least negative effect on the Planet possible (they even invite their customers to return torn items for them to be mended and returned); and their Purpose couldn’t be clearer: ‘To save the Planet’.


This is what I call walking the talk!


So what’s all this got to do with my strapline ‘Love Business’?


For me, the word ‘Love’ means wanting the best for everyone and everything. In a business context I believe ‘Love’ encapsulates the Quadruple Bottom Line.


Who better to support this idea than the shrewd and renowned, billionaire investor, Warren Buffett, mentioning it not once but three times in this interview?



And let’s hear it for B Corp!


It’s wonderful to watch the B Corp world grow exponentially, as more and more businesses worldwide (including 2,000 in the UK alone) stand up and become certified by B Lab. Its approach encapsulates the Quadruple Bottom Line concept.


So, what’s your focus going to be?


Firstly, focus at least as much, if not more, on long-term sustainable Profits than on short term gains.


Work on your business’s culture; invest in your People. Think about your company’s core values from all stakeholders’ viewpoints.


For your Planet initiatives, scrutinise every aspect of your business's operations to gain green wins and reduce your carbon footprint wherever you can.


When you’re thinking about your business’s Purpose (why does it exist other than to make money, which is a given), dig deep and articulate it honestly.


Authenticity can’t be faked.


This is the way


I’m working with dozens of entrepreneurs who are embracing the Quadruple Bottom Line concept through B Corp certification. It makes good business sense on every level. And how encouraging to see the Better Business Act campaign here in the UK gain more and more momentum.

That's what I mean by shaping how we do business together.


If you’d like to discuss this empowering topic with me, do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.


References

(1) Wolfe. B, Sheth. J, Sisodia. R (Authors) (2003). Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose. Pearson FT Press. In this book, the authors used this model to measure twenty-eight corporations over a 15-year period, eighteen of which were publicly listed. These widely-loved public companies outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index by huge margins, over ten, five, and three-year time horizons. The public 'FoEs'; returned 1,026 per cent for investors over the ten years ending June 30, 2006, compared to 122 per cent for the S&P 500; that’s more than an 8-to-1 ratio!


(2) The term 'triple bottom line'; was coined by John Elkington in 1994. Elkington introduced the concept in his book 'Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business'; published in 1997. The triple bottom line framework expands the traditional reporting framework to include social and environmental performance in addition to financial

performance.


(3) The term "quadruple bottom line" does not have a single, widely recognised origin or a specific individual who coined it. The concept emerged as an extension of the triple bottom line, integrating an additional dimension, often governance, culture, or spirituality, to the existing social, environmental, and financial performance metrics. The term began to appear in academic and business discussions in the early 2000s as organisations and thought leaders sought to further expand the framework for sustainability and corporate responsibility.

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