Moving Beyond Profit: Support the WHY

It’s amazing how sometimes, just a tiny TINY little stir-of-the-consciousness can yield amazing insights.

That’s what just happened to me a few minutes ago. While scanning this morning’s Twitter feed, I saw this one:

It reminded me of an article I posted in early 2011 titledIs Profit Waste?where I posed the question of whether profit was just one of many kinds of waste – that is, overproduction of revenue. When companies talk about a desire to grow, usually they mean they need to figure out a way to grow their revenue stream (and often this means growing the organization, expanding the scope, or adding to product lines and service offerings). In fact, one of the strongest drivers for pushing innovation is that desire to grow.

But WHY? Why do you want to grow? It’s that question that the tweet above answered for me in less than 140 characters.

Here’s a company that’s not trying to sell you on the WHAT that they do. It’s a new company, so obviously they’re trying to get started, but they’re immediately clear about WHY they want to grow… they want to get more women into technology! And the clear outward sign of successful growth will be getting more women into technology. And oh – by the way – in order for us to pursue our PURPOSE of getting women into technology, we need to make some money, and to do this we’ve written our first app. And won’t you please buy it… because if you do, you can help us work to get more women into technology!

I love this. I think more of us should approach our business stories this way! Don’t focus on business growth or profit growth, focus on WHY you’re working in the first place and WHAT you want more revenue to spend on. If we support your mission, we’re more likely to support your product, even if it doesn’t meet all our needs. Furthermore, we’re more likely to want to work with you to enhance the products, expand your reach, and collaborate to achieve higher levels of quality and serendipitous innovation.


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