The Purpose of Business

The Purpose of Business

The only reason to be in business is to make a profit, right?

Back in 1970, economist Milton Friedman stated that ‘the sole purpose of business is to maximise profit for shareholders’. If this is the case, what about the huge number of businesses who start up to make a difference, achieve something, prove something or change something. Are they all wrong? It is not just the start-ups either.

There is a large movement of organisations who are trying to make both a profit and a difference, to have a ‘Purpose’.

But what is the benefit of this?

Firstly, we love the brands that are trying to change things. We love them and aspire to them. Take Patagonia – who once stopped making one of their best-sellers because of the environmental damage it was causing. Lush, Body Shop, Booths, Green & Blacks, Dove, Innocent, Cooperative, Apple. Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start with Why’ and TED Talk help to explain more about why consumers want this.

“We know that consumers want brands with purpose. Global spending on ‘responsible consumption’ products is $400bn” Keith Weed, Unilever

But that is just consumers. What about your staff? Would you rather work for an IT company that fixes computers or one where you are a superhero? Having a purpose for your brand that is real (not just a marketing spin) and bought into by the whole organisation helps your staff buy into the organisation and feel really proud about what they do.

‘The ability to attract and hold the best of the knowledge workers makes up an organisation’s comparative advantage, which will ultimately help them survive’ Peter Drucker

So what can you do?

Define your passion and the change you are making in your business.

Here at the Harrison Network we are shaping the businesses of the future, through helping people and organisations think differently, perform brilliantly and be strong strategically. Get in touch if you want some help defining your purpose.

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