Can Greed Be a Good Thing For Your Business?

eating dirty money

"Greed is not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue." -Andy Stanley

The word "greed" has a lot of negative connotations associated with it, and typically the first thing that comes to mind when hearing it is money.

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Financial wealth is one of the main pursuits of a successful business. For many CEOs and business owners, it makes up just a portion of what they’re trying to achieve for their growing company. Yet, we all know that the purpose of any business is to make consistent profit with the help of employees and customer loyalty. Sometimes the "love of money" can lead to greed, where a person will do anything just to collect a bigger and better profit. This resonates in many aspects of the corporate world, but when the person who’s calling the shots is the one being greedy, it can be detrimental to everyone involved.

So, can greed be beneficial to your business in any way?

One Forbes article says generally NO, with a few significant exceptions:

  • The staff shares the CEO’s vision: Basically, every man for himself. If every person involved understands that they’re making a profit for him or herself without the consideration of others, then this may work.
  • Short-term profit is the goal: If the purpose of your business is to make a quick buck through cost reduction of long-term growth (in marketing, development, and/or employee benefits) by driving up profits and productivity, then go for it.
  • The company lacks creative service and innovation: When the product or service being sold is a cheap commodity, then a greedy philosophy works perfectly. The key to this is: to hire unskilled employees who are content with the labor, pay the workers the lowest wage, mark the product at the lowest price possible, and watch the money pile up.

Unfortunately, a business based on any of these approaches usually comes crashing down after a period of time due to self-indulgence.

As stated by Forbes: If a leader needs to build a sustainably growing and profitable enterprise in an industry that requires a high degree of innovation or creativity and/or must provide excellent customer service—then the money-only approach will not work.

For example, a recent story shows the selflessness of one CEO and how charity can be the key to managing a profitable business. Thirty-year-old CEO Dan Price of Gravity Payments decided to raise the company’s salary to $70,000/yr for a staff of 120 employees. He decided to cut his payment of $930,000 so that he could raise his workers hourly wage above the state’s $15 requirement. Price is now earning Gravity’s minimum salary. The young executive told The New York Times that he made this sacrifice in order to tackle the issue of payment inequality that even affects some of his closest colleagues.

"The market rate for me as a CEO compared to a regular person is ridiculous, it’s absurd," he told the NY Times. "As much as I’m a capitalist, there is nothing in the market that is making me do it."

Price—who started the business just last year—was nervous about the decision at first, but is hopeful that his own earnings will go back up once the company’s profit returns to the $2.2 million level.A few critics have said that this may just be one of the most intelligent business moves done by a CEO. As a leader of a growing business, you have to motivate your employees to want to stay with you for the long haul.

Financial stability is that motivation

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The Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," may very well ring true when it comes to running a business. Implementing a demanding, yet rewarding work environment will help you gain all the support and backing you need from your workers. Not only will you gain profitability in productivity, but in finances too.

The choice is yours.

Fobes-"What Happens When Leaders Only Care About Money?"
NY Times-"One Company’s New Minimum Wage: $70,000 a Year"