Purpose or Profit


If you look up the word success in a dictionary you’ll find a couple of different definitions. The first definition will say success is “the attainment of popularity of profit” and I think that is generally the definition most of us have in mind when we talk about successful businesses. But for that to be true, the main aim or purpose for a business venture would be profitability. And while all businesses must generate a profit in order to exist over the long-term, profitability, as a goal is incredibly short-sighted. I think that profitability is a byproduct of fulfilling your purpose and as such, doing the hard work of figuring out what we were made to accomplish and then setting about achieving that task is a much better definition of success. In fact that is the other definition you’ll find when you look in the dictionary “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”. As business leaders, we need to do the hard work of re-framing our thinking when it comes to success. So rather than asking what the bottom line looks like, we should be asking what are you called to do and how well are you doing at accomplishing that calling through your business?

Our company has a purpose that is not directly tied to what we do everyday. We design and manufacture wood flooring but our purpose has to do with orphan care throughout the world. A colleague once asked me, “if you are really focused on the orphan care work, why don’t you quit the wood business and do that full-time?”. But my response is why can’t I do both? Does one really detract from the other or does it greatly enhance the other. I can tell you, that in the last few years since we’ve found, focused on and followed our purpose it has greatly impacted our business in a number of ways. It’s made us better at what we do. And while it isn’t an easy question to answer, it will greatly impact your business as well.

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