Beyond Profitability: Pouring Back into Mission

Season #1

On this episode of By His Grace, we explore the idea that work is a good thing, contrary to the negative view that society has about it. We delve into the fallen world's impact on this perception and discuss how Christians can model the idea of doing everything to glorify God, including their work. We also examine how some entrepreneurs are prioritizing their faith and mission over profits and the advantages that come with this model. Finally, we examine how companies' commitment to service and mission above profit makes a significant difference in branding and business success. Tune in to learn more about finding purpose, mission, and faith in entrepreneurship.

Podcast Timestamps

[00:02:05] Making profits is important for business, but having a higher mission is crucial to maintain a moral background and avoid unethical actions for the sake of money. Striving for a greater purpose, such as helping others, can lead to success and financial gain.
[00:04:57] Focus on mission over profit, reinvest money back into business, avoid financial stress, be confident in God's provision.
[00:07:38] Businesses are increasingly dedicating part of their profits to charity, with some even starting with a charity arm from the beginning, akin to tithing. The trend reflects a heart issue.
[00:08:48] Service and servant mentality are important for business success, but they have diminished in the current world. Christian businesses are incorporating tithe mentality into their businesses.
[00:10:55] The hospitality in restaurants is declining as they rush customers to pay and leave. One individual had a long business dinner with no interruptions until they realized they were the last ones there, yet the waiter didn't urge them to leave. This kind of service used to be commonplace, but now waitstaff seem more concerned with closing out than providing good customer service.
[00:13:34] Millennials and Gen Z prioritize pursuing their interests over work, which is seen as a necessary evil. However, it's important to find work that one enjoys and puts effort into doing well, whether it's physical or mental labor. The pandemic has exacerbated this issue.
[00:16:51] Work is rewarding, idleness causes misery, being helpful to others is joyful, servant-hood is a lost art, respect should match experience.
[00:18:01] People kept asking for more, including more money and special concessions, such as pet insurance.
[00:19:28] "My pleasure" customer service is like the hotel industry and changes how customers feel about the business.
[00:20:16] Chickfila prioritizes mission over profit, offering exceptional service while requiring strict qualifications for franchise ownership. Other businesses that prioritize profit over mission ultimately suffer from lackluster service and lose customer loyalty. Apple's clear mission is reflected in their successful products.

Key Topics and Bullets

- Introduction to the Bible's view of work as part of God's plan for humanity
- The negative view of work in society and its origin in the fallen world
- Importance of modeling the attitude of doing everything for the glory of God
- The difference in business operations between those funded by investors and those that bootstrap or receive support from others
- The concept of profit as a reward for providing valuable goods and services
- The growing trend of kingdom-minded entrepreneurs who prioritize their mission over profits
- The Spark Influence podcast and its theme of mission over profits
- The promotion of the Spark Media Ignite Conference and Awards Gala as a premier Christian podcast conference
- The younger generation's view towards work and the importance of pursuing what you love
- The pandemic's impact on the decline in work ethic
- Examples of businesses that prioritize mission over profits, such as Chickfila and Apple
- The negative impact of prioritizing profits over mission and good service
- The importance of welcoming customers, even if it's close to closing time
- The significance of seeking first the kingdom of God and its mission
- The speaker's unique business model of prioritizing mission over profitability
- The impact of focusing on profitability on a business's ability to fully achieve its mission
- The importance of reinvesting earnings back into mission events and growth
- The notion of "active, lazy" and the lacking work ethic in society
- Commendation of a person's model of being mission-focused while also thinking about the bottom line.


Bible, work, Adam and Eve, God's plan, tending, caring, fallen world, negative view, glory of God, contagious attitude, funding, investors, bootstrap, financial support, profit, valuable goods, services, faith, mission, kingdom-minded, Spark Influence podcast, purpose, mission over profits, financial goals, Ignite Conference, Millennials, Gen Z, work ethic, Chickfila, service, tithing, pastor, Apple, moral compromises, shady practices, restaurants, closing time, kingdom of God, unique business model, revenue, profitability, reinvestment, loan, decision-making, freedom, tech companies, active, lazy, work ethic, lacking, owner, clients.


Misty Phillip [00:00:00]: Hey there. Welcome back to the Spark Influence Podcast, where we ignite conversations on living life on purpose and on mission. In today's episode, we are going to be diving into the world of mission over profits. We'll explore how businesses can prioritize their purpose and create lasting impact while still being financially sustainable. But before we get into this episode, I want to remind you that today's episode is brought to you by the 2023 Spark Media Ignite Conference and Awards Gala, the premier Christian podcast conference. Join us in Houston, Texas on September 28 to the 30th, 2023. Grab your early bird tickets. Nominate your podcast by going to SparkMedia.Ventures.

Mission over profits

Well, on today's show, our topic is mission over profits. Mission over profits is the idea that businesses should prioritize their core purpose or mission above maximizing profits. And I wanted to talk about this because in the way that I conduct business in Spark Media, people ask me all the time, what's your goal in that? What's your purpose in that? One person asked me, do you have a high price ticket item on the back end of your conference? Or what is your goal? I've had an MBA. Ask me that or a business coach. What is being successful by the end of this year look like to you? And I have purpose and I have goals, and we accomplish a lot in Spark Media, but my goals are not necessarily financial goals. And you are the one who coined the term, it's really purpose over profits.

Peter Phillip [00:02:05]: Yeah, I mean, probably explaining it. There's nothing wrong with making money and there's nothing wrong with making a profit, right? That's usually the goal of any business that's not a not for profit or a nonprofit. Simon Senate kind of touched on this a little bit. If you talk about if you've read start with why any of the books in that series where even he hits on if your stated goal is, I want to make a bunch of money, then you've already started it wrong. Right? Because chasing money and chasing profits and the Bible tells you this extensively, but if you're just there to chase that money and chase profits, then you're not going to be rightly aligned and there's not going to be no moral background. All those things are going to fall by the wayside because you're subservient to trying to just make money so things can get shady really quickly. You might do things that you would normally never do if you have a mission that is not my mission is to make all the money. No, your mission should be something else. It should be a more lofty achievement, even if it's just helping others in a simple thing. Whatever your business is and however you're doing it, it could be really simple. But if you really strive for that, then the money will come because people will see that you're about doing that, you're about helping, you're about providing a service, you're about giving good advice or helping people out, things will happen for you.

Misty Phillip [00:03:33]: Absolutely. In biblical terms, I think of it this way. In Matthew 633 in the ESV, it says, but seek first the kingdom of God in his righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you. And I think that when we seek first the kingdom of God and the mission that he's laid on our hearts, then everything else falls into place. Now I'm in a little bit of a unique position because we're not reliant on my income and me generating revenue. So I may have a different business model, but because you provide for our family, I really get to do more ministry related, even though we have it set up not as a nonprofit or a ministry, but as a business. Because we can also have when we do make profits with it, we can have more kingdom impact by taking that money that we make. And right now, since it's a startup that we're investing it back into the company it provides for the conference and all the extra things that we do. But long term, if we were to make profit, my goal would be to find other ways to pour that back into other people.

Peter Phillip [00:04:57]: The good way to describe it is you're not encumbered by having to pursue constantly profitability. Right. You're 100% on mission and if you make money then great, that's awesome. But the moment you make money, all you want to do is pour it right back. You don't even touch it. You pretend like it's not even there and you just want to put it right back into doing some other emission event, right. Some of the things you do as a business all sprung from, hey, I've got a little extra money, let's start a magazine. Hey, I did this, it was fun, let's start this. And you just keep pouring on and growing and that's a really neat place to be to be afforded that, right? Not everybody can be there, but it does let you focus because your mind is not 40% occupied with, hey, my monthly expenses are this for the business, I've got to cover them, I've got to have enough clients to make this work or I'm going to go in debt for the next six months. That's the plan. And we're going to try to get out of it. Or I already took a loan out and I start upside down already from the get go. Those are scary places to be. And profit making money or even making any amount of money really becomes paramount in the thoughts of business owners when you're doing that. If you start off from go with $150,000 in a business loan, you're like, I got to start making money. And that colors your decisions and it can make you overly brash and you're like, I'm just going to whatever and try to make money. Right? Or it can make you very hesitant and very nervous. And those are not places, neither one of those places are good spots to be. Right. So focusing on the mission, knowing that God will bring what he brings and it will work, I think is a glorious place to be if you can be there.

Misty Phillip [00:06:36]: Yeah, I think so too. I've seen people who have gotten funding but are beholden to very investors that have invested millions of dollars into their startup and the way that they operate their business is very different from the way that I've Bootstrapped Spark and the way that you financially supported me so that I could focus on the mission. It's been such an amazing thing. Profit isn't a dirty word. It is the reward of providing valuable goods and services to people. And I think that there's a new breed of companies that I have seen emerging where people are putting their faith and their mission above profits. They're kingdom minded entrepreneurs and they're incorporating their faith and work. There's a whole faith in work movement and I think that I love seeing that growing trend where people aren't just focused on the bottom line.

Peter Phillip [00:07:38]: Yeah. And a lot now are saying, hey, there's a trend, I think at least that I've seen recently where a lot of businesses are a lot more readily to say I'm giving some first fruits to a charity or I'm putting them aside. Even the for profit businesses often have some type of charity arm that exists with the company that that they use that for giving or for the betterment of those who have less. There's a company I deal with quite a bit and they're starting charter said 10% will always go to this charity arm so that they can provide for others. Right? And they started the business that way. And I think if a lot more businesses said, hey, you know what, it's like tithing right? If it's a business tithe right, then God doesn't cover entities in that respect. Right. From it. They're just saying you but there's a heart issue.

Misty Phillip [00:08:30]: That's what that is. It's the heart of the company. Right. When you're saying we're going to put first, we're always going to put others first in our business, in our company, we're going to even act on that with our we're going to act on that with our finances.

Peter Phillip [00:08:48]: Ian, erase this for 1 second. I got to call her. Con hour. Yeah. Setting that up and acting on that as a business, right, I see it growing. Especially Christian businesses, they're transposing that sort of tithe mentality onto their business and saying we're going to give and we're going to set aside always for that. As you said, service. Right? That whole mentality of service is a huge part of success in business just in general like that being a servant and having that servant mentality to others that gets blessed constantly and people recognize it. And it sadly has diminished tremendously in the current world that we live in where I see service and servitude being a far less viable, not viable, but available within business world like it's just diminished. People don't know.

Misty Phillip [00:09:54]: Even in the service industry, I was.

Peter Phillip [00:09:56]: Having it's the worst part of it. Yeah.

Misty Phillip [00:09:58]: A conversation about this yesterday about people in the service industry when they first a friend of mine was talking about how she's noticed this trend of going into a restaurant, and it may be an hour before they close, which I know you hate. You never do that. You will never do that. But sometimes you find yourself in that situation where you need to do that. And instead of being greeted first like, hey, how are you all doing? The first words out of their mouth was, we close in an hour. And that is so terrible for your brand. There's a different way that you can handle things. Yeah, you might have been there all day. Yeah, you might have been tired. Maybe you're ready to go home. You've got your own things that are happening, but instead you can say, hey, welcome. We're glad you're here. Our kitchen is going to be closing in an hour, so let's get you in here and get you seated so that we can get you served or.

Peter Phillip [00:10:55]: Whatever, like, get your order turned in and get the kitchen going. Yeah, the hospitality is gone out of the hospitality. There's still places that I went to a business dinner, and we sat around, like, eight people, and we sat around and talked, and there was desserts and there was coffee and after dinner stuff. And we were there talking for a long time, and I started to notice. And when I looked around, I was like, there's nobody else here. And the waiter came over and I said, what time do you close? And he said nine. And it was like, 1030. And no one had come up and said a word to us. No one said, you need to rush. We were there. It was going to be a really big bill. It was a couple of $1,000 dinner for sure, but that's kind of how it used to be. Now they come up and say, here's a check. I'm leaving. I need you to close out.

Misty Phillip [00:11:48]: Or we were at a restaurant recently when they're pulling all the chairs back and it's not even close to closing, and they're starting to sweep and do all this stuff, and we're in a.

Peter Phillip [00:11:58]: Steakhouse an hour before closing, and they put chairs up.

Misty Phillip [00:12:01]: Yeah, it was not good. And I've seen this too, in watching you own your own company. You're a tech professional, and you work with some smaller companies, and you work with some very large scale companies, and there's a couple of phrases that I've heard you say which is active, lazy. So you've got these people who are always doing something, but they're not ever really doing anything. So you take them to task and you keep them on track. But I don't feel like the work ethic in general is there. And because of that, if you own your own company, nobody's going to work as hard at your company than you do. Right. But I've seen you over and over and over throughout your career, go the extra mile for your customer, for your client, for the business. It doesn't matter if it's nights, if it's weekends, if the job needs to be done, you get it done. And I've loved that's. Been just a good model that I've seen you model for other people. And so that is really about being mission focused, too. Even though you are making a profit, you are taking care of your clients, you are thinking about the bottom line. And I've seen you do that over and over.

Peter Phillip [00:13:34]: Yeah. Thank you. I'll attribute that to my dad. For sure. It's interesting. I just read an article about Millennials and Gen Z's and why they have so much trouble and work. The workforce is having so much trouble with them. And they interviewed a couple of them and they said, we don't care about work like you care about work. So Gen X and back, we don't care anymore. We want to do other things. Work is like some evil that they have to do so they can have money in their pocket because they want to pursue what they want to do. And I think that's a misguided response or what it should be, is if you're not doing what you love and enjoy, and you can't figure that out. Now, let me preface this with if what you want to do and love and enjoy is just sit around and hang out with your friends and do paper machete, good luck trying to find a profit. You need to do things. There are jobs that really need to be fulfilled and work that can be done. And God rewards the labor of your hands, right? Or your mind. Take your pick. My dad had a saying. He goes two ways you can make a living, right? You can use your back or you can use your brain. Pick which one you want and just do the best you can do either one, right? Because that's what it comes down to, having that mentality of, I'm going to work hard no matter what I'm doing. That seems to have slid quite far from where we are in the world. Right? Even when I had to do really menial work, that was not fun at all. We still did it right. Like, you still had to do it right. And I don't know that a lot of people have that anymore because they don't want to do it right. And the pandemic didn't help at all.

Misty Phillip [00:15:26]: No, it didn't. But God created us to do work. He did. And this comes from Genesis in the Bible, we're given the example of work, when God places Adam and Eve in the garden and he gave them the task of tending and caring for the garden. And this suggests that work in the form of taking care of the world and its resources was part of God's plan for humanity from the beginning. And I think part of that is in the Bible, it also talks about in the end times, men will be lovers of themselves, it will have increased lawlessness, all of the different things that we're seeing. And I think part of what we're seeing, yes, COVID did have an impact, but I think it's just the fallen world that we live in, the idea of work being a good thing. People don't go around talking about God created work and it's good and we should enjoy it. I mean, that's not what rolls off of the tongue normally, right. But I think it's something that we need to model as much as. So whatever we do, do it all unto the glory of God. And when we do that, I think other people see that and then that's contagious.

Peter Phillip [00:16:51]: Yeah, I agree. Work can be extremely rewarding. Right. Just doing activities, the idleness is what's really causing misery. Right. There's a lot of joy that can be derived out of being helpful to others, being a servant to others, like really trying to be a servant. That word has become so dirty down right. Where it's like everyone expects executive level respect at whatever role they're in, like, all the time. Right. And it's like, you haven't done this before, you're new at this.

Misty Phillip [00:17:29]: I remember a job that you had before, and all of the young workers, they all wanted vice president titles and you were like, this is a disaster. You haven't had a job long enough.

Peter Phillip [00:17:45]: To be four years old, your first programming job.

Misty Phillip [00:17:48]: But what happened there? But what happened?

Peter Phillip [00:17:50]: Yeah, it went sideways. Misty Phillip [00:17:51]: It did, because the person who was in charge of that company, who owned that company, they acquiesced and gave into it and it didn't go well, did it? Peter Phillip [00:18:01]: No. Then they kept asking for more, then they wanted more money because they weren't paid enough. And then they all wanted special concessions besides pet insurance for their health care, pet healthcare insurance, which was another one that set me off. But that's a different topic.

Misty Phillip [00:18:17]: That is a different topic. So let's go back to mission over profits. It can look different in different companies with different people. For me, I'm very mission focused because I don't have to focus on the profits. You are still very mission focused, even though you do focus on the profits. So I think the overarching theme here is that no matter what kind of job you have, you can do it all to the glory of God. You can be focused on the core mission and values of the company. And then I think profits fall in line if we seek first the core values and things of the company, then I think everything else falls in line. I think about Chickfila. Chickfila has got such a great service model. They make a ton of money making chicken, right. But that's not really what they're selling. They're selling friendly service.

Peter Phillip [00:19:15]: Yeah, they are.

Misty Phillip [00:19:16]: And good food quality stuff and quality. And people know it's consistent that they can show up to a Chickfila and they can get that same quality.

Peter Phillip [00:19:28]: It's like the hotel industry, right? They picked up the my pleasure from the hotel business. That was a standard term in the hotel business, if you didn't notice it. Like if you stayed at hotels and anything you asked them to do is my pleasure, that spoke differently. Don't underestimate how that is pervasive. And when you encounter that, it changes the impact from the business to you, how you feel about them. It is a feeling like you come away feeling different. Yes, I'm just getting a chicken sandwich or maybe some amazing waffle fries and a really good strong iced tea. But they're super accommodating and it's my pleasure. Or the line is long.

Misty Phillip [00:20:15]: It's a great day.

Peter Phillip [00:20:16]: It's a great day and the line is long. And they come out and give you tea because it's hot, and they just give you free tea in the line. That's real service. Right. But they demand inversely. They demand service from the people who are going to own it. Right. Like you have to prove ten years of tithing. You have to have a letter from your pastor before you can even apply to own a Chickfila franchise. Right. So they are mission over profit because they pour it in, they reinvent. That's a big deal for them. Whereas other businesses, bad service drives customers away. You get one shot, and if it's bad, then I can name a lot of places I'll never go back again. Because the service was terrible. Right. And that just shows they don't care. They're not about mission, they're about profit. Because you're just another dollar to them. You're not something unique to be treated properly or to be cared for. It's a service. If it's a good, it's different, but the good is the same. Apple is the example of that. Right. Apple has a really strong base because their mission is clear to them. Right. And they make ungodly amounts of profit. But they're about their mission, and their mission is what is reflected in their products. And that's why they're number one in the world for that.

Misty Phillip [00:21:37]: Yeah, that's good. So I think that we can conclude there to stay on mission no matter what you're called to do, where you work, whether you own your own company, whether it is in your family, at your church, in your neighborhood, be faithful to the mission and let's be mission driven people. Amen.

Thanks for listening to the Spark Influence Podcast!