Pursuing The Right Numbers: The Only Place Where Profitability Should Come Before Prosperity Is In The Dictionary

But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today. - Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV)



As business leaders, we are inundated with numbers. Sales, profit, revenue, dividend payouts, market share, ROI, PE ratios, compensation levels, tax brackets, income statements, cash-flow projections, balance sheets, and budgets are often a part of our daily narrative.  Numbers.


From a global perspective, many of us are focused on stock market indices such as the S&P Index, NASDAQ, NYSE Index, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, Korea’s KOSPI Index, Britain’s FTSE-100, France’s CAC-40, and Germany’s DAX 30.  More numbers.


The core of most of these numbers, or metrics, is centered on one concept:  Profitability.  

Business growth and profitability are certainly important for us as His ambassadors in the  workplace and in the marketplace.  But, how do we keep all of these numbers in the right perspective?  A Godly, Kingdom perspective?   


One way to keep our focus on God when it comes to the numbers, is to reflect on what His Word says.   We know that it is God who gives us the ability to gain wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) and that He desires for us to prosper (3 John 1:2).  Let’s take a moment to compare and contrast the concepts of profitability and prosperity.




Profitability vs. Prosperity


We know that profitability is generally defined as the state or condition of being profitable or yielding a financial profit.  An enterprise is typically deemed profitable or unprofitable based purely on its financial status and results. In this way, profitability is defined based primarily on the parameters of financial results.


Prosperity, on the contrary, is generally defined as a prosperous or successful condition or a state of good fortune. The concept of prosperity is broad in scope and includes a number of elements and criteria that may deem an enterprise or individual as being prosperous. Unlike profitability, prosperity is not based primarily on financial parameters.


One way to think of prosperity and profitability, in relation to one another, is that prosperity is an overarching umbrella concept, which includes many different forms of success with profitability being just one of them. Unlike profitability, prosperity denotes a broader range of richness and wealth. Prosperity is not just about money. Prosperity is a state of spiritual and material abundance that extends beyond the temporal boundaries of the world. Prosperity transcends beyond the worldly parameters of economics, materialism, and consumerism. Prosperity extends beyond revenue targets, compensation packages, and tax brackets.


The business world values profitability, but God values prosperity. “Trusting in the Lord leads to prosperity” (Proverbs 28:25, NLT). As Christian business leaders, we must detach ourselves from the world’s value system and not relegate ourselves to just focusing on profitability.  We must raise our value systems to a Higher level by pursuing total prosperity instead of just profitability. Don’t pursue money. Don’t worship the numbers. Pursue and worship God.  Follow His financial plans for your business, and you will prosper (2 Chronicles 26:5). Prosperity should be our primary concern, and profitability should be secondary because profitability is simply one aspect of prosperity. The only place where profitability should come before prosperity is in the dictionary.


Everybody Should Play the Business Owner’s Game, Not Just Owners

There is a game every person at work should be playing every minute of every day, with every decision they make. It’s called The Business Owner’s Game, and is at the core of building a successful business or career. It transforms your relationship to work.

The objective of the Business Owner’s Game is simple: More money in less time.

Successful business leaders play this game all the time to increase their revenue (or income) and reduce the amount of time they have to personally spend increasing it. The smart leaders have everyone at work playing the same game. The objective is to discover the “highest and best use” of everyone’s time, and get them focused on doing those things.

More Money in Less Time

Anybody can make more money in more time; it’s easy—just work more hours. Except you only have 168 hours in a week. So the better idea is to discover how to make more money in less time. A lot of people intend to make more money every year, but how many of them intend to do it in less time?

Why do we all have the first graph, but not the second one? Because we’re stuck in Industrial Age thinking about how money is made, by trading time for money.

A traditional employee thinks that way as well, but shouldn’t. The Industrial Age was wrong. Everyone working in every business should be on a manic pursuit to answer the question, “How do I make more money in less time?” Your business would make more money if all your people thought this way. And if you, as a business owner, want to build a successful business, you can’t afford to succumb to this old Industrial Age habit. Let’s learn the Business Owner’s Game.

The Game: Two Simple Questions

The good news is that the Business Owner’s Game is very simple. There are only two questions:

1. Is this (whatever I’m doing right now) the highest and best use of my time?

The answer to at least seventy-five percent of what we’re doing will be, “No.” Whatever we’re doing is rarely the highest and best use of our time. We just haven’t bothered to get it off our plate (short-term decision-making).

If the answer is no, and it almost always is, then move on to question number two:

2. If this is not the highest and best use of my time, then how do I do it for the last time?

The answer to that question will lead you to freedom.

If you are serious about getting things off your plate, you’ll come up with a number of ways to offload things that don’t belong there. Freedom Mapping is just one common answer to the question. But if you’re afraid, distracted, believe your business is unique (it never is), have a big ego, believe you’re indispensable (you almost never are), or a dozen other excuses, you will find 1,000 ways to not get things off your plate.

Business Owner vs. Income Producer

This is the most important game a business owner and everyone in your business can play. We waste more time and money doing things others should be doing than just about any other way.

If you are playing this game, you are a Business Owner (even if you don’t own the business, you own your destiny). If you aren’t, you are only an Income Producer, the fatal mindset of the “employee” (yes, Business Owners can be employees of themselves!) You may think you own a business, but all you really own is a job.

How Staff Members Should Play The Game

When Krista first came to work with us, we asked her to create a Freedom Map of the processes she ran. A year later we had her go back over this with the two questions in the Business Owner’s Game, to discover the highest and best use of her time. She circled everything in the process that did not qualify, and we hired Lauren who loved doing those things and was great at them. Both of them were firing on all cylinders now. As she gained experienced and the job changed, we had Lauren re-draw her Freedom Maps another year later, and hired Donna to do the things that were not the highest and best use of Lauren’s time. As Donna gains experience we will have her do the same thing.

Don’t Hire For Jobs; Hire For Effectiveness

We never hire someone for “a job”, but instead, we hire them to take over things that aren’t the highest and best use of someone else’s time. Does anyone ever get to 100% ideal use of their time? Of course not, but everyone in our company is always closer to it than they would be working anywhere else. And they all have more freedom and more meaning in their work as a result.

Get Off The Treadmill

What is the highest and best use of your time? How do you the other things for the last time?

Apply the two simple questions in the Business Owner’s Game to everything you do for one month and see what happens. It will transform your business if you are an owner, or your job if you are a Stakeholder. It will begin to give you the answers that allow you to make more money in less time, get off the treadmill and get a life.