Purpose Beyond Profit

Profit, defined by Webster is money that is made in a business, through investing, etc., after all costs and expenses are paid: a financial gain.1 When you first think about corporate marketers, accountants, lawyers and real-estate agents, what come to mind? If you would have asked me eighteen months ago what I thought the definition of profit was, I would define profit similarly to Webster. You see, I would classify today that this is where the traditional myth lies. Theories like those that believe profit maximization is what business is all about, are wrong. Originating with those that seem to have a narrow view of human nature and how insufficient explanations as to how business success is gained. The true essence of business should be to transform the lives of those who are not able to do so on their own.2 It should be to create stakeholder value for those who are able to invest, so that others can be transformed throughout the longevity of the business.

Great business owners like John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods Market, have come to this realization. Mackey understands that we need cannot let the corporate industry keep believing that by creating free-enterprise capitalism, we will create a prosperous middle-class that brings wealth to the entire economy.3 Wealth cannot be concentrated in one area of the economy.4 Now believe me, I am not saying that we should distribute the economies’ wealth between everyone is a safe practice. I am saying that we need more business owners to realize that business should not solely be to maximize profits and discredit the ethics of the company—we’ve seen that with many companies in the past, some within the past year.

Looking at Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing, a short, exhilarating book, teaching on the concept of how we can construct a business into something that gives power and prosperity to those in need, states that commerce is certainly real. Entrepreneurial capitalism can do more than take away the mindset of profit maximization over better business ethics—it can even alleviate the poor by empowering those in need, taking away the need for aid relief.5 Companies like HOPE International have certainly put this into practice. Creating the ability to empower the poor by enabling them to be entrepreneurial and start their own business is certainly a new and improved attitude of how to run a company.

 

 

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