Business and money

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This is business. We make a thing, and we sell it at a profit. The money we make enables us to continue to create something that people want, and to support our customers as they use our product.

Rachel Andrew on ‘the Business of Web Dev: The Local Shops of the Web’ from A List Apart

The other day I was speaking to my boss about the reasons for being in business.

At the very basic level, a person is in business because he or she can provide a product or service to society that proves valuable to that society to the point that other members of that society are willing to trade their own services or products for what the first person can offer.

This is not about making money. This is about survival. We seem to have forgotten that.

Money, however, is how we measure value in our society. So we try to make as much of it as we can to prove our value.

But sometimes we cheat.

Remember when the teacher at school used to say “if you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself”? You thought that was bullshit, but it’s not.

When you’re cheating at business you’re pretty much pretending that your value is higher than it is. At some point people are going to realise that they’ve been duped and your value will drop to even lower than before.

If you want to not cheat, you have to work out how you can best be valued. That part is difficult because it takes honesty, time and humility.

A problem I’ve had with people building businesses just to flip them is that it implies that they are not committed to the product they’re making.

Where I work, we create things to improve other businesses. We help people achieve their real value. Those people show us their appreciation of our value by giving us money and we use that to show the value of employees and help improve our own business.

We’re not in business to make money. We make money to stay in business.