It’s Not about the Money

Watch this video.

Jessie J does a great job of explaining the demise of certain cultural elements into an inexhaustible quench for money. Often, this is done at the expense of developing personal relationships and helping people within the community. Ironically, she is worth $8 million as a one hit wonder. Did you know that this song is about your small business?

True story.

As a culture, we have lost our way. News announcements of companies laying off thousands of people has become common place. We watch unemployment statistics like sports scores. Many of the world’s largest companies (the biggest organizations mankind has ever seen) are losing CEO’s to corruption scandals and arrests. It’s a mess.

Corruption has fallen to many of the small businesses as well. People start businesses and rent storefronts on debt, transitioning every customer into a bill pay opportunity.

When I sat down to write this, it started as an effort to explain how the joy of business ownership comes from serving your customers and surrounding community. But I don’t think that’s necessarily as important as this.  Jessie is talking about community, about caring for the people around you. So, this is a manifesto, if you will. A manifesto for using a business as the blessing it is. It’s your business, use it to create jobs and change the lives of your employees, AND to make success for yourself. Take care of your family. Help people and provide service that big corporations cannot. Be unique. Change lives. Leave a mark on the world.

But I have to make a buck first

No you don’t. You don’t have to give up anything or close your doors, even for an hour. Here are a few examples of people and small businesses who have made great impact on their community, things that you should be doing with their career.

  • Two local barbershop owners in San Benito, TX gave free hair cuts to a school of children, to say thank you to the community.
  • Tech Authority in Reidsville, NC gives scholarships to the local community college to students pursuing Information Technology.
  • Once a month, PowerCycle Studio in Lincoln, NE opens their gym for free sessions and take donations for a local charity to encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle.
  • The Station Inn, a bluegrass music venue in Nashville, TN, opens the doors every Sunday and let’s anyone play on the internationally acclaimed stage. Young children get to play on the same stage as Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss and Dierks Bentley.

This is only a small list from an easy Google search. If you set your mind to it, you should be able to easily think of more than a dozen ways to give back to the community. You should be doing things to help your community, even if you are starting out. 82% of Americans consider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) when making a purchasing decision (Echo Research.) How will you fair in that decision process?

If you own a business and you are not giving back to the community in some way, then you are only in it for yourself and do not deserve success.

Can you see the picture being drawn here? The transactions and cash flow at the end of the month with your career are a very small piece of what you are doing. At the end of the day, it’s about your customers, your brand and your community. It’s not about the money.