The Triple Bottom Line is a concept that encourages business people to consider the overall impact of their organizations—not just the profit. Traditionally, it stands for profit, people, and planet. I like to think of the triple bottom line as profit, people, and purpose. If my businesses aren’t generating value in those three areas, I’m not being successful.
Money isn’t the root of all evil—the love of it is (1 Timothy 6:10). When the primary focus of our work is to earn a paycheck, we make ourselves vulnerable to this mindset. However, when we value people and God’s purpose for our work as well, we can really make a positive difference in the world!
The Purpose Business Can Serve
A great example of a leader who worked toward the triple bottom line is R.G. LeTourneau. Called God’s Businessman by his peers, LeTourneau was a brilliant and eccentric entrepreneur who never finished high school. He worked in construction and was infamous for underbidding his competitors to get jobs. However, he invented machinery that allowed him to get the job done twice as quickly. He eventually started his own business and worked as a manufacturer for Caterpillar—one of Warren Buffet’s favorite stocks.
During the Great Depression, LeTourneau’s business boomed. He became incredibly wealthy, but he didn’t use his wealth to elevate himself. Instead, he and his wife, Evelyn, used their money to give back to the Kingdom during a time when people really needed it. He lived off of 10 percent of his income, and he gave away 90 percent to Christian causes.
At one point, LeTourneau was troubled because, though he loved God, he wasn’t working in ministry. He brought his concerns to his church’s leadership, and the pastor changed LeTourneau’s life in four words: “God needs businessmen, too.”
The Triple Bottom Line Break Down:
If you want to be a Kingdom businessperson like LeTourneau, consider how you’re implementing the triple bottom line in your daily work and priorities.
Business is a great platform to disciple people. If you’re in leadership, consider how you can pour into your team. It could be through a Bible study, encouraging words, or even the sheer fact that you provide employment in the first place. Through business, you can extend people a hand up—not a hand out—where they can feel dignified through using their gifts and talents.
The Kingdom of God. All Christians are serving the same ultimate purpose: to see the Kingdom of Heaven established in the earth. Really take time to pray into God’s purpose for your current position. How can you use the measure of your influence to bring light into dark places?
If you are an entrepreneur, Purpose should be at the genesis of your business. Systems need to be created from the get go to ensure that your purpose is actually being practiced, not just preached.
In order to do the most good and provide the most resources, a profit is necessary. When a profit is made, a portion of it is invested back into the business so that it can grow, a portion is invested into the Kingdom purpose it serves, and a portion is given to the people (through paychecks, for example.)
Smart business people know how to invest so that one dollar is actually worth more than one dollar. A lot Christian missions depend on donations. This is great, but once that money is gone, they have to ask for more money. It’s not that it’s a bad thing to donate to causes; it’s actually a wonderful thing. However, the Triple Bottom Line communicates a smarter way. Instead of dependents, we can be stewards. The money we generate can be used over and over again.
Are you in real estate? Do you want to learn how you can grow your profits and pour back into people and purpose? If so, we invite you to a FREE webinar this afternoon (August 23rd) at 4:oo PM MDT. Click HERE to register.