The problem with profit

Focusing on profit as the Purpose of your business, has one major flaw: Your customers have no interest in supporting you to make money. They are quite happy for you to make a profit, but only after you have met their needs first.

There is a beautiful video on Youtube by Simon Sinek (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA&feature=youtu.be) another bestselling business author and management guru. In the video Simon states that “People don’t buy What you do, they buy Why you do it”.

In other words, your customers want you to explain to them why your business exists, what it is on this earth for and why they should care.

In working with my clients to find the deeper Purpose of their business, I always ask them those questions first and invariably I get the following three answers:

1.  We do great work
2.  At a great price
3.  And we give great customer service

Undoubtedly true, but first of all your customers expect those three qualities as a bare minimum, a starting point and secondly, your competition makes exactly the same three claims. Have you ever met a business owner who proudly claims to produce and average product at an average price with average customer service?

This is why you must find the deeper Purpose of your business.

Here are some example of deeper business Purposes:

1. An Architect’s business: Architecture that Inspires
2. A furniture factory: The Most Beautiful Tables in the World
3. An Electrical contracting business: You’re in Safe Hands

[table] If you were in the market for a table, wouldn’t you like to check out the furniture factory at number 2? Of course you would… I know I did.

You might be interested to know that all three of these businesses have been wildly successful and bucked their respective industry trends for years now.

How do you find it?

The process of finding and developing the deeper Purpose of your own business starts with asking yourself the following 7 questions:

1)    What are my 5 most important personal values, as they relate to business?
2)    What core beliefs do I hold about my business and industry?
3)    What do I get really excited about in business; what do I get out of bed for; what am I passionate about?
4)    What do I want my business to be the best in the world at?
5)    Who are my ideal customers?
6)    What do my ideal customers need or want that they are not getting at present?
7)     How can I address all 6 questions above and develop a long term sustainable, profitable business model around that?

I encourage you to involve others in brainstorming these questions with you. Working your way through them will put your business on an entirely different footing, I guarantee it.


Roland Hanekroot

Founder at New Perspectives Business Coaching

I'm a small business coach, mentor, and author on a mission to help Family business and small business owners build Great Small businesses and make Business Fun. Download my book for free at: http://funinbusiness.biz

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Jason Daniels

Jason Daniels , Principal Consultant at Yokon Consulting

Hi Roland, great article, and very relevant. Often, businesses that focus purely on profit do so at the expense of other, very important aspects - such as quality, people or sustainability. Many organisations nowadays follow Triple-bottom line (TBL) reporting as part of their yearly commitments and focus on the 3P's (People, Planet & Profit) - understanding that if any one of those areas is in excess, it normally comes at the expense of the other 2. In order to have a 'Healthy' and sustainable business (not just wealth/profit focussed), these 3 important areas need to be in harmony. I look forward to hearing from you about developing 'deeper purpose' mate. All the best!