What is the purpose of a business? Why do we start them? And most importantly, if our business achieves the success we hoped for, what can we do with that success beyond making a profit? These are the questions I’ve pondered in the past few years of consulting with dealers and building the Dealer Talk podcast, and I’ll admit, I’ve gone through a wide range of answers. Let me take you along my thought process.
The Business Goals
For one, making money is the primary goal for any business, and this has always been a goal worth pursuing. Not because it’s cool, or because it’s my personal definition of success, but because I learned at very young age that money is a resource that allows you to do many impactful things. I often read discussions about the power of a legacy, but let’s be honest—being the CEO or founder of a business is not the legacy most worth pursuing, or at least not the one that I would want to be remembered by.
My Definition of Success
For me, it has to do with freedom. Doing what I want, when I want is more in line with what success looks like to me, but the problem is that I want to work most of the time! I truly enjoy every single second of it, and when I’m not working with dealers or building content that helps dealers, well, I’m not having much fun at all.
Building a Legacy
This is still not enough, though. These “reasons” alone are not meaningful enough for anybody to dedicate their entire life to, and experience has taught me that as much good as any business tries to do, in order to really get people involved, their purpose needs to be bigger than any specific industry’s value. For example, I CARE a lot about this industry—even more than people can see or understand. I can’t explain it, but I do, and in particular, I care deeply about dealer-vendor relationships! I have been on both sides of the desk, and for the most part they both need each other—more than we often care to admit—and there are incredible people on both sides.
I can recall one conversation with a GM who asked me if I thought my purpose was looking at spreadsheets, entering data, and analyzing data. The answer is YES! I believe that it is! When I’m immersed in it, working on all the data at our disposal, that is the happiest I am. There is nothing I enjoy more than trying to make sense of all this information to help dealers, and there is no bigger problem I want to solve than bridging the gap between vendor relationships and attribution, marketing, and car sales for dealerships and vendors around the globe. But who else is going to care as deeply about that as I do? Very few people, and even fewer will obsess over it like I do.
Every business should have a much bigger goal than just solving a specific problem. It should be an altruistic goal—an impossible goal, if you will. Something that other people in the organization can rally behind, a guiding principal that moves them to give their absolute best so that they can contribute to something bigger than themselves!
Our Big Goal
For us here at DTVMS, that wide-reaching goal is feeding people. I can’t think of any bigger goal that is truly a legacy worth pursuing, and both surprisingly and fortunately for us, there are a lot of people who feel the same way.
Companies like Amazon and Tesla are doing some incredible things to further the human species with initiatives like Blue Origin and SpaceX. I mean, being able to colonize other planets and protect against exterior and interior factors that threaten the very existence of humanity is insanely profound. It’s no wonder these amazing individuals are pouring resources into achieving these goals, even when they know these initiatives will outlive them! They understand that someone needs to start working on it and want to be a part of the movement.
Other global leaders like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have pledged their fortunes to charitable organizations. They then enlist many other wealthy individuals to do the same, and this will result in huge benefits to humanity in the years to come. If a problem is big enough and the potential solution is beneficial for humanity at large, then it is one worth pursuing, and there really is no reason to not start.
Our Fill-A-Cart Initiative
In our first-ever Fill-A-Cart event last year, we helped feed refugees from other countries who had found political asylum in the US. We helped feed a family whose breadwinners were between jobs, leaving them unsure if they would be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. We helped a mother who had undergone brain surgery and was not able to work and provide for her family, and even though she has since regretfully passed away, we took the chance to make a difference, if only for a while.
This year, we have twice the funds, and we have partnered with some amazing industry leaders like Terry McSpadden, managing partner of XDC.com, and JT and Bailey Thompson, CEO and COO of AMG.com. These collaborations will enable me and my team to increase our support and help make these holidays a little brighter for more people in our local community.
What to Expect from DTVMS Going Forward
We are just getting started! We know there’s a long road ahead of us on this journey, but we are committed to this effort, and we will keep making strides one family at a time, one initiative at a time. The people that join our team are also dedicated to this goal, and that is how we can ensure our end goal will be achieved. That is how we can ensure that these efforts will continue to help others long after we are gone.
To bring it all full circle, the ideal solution is to start a business with the sole purpose of solving a specific problem for as many people as possible—that is what I have learned these past few years of consulting with dealers and interviewing some pretty incredible industry leaders on the show. We should build an organization dedicated to achieving the kind of success we hope for so that we can do something meaningful for humankind and ensure we have the resources to leave the planet better than we found it. That is the best goal I can think of for any human being to pursue. And then, on top of that, surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who can all rally behind one cause? Well, that’s just about as good as it gets for any organization.