Priorities: the perks, the product or profit?

I was talking to an entrepreneur the other day about how he got started and broke away from the 9-5 cube dweller life and he had some sage advice for me which I thought I’d share – and I’m paraphrasing here.

Focus on the product, not the perks. When people branch out to do their own thing, they have grand plans to create the best workplace environment and focus so much on the perks and benefits of this new project that they lose sight of the bigger picture which is to make a great product which will turn a profit.

It’s fine and good to have free food, weekly massages, a foosball table and flexi time but if you focus too much on those things, you will neglect your product – the very thing that brings or will bring you money which you will need to fund your perks. Google may be well known for its slew of perks but are people really just lounging around in hammocks and binge eating in the cafeteria? or are they working on amazing Google products that the world has grown to know and love like Google search, Maps and Gmail?

Don’t let your perks define you or your company. Let your product take centre stage. Everything else will fall into place. Yes, Google is often talked about in light of their perks but we also know they’re more than that. And they’re driven to be the best at what they do.

And when it comes to profit: don’t just aim for acquisition. Aim to make something amazing that will change the world. The thinking isn’t as naive as you might assume – how often have we thought of the work we do as being ordinary but in fact it amounts to so much more than that? Similarly, your product could grow to become something far bigger than you imagined – but only if you let it. Don’t hold back – think big, scale back and take it one step at a time.

Aim to make profit, today – not tomorrow or a year from now. If you can start making money now, why won’t you? If you were offered cash in hand today or next week (all things being equal, no strings attached), which option would you choose?

‘Nuff said.