About

The Change Agent is Brian Sibley. He lives, works and plays in Bellingham, Washington.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. MikyzEcy8 says:

    Good theory. I love it. Thank you for posting

  2. Hi, Brian… I just found your blog post about my book.

    You’re correct, my interactive decision maker is just to be cute. But it addresses the truth that a business doesn’t have the ability to accomplish any mission, no matter how noble, if it isn’t profitable.

    Providing healthcare and paying a living wage is something companies do do with a profit motive. Companies need employees, and employees choose companies based on benefits, salary, etc.

    I see that you work just across the street from me, so I’d like to invite you to meet for coffee or lunch; I’d love to discuss your comments and thoughts on the role of businesses in society. I’m pretty flexible on schedule; you can reach me at bob@logos.com.

    I am also pasting part of the chapter containing the business-decision-making-flowchart below. I hope you’ll agree that it contains a much less cynical, and un-biblical, motive for profit than the one you attribute to me in your blog post.

    Thanks for your time and consideration,

    — Bob

    Profit is Why You are in Business

    Everybody understands that businesses exist to make a profit. Profit is so much a part of how we understand our society that when an organization is set up for any other purpose we explicitly label it a “non-profit” organization.

    Maybe because it sounds greedy, small businesses in particular do not generally talk about profit. Instead they focus on their secondary purposes: to help individuals find the best life insurance at the lowest rates; to provide a worry-free roofing future; to bring the authentic taste of Chicago deep-dish pizza to Podunk, Wisconsin.

    Unfortunately, many people get so wrapped up in the secondary purposes of their business that they lose sight of the primary purpose. I was one of them.

    Profit enables you to pursue your other goals

    In the early days of my business I was consumed with growth and with “the mission”. We sell Bible software, so it was not difficult for me to see our work as something nobler than just making a profit. I believed that success meant providing our useful tool for Bible study to as many people in as many countries in as many languages as possible.

    Business is about numbers and I was a true devotee of the numbers. I tracked gross revenue, employee headcount, number of customers, countries served and languages supported. I made decisions based on growing those numbers. A lower price will sell more units? Let’s lower the price. A single customer asked for a Swedish version? Let’s build a Swedish version.

    It wasn’t that I completely ignored profit. I checked in once in a while to see that we still had one. I just didn’t worry too much about how big it was and I did not take the time to find out exactly where it came from. In a high-growth business like ours, I reasoned, we were investing in the future, not trying to make money right now.

    Rapid growth, some outside investment, and some very profitable projects held trouble at bay for a few years. But when it caught up with us it hit us hard: on sales of $4.6 million we managed to lose around $900,000. It had been our best year by every other measure. We had higher revenue, sold more units, and employed more people than ever before. We had simply failed to make a profit. In the months that followed our continued losses threatened our survival. I began to realize that if we did not make profit the focus of our efforts I would have neither the luxury of pursuing our mission nor the convenience of a place to live.

    Making a profit is what enables a business to accomplish its mission. Profit needs to be the first priority or you will not have a chance to pursue any others.

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