All businesses, no matter the industry or size, can still grow and help make the world a better place. Leading with purpose and heart can take your business to new heights. When you put your values and purpose before profits, the world can tell, and they will support you.
We sat down with Sim Shain, founder and CEO of ParaFlight Aviation and OrganFlights.com, to learn more about the duty to society that all businesses share. Shain is led by personal passion because of a loss he suffered early on in his career. He started his business in his late friend’s memory and honor, and because of that gesture he has been able to save countless lives.
The business he started connects organ transplant teams with aircraft operators flying teams and life saving organs such as hearts, lungs and livers all over the USA and has built a system to speed up what used to be a devastatingly lengthy process. And it’s all done through an app — like Uber for organs.
Turning His Loss into Loss Prevention
Shain was a volunteer paramedic who met his friend Steve Zakheim during their response in NYC on 9/11. The duo dreamt up and implemented a plan to fly patients who needed to get to specialty hospitals on Zakheim’s private jet , but Zakheim fell ill, secondary to his exposure at 9/11 and ultimately passed away before his time. His wish was for Shain to finish what they started.
The loss spurred Shain’s motivation to prevent further loss in his own life and in the lives of others. Because of this mission, his business rose to greatness. And while we can’t imagine the mixture of feelings he must have about the entire situation, one thing is clear: Shain remains steadfast in his belief that running a business for purpose, values, and mission will forever be more valuable than starting a business simply for the money.
“It is a less glamorous truth — but still a fact – that a clear mission statement will cause your customer base to want to back you over your competitors. Although there are quite a few companies that provide similar services, we are always happy to work with our competitors as we all have the same goal – saving lives. Nonetheless, I feel that my brand is trusted by those who need to use my services,” said Shain. “They know that I have been through loss, and they know that my mission is to never say no to saving a life. And they are using that mission, not Sim Shain, not OrganFlights, but that mission, as a service.”
Here are his tips on creating real value in your business.
Culture does not mean ‘Casual Fridays’; it means holding yourself to a standard that is clear, relatable to your team, and easy to follow. It means walking the walk. As a basic example, if you want your company’s purpose to be bringing joy to others to spread light in the world, act like the kind of person that does that. Don’t just talk about it.
“Hire employees that fit your company culture,” said Shain. “Don’t go just based on resumes and hope you can mold your new hires later. You are curating a group of people the same way you curate your music playlist — put like things together.”
Stand Out by Not Trying to Stand Out
Flashy companies that are in it for the cash tend to be pretty obvious. From gimmicks to sales to poor product quality, our generation has come to be able to sniff out the duds pretty quickly. If you want to really stand out among your competitors, go back to basics.
“Provide real benefits for your employees and for your community,” said Shain. “Give back. Opt for healthcare plans, not Taco Tuesdays. If you can afford to do both, great. But these days, especially post pandemic, people want security. I think those who never wanted a nine to five anyway have already left the workforce. We are left with people searching for their forever home. Gimmicks won’t advertise you as their best bet.”
Repeat Your Belief in Your Company
Employees get down on themselves, that is just a fact of life. They get down on their work, their personal lives, and you as a boss. Bring your A game every single day, including your own personal flavor that reminds them why they accepted a position with you. This goes hand in hand with walking the walk. Be the inspiration around your workplace.
This belief, if you live it every day, will spread to your friends and family, employees, colleagues, potential investors, stockholders, fans, your customers, wherever you will it to go. And don’t think you have to be some sort of bubbly unicorn 24/7 — a humble, quiet CEO is just as effective as a boisterous comedian if that is what the company mission statement requires.
While we’re at it, Shain recommends that your company mission statement be a mirror of who you are.
“Ask yourself why you started this project,” he said. “Don’t try to be someone you’re not, inventing something you’re not. By staying true to you, you are able to wear your business purpose on your heart every day and be a shining example.”
Put another way, being authentic in everything you do should come easily if you are authentic when you decide on your company mission.
Profits Are Fleeting
“Focusing on real intentions as the backbone of your business will keep it sturdy for years to come. If you want to build an empire that will last long after you are gone, give it a purpose – a baton – that others will willingly pick up in your stead,” said Shain. “To a similar point, I recommend including innovation in your company goals. If you welcome individual thinking and problem-solving, your business stands a much higher chance of longevity. Being able to roll with the tides of each new decade is critical.”
About Sim Shain
Sim Shain, Founder and CEO of ParaFlight Aviation and OrganFlights.com, has led an impressive 29 year career working as a paramedic in the pre-hospital emergency medical space. He is a noteworthy leader who takes on challenging responsibilities leading corporate, medical, and charity flights and missions, specializing in organ transplants. For more information, please visit https://paraflight.aero/