The #1 Purpose of a Business

The #1 Purpose of a Business

I’ve mentioned before that I speak to my family regarding some of the things I write about.  I got into a really interesting conversation with a family member.  It actually started out by her asking for my opinion on some college work she was doing.  Now mind you, she was getting her Master’s Degree in business at the time.  She was having issues because she was not getting something right and her mentor was trying to steer her in the right direction without giving her the answer.

So she asked me what I thought the purpose of a business was.  I couldn’t help it.  I started laughing.  Hey, this is family.  I don’t have to be as circumspect with them as I do at work.  I asked if she was kidding and she looked at me really perplexed and said no.  I sobered up pretty quickly and said that it depended on what type of business it was but there were only two things it could be, to make a profit or provide a service.  She said that was ridiculous.  What about ideals the company may be trying to promote?  What about the goals the company was trying to achieve?  (Talk about over-thinking a problem).  I responded, all of which would not be possible if they aren’t making money to support the company.  Even non-profits need money to function.

This particular family member is nothing if not stubborn so I’ll spare you the ensuing discussion but let me be very clear to you.  You are probably in the private sector.  In your case the purpose of a business is to make a profit.  It never dawned on me that someone wouldn’t understand this but that’s what this whole blog is about, giving information that people assume is already known.  It’s important that you do understand what a business is for.

I’ve seen quite a few people over the years who started thinking the business was about them.  These people started feeling something beyond the norm was owed to them.  They felt the company should not penalize them for being late a lot.  They felt they should be able to spend as much time on the phone as they wanted.  They felt any form of trying to rein in their non-productive behavior was abuse.  These people felt every single thing they did while on duty, such as speaking to the utility company about their bill or making a doctor’s appointment, was of major importance and that the company should understand that and not question it.  In essence, they began to feel the business was about them and that the business should bend to their needs.  They were wrong.  The business was not about them.  It never was but they lost sight of that.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the end result was.

This can happen anywhere but civil service seems to have a bit more of a problem with it.  A lot of that is due to the process required to fire someone.  It takes longer to get something done because the attempts to correct the actions have to be documented but a civil servant can be fired too.  Don’t let it be you.  Always remember the business is not there for you, it’s there for itself.  If you get in the way of what it needs to do to survive you will be the loser, not the business.

Circumspect – wary and unwilling to take risks.

Perplexed – completely baffled; very puzzled.

Ensuing – happen or occur afterward or as a result.

Rein – to check or guide.