Author Deepak Chopra: Forget exit strategy, focus on this

Deepak Chopra speaks at eMerge Americas in Miami.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Deepak Chopra speaks at eMerge Americas in Miami.

Here's a tip for entrepreneurs: Don't just focus on making money. Focus on changing lives.

That was the advice to business leaders from Deepak Chopra, M.D., an author and founder of the Chopra Foundation, during an interview at eMerge Americas in Miami on Tuesday.

"I spend a lot of time in Silicon Valley. When I go to Silicon Valley I like to sit in the lounge or the restaurant of the Four Seasons just to eavesdrop on people pitching. And I keep hearing this word that causes a lot of distress and it's 'exit plan,'" Chopra said.

"So, before you've decided to rob the train you are already dividing the loot. And I think that is the wrong approach to entrepreneurship. You should be asking yourself 'How can I affect the life of people? How can I improve their well-being?'"

Chopra, a holistic health advocate and the author of more than 20 books, said business leaders should be taking a different approach to how they run their company, focusing on the whole system and not just one part of it. This means making sure more than just investors are happy.

"Try and figure out who your constituency is. In a business, your constituency is your investors, but it's also your employees, it's also your customers and if you are only thinking about your investors and how to bring money back to them, then that's not a long-term good success story," Chopra said.

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"If your employees are happy, your customer will be happy. If your customers are happy your investors will be happy. So look at the bigger ecosystem and change the mentality."

Entrepreneurs should practice "enlightened leadership," which means being a good listener and understanding the emotions of human beings, Chopra said. A business is an ecosystem and successful business leaders must practice being aware of what is needed in that ecosystem to make it thrive, he said.

Improving the overall well-being of humankind should be the ultimate goal for every business, Chopra added.

"We are living in a global society, all of the barriers are breaking down. The old-fashioned idea that your country is the limit of your entrepreneurship is out," he said. "Your business has to be global, it has to affect people. You have to ask yourself: How is this going to change the behavior or the well-being?"

But it's not just small start-ups that should be taking a holistic view of their business. Chopra is working alongside hedge fund trader Paul Tudor Jones to bring awareness to how big companies are impacting humanity.

"What we have done is put together a board of directors to develop a new index that hopefully will compete with Dow Jones and S&P to actually reward those companies with recognition, those that are indeed improving the quality of life on the planet," he said.

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The board of the organization, which is called Just Capital, aims to publish the list of companies by the end of the year, he said.