There is no doubt that money plays an important role in business. But it should not be the main objective of doing business. You may argue that without keeping the focus on money, your business will not survive. That’s true. But what will happen when you achieve your financial goal or personal luxuries from that business? You will lend up yourself with no further motivation in the business. In such a case, you will lose focus and business growth start declining.
Your objective to do the business should be beyond money. And of course, money should become the by-product of that business. With this, you will continue doing business year on year. Even your legacy will continue for decades. Money is just the universal benchmark that we can use to measure performance in business.
“I was worth about over $1 million when I was 23, and over $10 million when I was 24, and over $100 million when I was 25, and it wasn’t that important, because I never did it for the money.” – Steve Jobs
If you compare business to sports, money plays the role of the score. Better scores mean better performance and help you play the game at higher and higher levels, compete with better and better players. Of course, you feel a sense of achievement when you are a winner in the business game.
The below excerpt is from ‘The Billion Dollar Secret’ by Rafael Badziag. Here you will find the opinion of self-made billionaires on this aspect.
Do Not Equate Success with Money
Michał Sołowow, the wealthiest person in Poland, likens it to the Olympics, where you get the gold medal as a symbol of your victory. But it’s not the gold in the medal that you crave: In business, things are as in every sports discipline: the runner at the Olympics runs for a medal. That medal will hang only on his own chest. From this medal, he will have lucrative advertising contracts and appearance fees for participation in meetings later on. But when he stands on a podium and they play him the national anthem of his country, then he is moved, happy that he did something for people, that he fulfilled those people’s craving for emotion and pride.
Mohed Altrad, the World Entrepreneur of the Year 2015, cautions not to equate success with money: Don’t consider money as an objective, but as a sign of success. It’s one of the signs of success. The success of the organization is to be sustainable, in which people are happy, in which humanity finds its foundation. That’s the success. Tell me, what’s the difference if you have 1 billion Euros in your pocket or 2 billion Euros? It doesn’t really make a difference.
If the Only Objective Is Money Then You Will Fail
Mohed made it quite clear with this story he told to Rafael Badziag: I met a lot of people who started the business more or less at the same time as me. Their objective was to create an organization they could sell at a high price at a given moment. Some of them failed immediately. Some of them reached some level of success, and somebody offered them, say, 1 million Euros for their business. They said, “That’s not enough. I’ll carry on. I want to grow it further.” And then maybe a few years after, they were offered 100 million Euros. They said, “Not enough. I want 1 billion Euros.” Then they worked hard to reach 1 billion Euros. Unfortunately, they failed. They went bankrupt. They got zero. That’s to say, if your company’s only objective is money, this is a failure.
Motivation is the main difference between the billionaires and the millionaires. If you do it for money, to live in luxury, you will lose your motivation as soon as you have reached that level, and you stay a millionaire or even lose it all, when your business suffers. But if you are motivated by competition, by winning, when the business game itself excites you, then you will keep on growing your company, and only then do you have a chance to reach billions.
It is About Never Settling
Answer from Petter Stordalen, called the Hotel King in Scandinavia, about wealth-building advice. His answer: Billionaires don’t do it for the money. It’s not the money that drives them, but the fun of the game. It is about never settling, never getting comfortable, never longing for retirement. If you just try to get rich, you’ll never get there. If you find and do what you love, you might stand a chance. For that also you need to prepare for very hard work. Do you think money can be a motivation? The game, the competition. That’s the thing. And that’s why I say, if you start with a calculator in your hand, you will go nowhere. I think a lot of people will have the same motivation as I have. Some do it in academia. Not much money. In science, not much money. But they still have the same thing. They get the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm or Nobel Prize in Stockholm in medicine or in physics or in chemistry.
Peter Hargreaves built Hargreaves Lansdown, the go-to financial services company in the United Kingdom with over $120 billion under management. Considering the industry he is in, Peter shared surprising reasons for his success: I think there are two reasons for my success. One is I love it, and the other one is I never did it for what money brought me, even though money keeps the score; I did it purely for success. I know another guy who’s worked in this industry, and he always thought he was more successful than me, and of course, the last few years have proved otherwise, but he did it for the money, whereas I did it because I enjoyed it, and that was the most important thing. And I loved every minute of it. I’d go back and do it again.
“Live life for a very good purpose” was the most valuable advice that Ron Sim has gotten in his life. You are here for a purpose. Find it and do your best out of your life and in business.