Episode 215 – Mission and Margin: Having a mission is NOT enough!
You have to know that having a Mission is not enough.
You also need to have Margin.
Having a powerful mission is awesome.
It is convicting to your employees. it is convicting to your clients.
Your employees will feel amazing that the work they’re doing contributes to the world. They may endure tough times because of the inner passion. New hires may accept lower than market rates.
Until you can’t make payroll at all.
Your clients will feel that much better about paying their invoices to you as you send those “virtue signals” that your company is contributing to the world. They can be confident that your team is taking care of the environment, or whales, or helping an orphanage in Haiti, or pioneering the latest workplace wellness trend.
Until they can’t get someone on the phone and see that your website is turned off; the lights off, no one home.
If you don’t have a profit margin you will not be able to fund that mission.
Think of that great non-profit that you went to Haiti with one summer long ago. You may have called them lately and found that they’re close for business.
Think of that great local nitro beer truck that had a killer product. Yeah the guy struggled with a business plan, but he had a great product. Where is he?
No Margin = no Mission. Having a passion-filled mission may help you stay inspired. It may help your partners, team, employees, customers, or volunteers stay stoked.
But without Margin (and I mean P-R-O-F-I-T margin), your exciting, thrilling, and world-changing Mission will fail. It won’t be sustainable.
Margin Is Actually Better, But Not Great Without Mission
Invert the equation. What if you had all Margin but little-to-no Mission?
If all you have is profit margin and no mission, it is going to become static. At some point, your awesome employees will look for jobs elsewhere; they will just lose interest.
The business will fall fate to entropy. When people talk about your organization, people will throw in a ‘myeh’, as in: “They’re great over there, good product, nice people. But…myeh.”
Think of the hollow profitable businesses with high turnover. When you speak to the employees, they can’t stand. it will collapse eventually.
Think of Wal-Mart, IBM, Office Depot.
People will lose faith in businesses like these. This is not because they did anything wrong, but they didn’t do anything right. Or great. Specifically, they just didn’t add real value to the world’s Values.
Mission AND Margin are the Goal
You’ve got to have both Mission AND Margin to achieve your BIG GOAL.
Mission needs Margin. Margin needs Mission. You can’t have one without the other. Where are you lacking? How will you focus on bringing the other one up?
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