Why money-grubbing profiteering is the key to sustainability

Let’s face it. You think profit is a dirty word. 

After all, if you’re taking someone’s money, that someone must be losing because they’re giving it to you, right? So, the logic is that there’s nothing about making a profit that benefits others, is there?

We’re led to believe that profit-making is evil.

But what if I’m to suggest that profit is not taken from someone else but created by you? 

Does that make you feel any better?

You’re Making Money? How dare you!

Every business owner I’ve ever met wants to make their business successful, which means, to be blunt, making money.

Why profit making is key to sustainability. A gold calculator on a marble desk next to a gold pen.

I’ve lost count of the websites, magazine articles and blog posts with titles such as “How I Make $10,000 per Month, How I Grew My Business to 6-figures in Revenue, ” “Million Dollar Marketing”, etc. These articles reflect the readers’ desire to make money and are popular.

However, there is also a common perception that the only way to make money is by doing harmful things, such as exploiting workers, charging a fortune for products and services or reducing their quality. In addition, many people don’t feel comfortable selling the products and services they’ve spent time and resources creating. After all, the key to sustainability and being a good person is putting people before profits, right?

This means many people often feel guilty for trying to persuade others to buy their products. It can be awkward when telling other parents that you couldn’t attend your child’s tenth game of the season because you were working on your business. Social media can make you feel even worse when you read those self-righteous posts where the writer faux-apologises for not being the “money-motivates-me gal”.

But not making money so also means you will likely miss out on succeeding and creating the life you’ve always dreamed of by helping others.

The REAL Key To Sustainability

Sometimes, how people talk can make it feel like if you’re succeeding, you must have put profit before people and the planet, bullied customers into buying your products, or put employees into working hard for you.

But, in reality, these beliefs neglect the real reason that sustainable businesses can provide jobs,  help improve the world and make a positive difference in people’s lives: they make money. It’s key to sustainability.

After all, no business can survive without cash, and no one person can force anyone else to buy anything. We all make our own decisions. You’re not reading this blog post because someone’s forced you to. You’re reading it because you’re interested. Likewise, I didn’t buy my last Americano because I was made to. I bought it because I wanted it (to stay awake during a law class…).

So, if someone’s buying your goods or services, whether homemade jewellery, a coloured print for your wall, or your social media service, it’s because they want it. 

They want it because it fulfils a desire to look good, make a beautiful home, or outsource some of their business tasks. Whatever the reason, they want what you offer and are prepared to pay you for your time and expertise. 

I am hopeless at jewellery design and will happily buy it. Likewise, I can’t draw or paint well, so I’m content to pay someone to make something I can hang on my wall. I’m also always happy to pay someone to clean my car………..

Delighting Your Customers Helps Them Out

A great business product or service is about delighting customers and meeting a true want or need. It’s about highlighting its benefits so well that you don’t need to force it on people. Don’t we buy jewellery or paintings because we like their look and/or appreciate the skill required to produce them? 

So, if you’re solving a real problem or providing someone pleasure, aren’t you helping people? And isn’t that what good people are supposed to do?

And if it’s not you giving your passion and expertise to help solve a problem, it will be someone or something else. 

However, with the best will in the world, solutions to problems cost money. And this money represents the skill, experience and resources of the problem solver – you. 

You Are Your Profit

You can use cheaper materials or fewer staff, but you can’t make your products or provide services without your expertise. And that’s the value you add. It’s what the profit of your business reflects. And it’s the key to sustainability.

If you’re not aware of the necessity of making money in your business, and you believe that profit is evil, then your business will never survive because you’re not placing any value on your own skills, experience and time. And if you don’t, who else will?

If all you’re doing is covering your material and administration costs, you’re not making money. This means you’ll have nothing to use to put towards the impact you want to make, whether that’s providing an innovative new product that could change the world, a high-quality service that makes others’ lives easier, or providing people with a livelihood.

And no parent I’ve ever met thinks it’s easier to support a family when you’re not making money. Making money can help support your family and build the life you want. Making money means you can create that job in your business and help support another family. Making money means you can spend more on buying products and services from other businesses, multiplying the beneficial effects! 

Let Others Benefit From Your Genius!

Changing your views on making a profit allows people to benefit from your offerings. And if your offer helps to reduce someone’s negative environmental impact, improve someone’s life or use resources more efficiently, then you’re behaving sustainably, too.

Providing benefits to others moves you towards success and the lifestyle that you want.

Ultimately, providing value to society is the only way to sustain profitability and succeed. And this is exactly what economist Peter Drucker argued in 1954:

It is the customer who determines what a business is.  It is the customer alone whose willingness to pay for a good or for a service converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods… And what the customer buys and considers value is never a product.  It is always utility, what a product or service does for him.

Peter Drucker, Economist

So, making a profit isn’t money-grubbing at all. It’s the value you’ve added to your products and services. And it’s made a positive difference to at least one other person, possibly more. 

Next time you feel guilty or awkward for daring to consider, let alone making, a profit, remember that money makes the world go round. And the profit you make is the benefit you’ve provided.

So, go help others, use your skills and experience to grow that sustainable business, and make that money! You deserve it.

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