March 16, 2022

Last Year, We Proved the World Wrong

What’s the point of business? Of capitalism? Of enterprise?

Honestly, I’ve struggled with this semi-existential question for years.

The easy answer is that the point of business is to make money, and that’s fair. But, I gotta be honest, that’s just not good enough for me. It’s not enough to get me out of bed every day.

Swimming Upstream

In 2021, we pushed back against this common understanding. For an entire year, we aimed to refocus every aspect of our organizational alignment on a purpose greater than simply making money.

Our annual primary objective for 2021 was to operationalize business as a ministry (BaaM).

The goal was to ensure that the DNA of PHOS was focused on how we cared for people at every level of the organization. For us, this includes our team, their families, our clients, our vendors/suppliers, and our local/global community.

Every other week at our all-skate team meetings, we start our meeting with prayer, then ask one team member, “Hey, will you remind us all here at PHOS what our mission, vision, values are, and our annual primary objective for the year?” In every one of these team meetings, we are once again reorienting ourselves to focus on our primary objective.

Then, at each of our 2021 quarterly vision meetings, we celebrated progress we’d made in helping to operationalize BaaM within the business, and, as I had hoped, by the end of the year, we had a giant list of brand new initiatives we had implemented only within that year. The list spanned each aspect of PHOS’ architecture, including operations management, organizational development, financial management, and revenue generation.

  1. Business + Faith Weekly, Live, Public Forums
  2. Title Sponsorship Combatting Local Sex Trafficking
  3. I Said This You Heard That (Bible-based study on communication styles)
  4. MLK Day Celebration and Diversity Discussion (100% volitional team participation)
  5. Lent Journey with Team (Bible study leading up to Easter)
  6. BaaM Cards
  7. The PHOS Light Wall
  8. Client Thank You Cards
  9. VTOlympics (volunteer time off campaign)
  10. Life Insurance (communicating love to our employees’ families)
  11. You Are Loved (a super cool initiative we are launching in Q2 2022)
  12. Providing GLS Tickets for PHOS Family Members
  13. Post-Project Client Ministry Close Out Letter
  14. One-on-One Mentoring Sessions in the Community
  15. Giving Away 50% of Profits

I’m sharing this not to boast about the things we’ve done, but because I want to raise a giant flag over business, capitalism, and enterprise corporations and shout as loudly as possible, “Don’t believe the lie! Business doesn’t have to be just about money! Your leadership, your success, your profit, and your influence are all intended to be used for something so much more satisfying, so much more fulfilling, so much more meaningful than just stuffing your pockets with more cash!”

Over lunch with a good friend and some great tacos (I know, surprising), I celebrated with them some of the impact we’d had for the year. As I walked through some of the things above, they had a surprised look on their face. When I asked why, they told me, “I just can’t believe you’d be willing to spend so much time on these initiatives. You could have been doing things to build your business.”

Here’s the presupposition: because business is about making money, anything we spend our time on that isn’t directly tied to making money is a waste of time. The lie is that if we take our eyes off the giant revenue machine we’re cranking, profits will fall and layoffs will be close behind.

Redefining Success

For PHOS, the results of last year were telling.

2021 was the best year we’ve ever had in every imaginable way. We generated more revenue than we’ve ever made with some of the highest margins we’ve ever earned.

But, what’s even more compelling, what’s even more exciting, what’s even more worth getting out of bed for every day is that, in 2021, we leveraged our platform for more good than we’ve ever seen in the history of the company. We saw more lives changed, more needs met, more children rescued from extreme poverty, and more women reached in the sex trafficking industry than we’ve ever been able to reach. That is a success worth celebrating.

If you’re a business owner, of course you want your business to make money. You don’t have a business without it. But, what’s the point of making money?

Last year, we proved the world wrong. There is a form of success and financial leadership about more than amassing and accumulating. Here’s my ultimate hope for PHOS:

I want to run an exceptionally great business (revenue, profits, infrastructure, operations), but I want to do so for an eternally greater purpose (ministry, love, care, compassion, and radical generosity).

Fellow leader, yes, run the best business you can faithfully lead and generate as much revenue as you can healthily sustain. But, if you surrender yourself to this truth that your leadership and influence aren’t just for milking your cash cow, then you’ll find more impact, more joy, more purpose, and more strength than you’ve ever seen in your life, leadership, and business.

Go prove the world wrong.

Brandon West

Brandon West

Brandon founded PHOS Creative at the age of 26 out of his home office. A strategy-first digital marketing agency headquartered in Florida, PHOS’ growth and culture have been highlighted in the Inc. 5000, Gator100, and Florida Trend Magazine.

Brandon serves on the board of directors for Created, a local nonprofit committed to reaching and restoring the lives of women impacted by sex trafficking and sexual exploitation within Alachua County.

When Brandon’s not leading the team, you’ll find him out on a date with his wife, beating his sons at a game, playing his guitar or piano, scuba diving in a cavern, or leading a group at his church.