A Bias For More

The world of business—big business, small business, micro business—has a bias for more.

More revenue equals a more valuable company. More users equal a more valuable platform. More followers equal more valuable content.

And that bias for more has largely been passed on to us, too.

For years, I measured success in terms of making more money.

I figured I was doing all the right things if our revenue kept going up, up, up.

I sunk my resources—time, energy, money—into the pursuit of more.

If I was making more money, it proved I was a good business owner and a credible leader.

Here’s the thing:

Making more money doesn’t prove anything other than that you know how to make more money.

And that’s cool! The skill of making more money can be a useful one.

But that skill doesn’t do much on its own. It’s pretty useless if there isn’t a solid operation, caring team, and valuable offer behind it.

And yes, it is completely possible to make more money without a solid operation, caring team, or valuable offer (although, it won’t last long).

The bias for more—especially more money—sets up an ends-justify-the-means paradigm. Which is not to say that having a bias for more makes you a bad person or means you’re willing to do anything in the name of a bigger bottom line.

What I’m saying is that you’ll be constantly looking for the means to make more.

And the means to make more may not (really probably won’t) make your business run better, make your life better, or make the lives of your customers better.

What if, instead, we created a bias for better?

What if we were focused on the means for making our businesses run better, making our lives better, and making the lives of our customers better?

What if we were focused on the means for better enacting justice and positively impacting our communities?

What if we prioritized better ways to make people feel welcome and included?

What if better was our measurement for growth?

What if we gauged growth not by how much more money we made this year versus last year or how many more email subscribers we’ve converted or even how many more customers we’ve helped but—instead—by whether we received heartfelt responses to our communication, spent less time putting out fires, and made a meaningful difference in the lives of the people we sell to?

The thing about creating a business that runs really well, that has a positive community impact, that has inclusion built into its core…

…is that it has a nifty side effect of creating the capacity for earning more.

Just because you put your focus on building a business that runs really well and has a meaningful impact does not mean your business will make less money.

It means your focus is on an end that guides your choices toward more sustainable decisions first.

A business that has a solid foundation is primed to earn more—if you choose to—and grow in ways that are less harmful.

So if you’ve been waiting to earn more before you invest your time or energy in solid operations, sustainable people policies, or more humane procedures, I invite you to act now. Put your focus on building a better foundation and create the capacity for true growth.

Cover of What Works book by Tara McMullin

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