Business is not a popularity contest

In the book The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau, he interviews a lot of entrepreneurs and shares insights in how each one got their start. One interview that I found inspiring is with Naomi Dunford and here is what she said about business:

Remember that the goal of business is profit. It’s not being liked, or having a huge social media presence, or having amazing products that nobody buys. It is not having a beautiful website, or perfectly crafted email newsletters, or an incredibly popular blog. In larger businesses, this is called accountability to shareholders. Business is not a popularity contest.

It’s easy to look at others followers, retweets, and shares and compare ourselves, but when it’s related to business none of that matters. Sure it helps, but it isn’t the goal. The goal is profit.

2 Replies to “Business is not a popularity contest”

  1. I find this concept is sometimes hard to swallow. Most of us want to be likable, especially in the Laravel community where acceptance and sharing of ideas seems to be some of its core values.

    isn’t there more to it though? At least in my mind (I am very independent/individualistic oriented) there is a huge “but” looming: not at the detriment of others. Making a profit should not be a primary concern if one of the side-effects is harm (be it willful or unintentional) to others.

    If you come to realize that your business is negatively affecting others, it is your duty to right the ship and bring your company back on track. “Leave this world a little better than you found it.” (Baden-Powell, Baden-Powell’s Last Message, 1941) is something that should be right next to making a profit. These two principles (profit and improving the world around us) should serve as a guide to keeping your company on-track and your concience clear.

    Thanks for posting this thought-provoking article. It is important to think about these things now and again. 🙂

    1. Yes, it all works together. I’m a firm believer that if profit is only motive then you are going to fail. The customer always comes first and if you “harm” others then the word of mouth is going to kill you, especially as a small business.

      What I was attempting to hit on in this article is that popularity is not something to define you or your business. I’ve known lots of profitable small businesses yet have almost no followers, then you see the opposite. Lots of followers, no income.

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