Does Business Need a Reason to Exist?

Does a business need a reason to exist? 

I’ve got a friend in the whisky industry who has a sort of guiding principle that I think is valuable.  He believes that a whisky needs a reason to exist in order to put effort into creating it in the first place. 

I think what he’s talking about is the opposite of the money grab combo. Design a fancy bottle, source something from a bulk supplier, bottle it, and then promote the crap out of it. 

An artist can feel that violation down to the tip of their barefoot toes. Or in the almighty words of Jeff Goldblum, “You are so preoccupied with whether you could, you never stopped to consider whether you should.”

It can be frustrating to put your heart into something and struggle to make it. It can be frustrating to watch people with no soul in their work walk away with armfuls of cash. 

But forget whiskey.  What about plumbing? HVAC? Jewelry?

Is the fact that you’re good at something and can make money reason enough for something to exist?

I think it could be. But only if it doesn’t stop there. 

I’ve heard Roy say a thousand times, “Passion follows commitment”. Which gives us two seemingly conflicting truths. 

On one hand, don’t burn away your days on something without depth and meaning. Life is too short, and our time on this planet is too fragile. 

But, as Niels Bohr said, “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”

Sometimes the importance of a job isn’t just in the technical aspects of execution. Sometimes it’s the deeper meaning behind the service you provide. You change the lives of your employees and the families that you help feed with your payroll. You take care of your customers. You keep houses safe and warm. 

There’s a deeper impact you can have on the world around you by simply doing something well with grace and thoughtfulness. Especially in the service industry. 

Maybe that’s the direction in which passion lies. 

Maybe that’s the reason your business exists.