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The 2 Reasons you might be in Business

There are two and only two reasons you might be in business (this is an either/or situation). At the end of this post you may even understand the real difference between what you do and what some other businesses do based on your different perspective about why you are in business.

The first reason is you are in business to make money. You are in business to maximise profits and/or shareholder wealth. That’s not a bad thing, but if it’s the fundamental reason you’re in business then admit that what you do well is make money.

The second reason to be in business is you want to fill a social need not currently being met by Government. You want to provide a service or product you are passionate about. A side effect of doing that well is that people will give you money. And if you do extremely well and they continue to give you money there is a sustainable business. There is a concept of enough money.

This is where being (or buying from) a large profit maximising corporation is different from the local farmer’s market, apiarist, artist, craft brewer, mazer or food producer. It comes right down to why businesses are in business. And, unfortunately, once you’re in business to make money the first casualty is often ethics. Whereas, if you’re a passionate business person trying to meet an unmet need your primary focus is from the product (and customer) up; not the business profits down. So you have far more ethical incentive.

Don’t misinterpret this to mean there aren’t any small businesses out there in it for the money. There certainly are a lot of those, too. But there would not be one corporation beholden to shareholders that was anything except a profit maximisation scheme for investors. This is the entire meaning of existence of a corporation. If it wasn’t that way there would be no investors. Big oil, big tobacco, big fast food – they want your money. That’s it. Their relationship is about the transaction.

Every night before you get into bed ask yourself again why you’re in business. Profit? Or passion? The answer will determine a whole lot of interesting decisions about how you set about running your business.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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