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DOING GOOD – THEN DOING WELL

The American capitalistic system has spawned a great variety of business ventures. Not all organizations follow the same business model. Just like individual people, businesses take on characteristics and values (a culture) that make them unique.

We all know business organizations and professionals whose sole mission is to “make a pile of money”. A slum landlord would be an extreme example of this business model, providing minimal services and cutting corners in order to maximize profit. Typically, this entity will have a high turnover of disgruntled employees, dissatisfied customers, and a reputation that ultimately causes the business to tank. Most people prefer to avoid this kind of business entirely.

We also know individuals and business organizations whose mission is to “do good”. This model provides extraordinary service, treats its employees and customers with respect, reeks integrity, and in the long run it usually “makes a pile of money”. It starts out “doing good”, and ends up “doing well”.

Jan and I were recently in Indiana for a family re-union. While in Fort Wayne, we toured a business by the name of Sweetwater Sound. The business originated in about 1979, with one individual with a VW Bus and some sound equipment. He traveled to his customers, and recorded their music. His reputation got around, and he expanded his business in the 1980s, using the latest technology then available. His service and innovation got the attention of some well known musicians, who enlisted his help in adapting to the new technology. Today, he has state-of-the art sound studios, 800 happy employees, and satisfied customers all over the world. He started out doing good, and ended up doing very, very well.

As a biker and a golfer, I have been a customer of many bike stores and golf shops over the past 50 years. Many of these places are no longer in business. However, I continue to do business with 2 local companies who have followed the “do good” model. Every time I go into Naples Cyclery or The Golf Guys, it is a positive experience. They reek integrity and service, and I suspect they are both “doing well”.