What’s YOUR Bottom Line?

“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.” Mother Teresa

Business owners are trained to gauge the success of their business according to the health of their “bottom line” – that is – the last line on a profit and loss statement that tells you what remains (if anything) after all your costs of doing business. This makes perfect sense – if you don’t show a profit, you don’t stay in business.

But, I’m interested in what – beyond the traditional bottom line – keeps you motivated and creates that deeper and more sustaining measure of success I believe we are all seeking?

I came across a brilliant and inspiring concept this week from Tami Simon, founder of Sounds True, one of the largest publishers of spoken word spiritual teaching products that answers this very question. Tami offers a more inclusive and elegant way to relate to the idea of bottom line driven success. It has to do with creating “multiple bottom lines”. In other words, a purpose-driven AND profit-driven, business that honors the values you hold dear and wish to incorporate into your way of doing business.

“Multiple bottom lines” arose as Tami pondered a few simple but powerful questions: “How can our processes as a business reflect our products? How can spirituality be translated into organizational life? How can we form a workplace where employees can have balanced lifestyles, and can continue to evolve as human beings? How can we create an atmosphere of genuine love, a real community in which people want to participate? And how can all of this translate into profit, the “oxygen” so vitally needed to put these ideals into action?”

Here are Tami’s four multiple bottom lines:

1. Your business does something that matters in the world. This is primary. Having a sense of purpose underlying the reason you’re in business makes all the difference – not only as inspiration to keep you going, but more importantly, it’s fulfills a basic human need to know you’re making a contribution.

2. You (and your employees) are evolving by being involved in your business. It’s critical that personal growth and development be nurtured and not stunted by business. What you need for growth can be defined individually and has to do with valuing life balance in the workplace. Do you take time to meditate or go for a run as part of your work day? Do your employees feel relaxed and respected on the job while remaining productive and responsible?

3. Your work environment is a positive community where everyone wants to participate. Do people enjoy each other and add to the quality of life? You spend a significant amount of your total life hours at work. How do you feel about the people around you and how do your employees feel about each other? This makes all the difference in the world when you’re deciding to get out of bed in the morning. Also, quality community fosters participation, teamwork and engagement.

4. You must have profit – the oxygen that makes the engine go. If you’re not profitable, you’re out of business. Profit as a concept is a nice thing, but when you connect to reality – what you DO with the profit – holds tremendous power for motivation. Will you use your profits to buy new equipment, give raises, or institute additional benefits? Ultimately it’s profit that makes all the other bottom lines possible.

Begin to translate and implement what’s important to you into your business life. I find the concept of multiple bottom lines very inspiring – it’s adaptable, flexible, and can be based on YOUR individual values. Can you see how adopting the idea of multiple bottom lines can raise satisfaction and fulfillment in the workplace, reduce stress and build a company to be truly proud of?

It’s YOUR life…imagine the possibilities!

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