This will be the most radical sentence you read today. The purpose of life is not about profit. There, it is said. Yes, you say you know that - but do you live your purpose in life? Or, like most people, do you live to make a profit?
Profit is not the problem. Profit as our true purpose is where the real breakdown in this world has come. I want to take a moment to remind all of us where purpose and profit could meet, rather than where they normally meet.
Let's say your product and purpose is selling shoes. How can you do that to make the highest level of profit? Advertise how great the shoes are. Pretty shoes, cool shoes, functional shoes, and celebrity named shoes. Okay, maybe you are the latest and greatest or maybe not. The measure of your success is normally marked by profit made on a product.
But there is another way to sell shoes. What if the focus was not on the shoes, but how you sold them? This is where purpose and product and profit start to switch places. The purpose becomes the end, the shoes the means.
Instead of selling a shoe, you are promoting an idea. Let's say your idea is to help kids who have no shoes. You are tying your product to a Core Value. The Core Value is what you are selling, not the product. But the profit from your product is the fuel for your purpose.
This is what Tom's Shoes has done. Tom's purpose was to do good. Good requires money to fuel it. So he created a product he believed in (the means) to promote the purpose he believed in (the ends) - giving people with no shoes, shoes. The top of the tier was the idea or message or core value. The profit is really the bottom of the tier; it is only the fuel for the bigger purpose.
This is also what Zappos.com has done. They sold shoes online. The initial goal was to sell shoes for profit. But then the goal changed. The goal became great customer service. The real core value in this idea is respect for the customer. Respect for the employee. Zappos.com doesn't sell shoes, they promote respect, good will, and quality of service. The shoes that sell create the profit that fuels the purpose - respect of human as customer and employee.
I've bought several shoes from Zappos.com. On one pair of boots, the zipper didn't work properly. When I called about it I was told this was the last pair in that size. Then, something amazing happened. The woman on the other end of the line suggested I go to a shoe repair shop and if the price was reasonable, Zappos.com would pay for it.
What they bought in my respect and appreciation for what would have been just a few dollars was worth a lot more. And, I fixed the problem, so it cost them nothing but a few minutes of their time. But we both gained from that interaction and the gain was not in money or product - it was good will that can't be bought, but only earned.
I think this world could do with a bit more respect and good will, don't you?
Welcome to my Journey!
I'm inviting you to join me on my journey as I seek to find a new way of being in an old set of systems. It's hard, but worth it!