Monday, December 14, 2009

The Problem With Business Today

I watched Food Inc. Friday night and found it very interesting and insightful. What I found so interesting though, wasn’t necessarily the point of the documentary. The point was to expose the food we eat and how it may not be the healthiest because of the way its grown/raised and brought to market. While that was eye opening, I believe this is only a symptom of a larger problem. That problem being the way those businesses are run and to a larger point the way business is run in general.

In an effort to cut costs and raise profits, our food has become a mass produced commodity. To a large degree most of the American economy has become the same thing. Gone are the days of creating the best product you can possibly create and if you are the best, making a nice profit. The end goal has become profit, which has sent a shock wave down the supply line. It doesn’t matter if you make the best product anymore. If you create a decent product at a cheap price, people will buy it, you will make big profits and the cycle continues.

This has slowly eroded the point of business in my eyes. The point of business shouldn’t be to make money. The point of business should be to create the best product/service possible. In doing that, your product/service will be the category leader and thus, profit will be created. Not only does this build trust with the consumer, it builds trust within the company and only makes a company stronger.

From an advertising perspective I think a change in the way businesses are run would improve advertising. When companies start cutting costs, one of the first places they go is advertising. But if the goal isn’t to be the cheapest, but to create the best product, you can invest in advertising, make it part of the product and in the end have a better product.

I understand the need to control costs and I know it sounds like I’m pushing advertising, but I’m not. A holistic change of business, shifting the almighty goal from profits to product greatness would alleviate the need for cut throat pricing, by giving the consumer a choice of greatness, not a choice of price.

Maybe this will happen naturally through the “open market”. The organic foods market is one market showing signs of people choosing the great product over the lower price. If more segments followed in their footsteps, I think business, as a whole would be improved.

What do you think about profits being the end goal for a business? Am I just being naive in thinking about the greater good?


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