In the world of public policy, there are those who subscribe to the belief that businesses have an obligation first to social justice and community welfare rather than to profit as a result of the production, distribution and/or sale of a good or service.
This philosophy has made "profit" a four-letter word and led to a contorted view that every business owner is driven by greed.
Let's take a quick stroll down Economics 101 Boulevard. Walking down the block, we see store fronts offering hometown dining experiences, computer products, wireless services and a franchise fast-food deli. Peering into each of these establishments, there are a few shared ingredients.
In each of the businesses, we see customers seeking a product, good and/or service. Whether the desire is a heaping helping of mashed potatoes, the latest smartphone with a data package or a soft drink to go, having customers willing to release their earnings is the goal of every business owner and what keeps the doors open and the lights on.
In each of these establishments, we also see employees who serve as on the front lines to meet the desired needs, or likely wants, of their customers. These employees are there to earn a wage and, in turn, to take their income and participate as customers in the same economic cycle of retail. Employees are incentivized to work to obtain their needs and desires through the velocity of money.
Unseen to our immediate view are the supply chains of goods and services that fuel these businesses. Arriving at the dawn of the day, productive businesses service other businesses through deliveries, service calls, on and on.
Finally, there are the business owners who risked the upfront investment of time, energy and capital carrying the venture. Folks don't work for free. Utility districts don't allow you a month or two to pay for your infrastructure needs. And years may pass before any profit is realized.
TIME TO UNDERSTAND
A rule of thumb for an entrepreneur is that "in the first year of running your own business successfully, you'll make less than your prior salary," according to a recent article in the Houston Chronicle. "In the second year, you can draw a regular salary. In the third and subsequent years, you can draw a larger salary," according to the article.
To have purchasing power, we need jobs to generate income. To have jobs, there have to be companies, large and small, that are hiring, expanding, and seeking to grow their reach. Finally, to have these businesses, there have to be individuals who are willing to risk capital and embrace the multitude of responsibilities that are incumbent on those who employ others.
At the corner of Opportunity Avenue and Devoted Work Street, we'll find those who making our economy work by investing their "seed money," hiring employees and receiving a profit.
It's time for those whose ideological bent fuels misinformation deeming every business as greedy to understand the reality: We have no economy unless we have businesses and those willing to start and run them.
Thank you, entrepreneurs. We welcome your efforts and profits in Chattanooga and throughout this region.