What’s Really the Point?


Recently I found myself watching the show Shark Tank. I’m sure most of you are familiar with this popular show where entrepreneurs face a group of would be investors and pitch their business. The sharks listen to these folks and sometimes ruthlessly attack their suitors and sometimes even turn on each other. They are called sharks in part because they are cold blooded in a way and focus on the numbers and the ability for a business to turn a profit. They are all about ROI.
I do not watch they show often but have seen half a dozen show over the years. For the first time, I saw one of the vignettes of Shark Tank success stories. The story was of Cousins Maine Lobster. Barbara Cocoran was the shark that invested in the business. The business is doing very well financially and has created lots of jobs for people in Maine as they continue to grow.
So why am I telling you this story? Cousins Maine Lobster received an award from the State of Maine for the role they are playing in creating jobs and boosting the local economy. The two owners and cousins, Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomacand, along with the shark, Barbara Cocoran, commented that knowing that they are making an impact in the community is “the best.”
Even though they are making a good profit and are positioned to make much more, the thing that is “the best” is positively impacting the lives of the folks that work for them. Of course, in business the numbers are vitally important, however, the huge payoff, from a real human perspective, is the positive impact on people. A business can be viewed as a spider web, stretch out in many ways with each strand of the web connected in some way to every strand. Or like the rock that is thrown into a pond creating ripples across it’s surface.
This is the reality of business and our economy wether it’s local or global. If your wife looses her job it effects the you, the kids, the extended family and friends. We have all experienced that. If that lay-off was only due to making a certain bottom line number I say the leadership dropped the ball somewhere.
The point of business can be to enhance lives and create opportunities to be fully self expressed both at work and at home. If you feel the only point to a business is to make money, for the sake of making money, I suggest you read the story of King Midas. In short, he was granted a wish in return for a good deed he had done. Everything he touched would turn to into gold. At first he loved this new power because he loved gold above all else. However, he soon came to realize he could not touch people because they would turn into gold as well. This gift had become a curse despite all the wealth he had.
I want to leave you with the thought that a business is a function of the actions of it’s people. The people are what’s really important. Positively impacting lives is the point. Profit is the result and more profit leads to a bigger impact. When you can make a positive difference in a persons life through your business and make the business, that will be in the words of Barbara Cocoran, “the best thing I’ve ever been a part of.”

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