In the first of our interview series with our founder and COO Colin Hunter, we ask him to describe one of his core philosophies: Profit is Freedom.
Years ago, before I ran my own company, I used to be passionate about my choice of company car. Of course, it always happened that the car I wanted was two or three levels above my price range. When I first asked my boss, he surprised me by agreeing to my request. But there was a catch. He explained that if my preferred car was above what he had originally agreed to pay, I needed to offer something in return.
It was at that moment that I truly understood the phrase, ‘profit is freedom’; the freedom to choose, to carve your own path and to live the life you’ve envisioned for yourself and your business. My boss was essentially saying: “you have a choice, but you need to deliver more income and more profit as a result.”
It was a simple choice. I said yes because I had confidence in my ability to deliver profit, and I did.
Today, ‘profit is freedom’ is a philosophy that I still live by. His argument was that organisations need a degree of commercial success to allow people to make choices about what they invest in. Whether you’re starting your own business or you’re the leader of a company that’s highly successful, the ability to increase margin and profit - not just for its own sake but so that it can be reinvested - is freedom.
On the one hand, ‘profit is freedom’ is about delivering the numbers. But it’s so much more than that. It’s brought to life when we were working with finance business partners. Developing them to engage as a trusted advisor to their businesses. I was surprised that, over the course of our time with them, the performance, in general, was actually better for partners who had not been formally trained as accountants than those who had. ‘Profit is freedom’ is about the money or the numbers, but it’s also about your business or commercial mindset. Numbers can say anything you want them to. It’s the freedom to pick out what’s behind the numbers and how it plays into a human centric commercial context: it’s about innovating, and exploring the art of the possible.
If you have a principle of freedom, choice and abundance, then you need to start with building a business that is profitable. That’s why, when we’re working with our clients, we never lose sight of the fact that we need to be paid for, so we put a return on investment on what we do as providers. And we make sure our clients are constantly thinking about their return on investment too, what they gain from the work we do with them and the resulting profit that goes back into their business. It’s that profit that allows them to make more choices in the future.
And so, the cycle continues.
Profit is Freedom is essentially an adult way of running your business. Ultimately, it’s profit that allows you to reinvest in your business and yourself, to deliver sustainable success.