The Money Comes Last

Back in December I wrote an article called All About The Money. My basic point was that many great entrepreneurs are money motivated. And I have no problem admitting that I am money motivated as well.

The day after I wrote this Dave Willams came out with this Facebook post:

The problem with business is that the #1 goal taught is to maximize shareholder wealth. This can't be done without first focusing on maximizing employee, customer and corporate health first. Shareholder wealth is an outdated and shortsighted metric.

I agree with Dave 100%.

Being all about the money does not equal maximizing profit or short-term shareholder wealth. It does not mean putting the money first. The money is a single leg of a four legged chair.

First and foremost a company has to focus on doing an excellent job of serving customers. It all starts with customers. Customers are what create value.

Secondly a company must provide meaningful work for its employees. It must do this for no other reason than without providing such work for employees it will not be able to retain them. If a company can not retain employees it can not do an excellent job of serving customers. Moreover, customers can tell when the employees that they communicate with are not provided meaningful work. They can hear it in their words and see it in their actions. Employees are the brand. Treat them well.

Third, a company has to be a force for good in its communities. It has to be a good corporate citizen. It must do so to provide meaningful holistic work for its employees. Which is required to do an excellent job of serving customers.

Fourth, a company must deliver (or make a reasonable promise to deliver) exceptional returns to investors. Without doing so the company can not be an force for good in its communities, provide meaningful work for its employees, or do an excellent job of serving customers.

So being all about the money is really being all about the community, the employees, and the customers. It all starts with an intense focus and passion for the customer. 

The customer comes first. The money comes last.

I would be remiss not to mention that this point of view is heavily derived from the written misison of MindSpring Enterprises, Inc. and the beliefs that I developed during my time with the same company.

January 9, 2014  |  Comments  |  Tweet  |  Posted in Customer Focus, Entrepreneurship, Management