What is the focus of your business? Profit or significance? Should there be one preferred over the other? Do they produce the same outcome?

I read a great book this Sunday, and one of the points the book brought up was this: “Are you working your business for profit or are you working your business to create significant impact in the lives of those around you?”

One might think that a business that focuses on significantly impacting the lives of those around it might be lacking and produce less profit. Can a business that focuses on improving the world and making it a better place be truly profitable?

The answer is a definite “Yes”. Businesses can be great corporate citizens in this world and be profitable at the same time. They can do business and do good in their communities.  As my business friend Chuck Blakeman says…”Live well, by doing good.”

I see businesses now a days being challenged to devote a percentage of their profits to social good. I support this idea. I am taking a part of my profits to help give kids computer skills. I plan to matter when my life comes to an end.

Profit alone will not propel a business into greatness. And in this world of social media, people know the difference. People can rally around a great business and rave about it to others. I see Facebook having to make a choice in the future in this regards. I trust that they will focus on doing good first.

A business that is solely focused on profit alone may not have a significant social impact in the minds of the people who view it. If people perceive that the business is not concerned with the welfare of its customers, it may not go well in this social media “World of Mouth” marketplace.

For me, I have to re-examine what my focus is. Am I trying to make the world a better place or am I simply looking to make money? I believe that if I improve the lives of businesses around me and help them do better, I can also do well financially. In the end, it comes down to my focus.

What will this be for you? Is the purpose of your business just to make money or is it to leave a legacy in this world?

I suspect that a primary focus on creating significance will lead to a bigger business vision. I also suspect that a bigger vision will return a greater profit. What do you think?