Many think profits are a bad word. Given the recent events of greed leading to many losing their jobs and retirement portfolios, it’s understandable that many have a negative view of business. Besides, some feel that greed is a necessary motivation to create profit, therefore, profits are inherently bad because they are based on an impure motive. However, I will propose that:
Profits are a core purpose for business.
Why? Because profits provide sustainability. It doesn’t do us any good to fulfill the other purposes of business if we’re here today and gone tomorrow. We can’t fulfill our core purposes of creating products that enable a community to flourish and for the jobs that allow individuals to express their God-given creativities and passions if we can’t sustain in the first place.
In addition, profits provide margin for the business, which translates into margin for the employees in the form of paid vacations and for the community in the form of corporate donations to various community projects and causes.
In short, profits provide sustainability and margin – both of which enable the ongoing experience of the other two purposes.
Like the other purposes, this purpose can be perverted. When higher profits become the main focus for running a business, this purpose has been perverted. When profits are used to justify unethical behavior, this purpose has been perverted.
Profits must be kept in balance with the other core purposes of business. For example, when too much payroll leads to losses instead of profits, the purpose to provide an outlet for creativity and passion has been elevated too far over profits. When we focus on creating products that help a community thrive, but they can’t be produced at a profit, then we’ll soon lose ability to sustain the business and that will hurt the community. Profits are good, not a necessary evil. They lead to sustainability, rest and the opportunity to give to those in need.
When we sum up it up, God’s purposes for business can be described as follows:
- Products: Business exists to provide products and services that allows the community to flourish
- Passions: Business exists to provide individuals an outlet for their creative talents and passions
- Profits: Business exists to provide sustainability to the first two purposes through the creation of profits
Bill English, CEO