Our Story of Business - Is it Time for a Change?
When we think of business, immediately we think of profit -- its like those two concepts are inter-changable. It's as if the primary purpose of any business is solely profit and often the more profit, the better.
I'm not saying that businesses shouldn't make money. But what I am saying is that I believe our society has gotten the story about what business is all about mixed up over the centuries.
It's like we have in the back of our minds that:
- the sole purpose of business is to make profit,
- the key characters in a business are the board members and shareholders, and
- customers are primarily a means to an end to accomplish making a profit.
But think back what it would have been like when the concept of commercial trade was at its very inception...
Imagine a small community where someone was really good at baking and their bread was desired by many. And someone else was really good at making shoes that were desired by everyone. Over time, it just made sense to divide and conquer so that people could enjoy each other's fruits of labour. Back then I would suggest that:
- the purpose of the exchange was to provide a valued service to a customer,
- the key characters were the producer and the customer, and
- money was merely a means for exchange (once the barter system outgrew itself).
So my question is: As business leaders, have we progressed or have we actually forgotten the true reason for being? This may appear like a moot point to some -- but it's a very fine line that can make such a fundamental difference in the approach and resulting decisions that are made.
To me, it's the latter and is the key reason as to why there are low levels of customer satisfaction in business today and the level of confidence people have of organizations has been on a decline. It's because the institution of business has forgotten its original story.
I propose that it's time for a new story. And the name of the story is "The True Purpose for Business is the Customer".
Interested in listening to an audio on this topic where Donna delves into this a bit more? Then click here to listen to her podcast episode.