Why are we in business?  On New Year’s Eve it seems a pertinent question to ask.

Recently we were introduced to this video on YouTube about the founding of Welsh denim company Huit Denim.  For us it delivers a very powerful message:

Watch the video.
Of course, some say money is the great motivator.  Boris Johnson recently hit the headlines saying ‘Greed is Good’.  Setting aside the truth or otherwise of this statement, what strikes us most is how out dated this rallying cry now sounds.

The saying is in fact a version of a line delivered by Michael Douglas playing Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film Wall Street.  It epitomised something about the 1980s and 90s.

In our opinion, in the post-banking crisis era, the new zeitgeist is for business that works for everyone – for business with integrity and openess.  Selfishness will never go away, but we assert the mood is for business with soul.

As we are fond of saying at Crunchers, ‘A business starts in the mind of its customers’, without satisfying what customers want, you have no business.

It seems to us that customers now want more than just the product, they want to feel their purchase makes a difference.  They are also more canny now.  They are better at working out when a business doesn’t really care about its customers or the wider world.

Like the founders of Huit Denim, there is also a growing band of business leaders who understand that the profit motive cannot drive a business.

Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia inc (featured here in Book of the Month) is one.  Antony Jenkins CEO of Barclays plc was on BBC Radio 4 today talking about the same thing.  A business needs a non-financial purpose to give it life.

Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start with Why’ explains the idea perfectly.

So if we haven’t already, perhaps today is the day to work out why we are in business.