The primary purpose of business should be to create a greater good for society — one that society values enough to reward us for our efforts. No, the purpose of business is not coming in at one cent over estimates for this quarter. That’s a game. No, we don’t give away our labors, either; we deserve our fair share for meeting a genuine need. A profit is an indicator that we are indeed meeting a need. However, anything more than what a free market would grant us is a game. Monopolies, oligopolies, tariffs, legislative favors and imperfect knowledge all indicate a less-than-free market, and we can play them for short-term gain—and, then, move on.

This is an idealistic viewpoint, I know. But it comes from years of being in the nitty gritty of this quarter’s numbers at large corporations and years of sweating out the day-by-day survival of my own businesses. I am idealistic, but not naíve. In the end, I believe that conducting one’s self according to certain ideals is the only way to be successful in life, and it is also the only way to be successful in business.  Ethos does matter.

****This is an excerpt from my article Financial Meltdown: A Management Perspective (Baseline Magazine)

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Faisal Hoque (faisalhoque.com) is Founder, Chairman, and CEO at BTM Corporation (www.btmcorporation.com) and founder of research think-tank BTM Institute (www.btminstitute.org). His newest book is The Power of Convergence (www.thepowerofconvergence.com). Follow him on Twitter @faisal_hoque (https://twitter.com/#!/faisal_hoque). © 2012 Faisal Hoque

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