What’s the point of business? For a long time, I thought the point of my business, dojo4, was simply to design and develop software for clients and make money in the process. That turned out not to be true.

Meaningful connections are good for us, our colleagues and employees, our customers, and ultimately good for business. Tweet This Quote

Milton Friedman, practicalist and Nobel Prize winning economist, said the point of business is maximizing profit for shareholders. Management visionary, Peter Druker, said the point of business is to create a customer. And Richard Branson says the whole point of business is to make a difference in the world.

I believe that as entrepreneurs our fundamental, core mission is to connect. Simplistically, that may mean connecting people with services, connecting people with products, connecting people with people, connecting people with information, etc. However, there’s a difference between connection and meaningful connection.

In my experience, essentially what makes connection meaningful is when it is based in purpose. But, in order to know that purpose, we each have to do the work to find out what is deeply meaningful for each of us, personally. We have to connect with ourselves—our motivations, fears, personal challenges, advantages, strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and inspirations.

With a firm foundation in our own sense of purpose for our businesses, we bring alive each sale, service and interaction. Tweet This Quote

What makes us feel that we are living a good life? What makes us come alive? What makes us feel grateful and appreciative of our day-to-day? What fuels our ambition, imagination, and desire to work hard? If we know that, then the sense of meaning and purpose will imbue every connection and carry outward.

Doing this investigation into our purpose—and what the purpose of our business really is—is an opportunity for us as entrepreneurs. It’s an opportunity to take this fundamental mission to connect people with something they need (or something we think they need) in a more meaningful way. People can tell the difference. Meaningful connections are good for us, good for our colleagues and employees, good for our customers, and ultimately good for business.

We have everything we need to investigate the real purpose of our businesses and make meaningful connections. We have the ability to listen to others and ourselves. We have the ability to empathize, to acknowledge each other’s obstacles, grief, and humanness. We have the ability to connect with our own authenticity.

The purpose of my business is to cultivate meaningful relationships and create community. Tweet This Quote

We have an opportunity to make each point of connection more meaningful, more lasting, more enriching. We have the opportunity to change people’s minds about what that connection is—including our own.

By having a firm foundation in our own sense of purpose for our businesses, we will bring alive each connection, each sale, each service, each interaction with coworkers, clients, and competitors. If we want to have truly successful businesses, then this isn’t just preferable, but necessary.

Peter Drucker said:

“The number of people who are really motivated by money is very small. Most people need to feel that they are here for a purpose, and unless an organization can connect to this need to leave something behind that makes this a better world… it won’t be successful over time.”

I realized the point of my business isn’t actually to make technology for clients—that’s just the vehicle. The purpose of my business is to cultivate meaningful relationships; it’s to support the people and the families that work within my business; it’s about creating community and expansive human environments. I found out that the mission of my business is to apply rigorous minds to meaningful work, change the way business is done, and cultivate purposeful projects, relationships and environments.

We can all find ways to imbue our work, our businesses, and our communities with meaningful connections. Tweet This Quote

We can all find ways to imbue our work, our businesses, and thus our communities with meaningful and powerful connections. We all do it in different ways because each of us is motivated by different purposes. The ability to connect to purpose makes our businesses create meaningful connections that do good for our colleagues, our clients, our competitors and, ultimately, our entire communities.

A version of this post originally appeared on dojo4’s blog.

About the author

Corey Kohn

Corey Kohn

Corey is the COO of dojo4, a creative software design, development and media team in Boulder, Colorado.

  • McKenna Solomon

    It’s so important to work with purpose. I think it’s difficult to go into a job or start a business with an idea but no sense of purpose, no sense of meaningful connection with the customer or the world. I really don’t see what the point of doing business is if you’re not working with purpose and building your product to serve a purpose other than making profit. As a society we need to shift away from the idea that profits are all that we’re working for. We need a more holistic view of product development, profit making, and meaningful connection with the customer base and the market.

  • Taylor Lonsdale

    This notion has begun to change the world of business. In today’s society a lot of people are looking for more than just a good or a service. It’s no longer just about what the company can offer us as a consumer but the experience and the impact the company brings to not just the consumer but to the surrounding community. I think about this a lot in my job at the massage spa that I work at. Clients are looking for more than just a massage when they come to us. They’re looking for the friendly face that greets them by name and they’re looking for therapists that are able to cater a massage specifically to their needs. Our competitive edge on our clients has everything to do with how we treat our clients outside of the massage room.

  • Kade Hanson

    From reading this article, it made me think of my connection to my future. With graduation coming up I want a job with a purpose. I want a job to me that is not meaning less, coming up with something we want to work for. From reading this article it make me think me about how I want to do something that I love and care about rather than just making a profit.

  • Charlee Riggio

    I love this article. So uplifting. People talk about connection and rhe importance of it, but rarely do they make the distinction between connection and meaningful connection. I think that you are so right in saying that we must connect with ourselves before connecting with others. Connection is so personal and if we are not self intelligent how can we succesfully connect with another person.

    Thanks for the read!

  • Victor Ribakare

    The point of business is what one makes it in my opinion. Depending on one’s mindset, the meaning and purpose of the business being provided differs. This is seen in the different examples that were given from Milton Friedman, Peter Druker, and Robert Branson. Many people tend to work only for the purpose of money; grant it that is important but not everything. When money is the sole purpose, it is easy to see a lot of unhappiness and boredom. Great article!

  • Ben Heiserman

    I agree Victor, business is truly what we make of it. The connections made and the importance behind the business decisions we make actually guides the purpose business holds in our lives. I do believe that business is the empathetical and ethical way of communication and connection among people in a society.

  • Rachel Rodriguez

    Through I do not agree that the only point of a business is to make meaningful connections i do believe it plays an important role in the process. I think that the connections made with the customers, vendors, and people within the company play a huge role in the company image and growing the company. I think the point this article is trying to make is that when to take an interest in the people around you they are more likely to come back and support you time and time again. In my own person experience I found that I will work harder for someone who takes the time to get to know me personally and knows how to motivate me, than I will for a person who doesn’t know anything about me. I think that these meaningful connections are what helps a business grow at a steady pace because they cultivate a culture of support and trust.

  • Chris White

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that the current make-up of businesses represent ethical or empathetic interactions/communications, but I do believe that businesses hold the potential to engage with and through these values to create further benefits for the entire community.

  • Nicholas Carter

    I really enjoyed this article, and more specifically liked Peter Drucker’s comment about motivation. I do believe that very few people are motivated by money and it’s up to the employer to get to know their employees and what motivates them. Good companies to work for and organizations that have developed positive employee feedback get to know their employees and make them feel as if they are a valuable asset to the company.

  • Michael Kaelin

    Business, like life, is made by each individual person. I agree that one of the major parts and points to business is making connections with customers as well as the people who are a part of the company. In order for those connections to be made, the business must be motivated by more than money. It is becoming more apparent in many businesses today, that they are focused more on the customer itself and making their employees want to be a part of their mission. I really enjoyed reading your insight and opinions Corey. Thank you.

  • James Robertson

    A business is made up of many individuals that come together as a whole to form success. I agree with the article in that the personal connections and ties each has is a major foundation in the operation of a successful business.

  • Kevin Marshall

    I enjoy and agree with this article about what a business is about. I have seen many more companies change their mission and their values towards the customer. Because they are who drives the company along. With no sales = no revenue. I have hired with several companies who emphasize the importance of customers and building relationships

  • Alessandra Orlandini

    I like this post and agree with it in many ways. The point the author brings up about what the difference between connection and meaningful connection is something that got me thinking because I would not have thought about them in different ways. The purpose of business is to cultivate meaningful relationships and I think that as a business if you cannot do that than you are failing as a business

  • Eoghan

    I liked the article as the title when i clicked it left it pretty open as to what could’ve been said. I liked the idea that we (i take it as people) but obviously in business have the ability to empathize and acknowledge other’s grief and humanness, and that if business’ took this on board it creates such a better raport with consumers, and in my opinion there is a correlation with happy loyal customers on a personal level and sales.

  • Elisa

    I agree with you as well! Purpose is what gives you motivation. You must have a good connection with the company and what you are selling in order to have a connection with a customer. I agree with your thought of the idea of purpose. If you have a purpose for your idea/ invention then other people will too. Its not all about profit. If you have a good idea and a passion the money will come with time.

  • Michael Potter

    Business is solely created on relationships. I try to put as much emphasis on relationships as I can in my life, but sometimes I forget this message. It is easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations and forget about the social interactions that mean something as opposed to focusing on a computer screen or living behind a phone all day. Meaning cannot come from a company, but from the people that make up the company. Revenue cannot come just from numbers and the system used to create these numbers, it is created from the relationship between consumers and the product or service provided. Thanks for sharing Corey!