Business is business and don't you forget it! How many times must it be said? It's the money. As Americans, we are very naïve about the way businesses operate. This naiveté can lead to disastrous expectations and hurt feelings, not to mention the loss of a means to make money and the development of health care benefits and retirements funds. For those of you who insist on sticking your head in the sand while the businesses of America line up to kick you in the *** -news flash! -- it doesn't have to be that way! Knowledge is power and knowledge about the world of business may save you a few heartaches along the path of life. Note: Don't listen to what the businesses have to say unless they're talking about giving you some money and even then beware. I liken anything business says in the interest of the public like statements coming from the fox that is guarding the hen house. The following is a short list of things you should remember about business. Businesses exist to make money-A business can't stay in business without operating capital. It must make money in order to meet the publics need. With publicly held corporations businesses exist to make money for stockholders who could care less about what the public needs-unless it will affect the bottom line and their take from the booty. Businesses are not philanthropic by nature-Businesses exist to supply a living to the owner(s) and stockholders of that business as well as meet a need that the public has expressed. In return for meeting a need, businesses expect to be paid. Any philanthropic work coming from business, with some exceptions, generally hide public relations and marketing strategies designed to make more money. Businesses care little for people-except those who are irreplaceable assets. Businesses devour people using their skills, time and talent to advance the goals of the business, which is primarily to make money. (Let it be noted that these resources are paid for their indentureship.) Once an asset is no longer functioning, too expensive, out of date or a cheaper one can be found the asset is sold off or dismissed (downsizing) in the interest of saving money in order to increase profits. Elimination of competition is good business strategy to maximize profits. Although competition makes good propaganda for consumers, in reality, competition is an item targeted for elimination. The less competition, the higher the prices and profits. The higher the prices, means there is more money available for corporate growth and dividends. Competition is only good for consumers. It makes pricing more competitive and it forces businesses to improve their service and products to keep up with the competition. Still, no competition is the preferred state. Quality is always a forced item. Few companies build anything to last unless forced into that position. Planned obsolescence is a common practice in order to keep the consumer dependent upon the business. However, competition changes that equation and force businesses to consider quality in order to keep market share and make money. Businesses never exceed expectations-Unless forced to do so by competition businesses will never exceed expectations. They play to the lowest common denominator. Under normal circumstances, companies don't try to build the best; they build what the public will buy at the highest price. In other words, businesses always try to get by with as little as possible in order to keep costs down and therefore make more money. This is open to dispute, but giving more than what the public expects is a good way to go out of business. It is also a way to win customers loyalty. There is a fine line here and most fear to tread it. Only if there is a perceived value will the consumer appreciate the extra effort. In other words, giving the consumer more than they expect raises costs unnecessarily. Business always looks for a way to spend less and make more-Whether it is through laying off employees, cutting expenses, closing divisions or all of the above, businesses are always looking for ways to spend less and to make more money. When you have been a 20-year employee, your salary is, more than likely, much higher than a one-year employee doing the same work. So, it is in the interest of the company to have you leave your position in order to cut costs. They will also give you an offer you can't refuse--downsizing. Of course, by the time you have worked at a company for twenty-five years you are more than likely in a protected class that could bring an age discrimination lawsuit against the company. Many companies will do it anyway, then settle out of court with each individual because it is cheaper. If you want the true story, always follow the money! Business' first priority, today, is to stay in business-Perhaps, you were fooled by the gold watch routine and family corporation pictured in the media, but that's not the way it is. Once a business is in business, it will do about anything to stay in business including layoffs, downsizing, merging and even declaring bankruptcy. They will stay in business, but you won't. Businesses only change when forced to do so-Business conditions rarely change without a catastrophic event caused by the competition, government intervention, and union trust or employee ownership. Changing operating procedures is not in the interest of a business unless current procedures cause a loss of a competitive edge. Otherwise, it's business as usual. (The tobacco industry is the latest example of this.) Businesses can always be counted on to do the least-Businesses, especially large businesses can be counted on to always follow the letter of the law, but not the spirit. Large businesses hire and retain expensive attorneys to find loopholes in the law so they can make profits while sticking to the letter of the law while violating the laws intent. If it's not clear to you by now, businesses exist to make money. If you help them make money, you are a valuable asset. If you stop them from making money, you are expendable. Whether this is right is wrong depends upon your point of view, but from this point forward be clear about the mission of business. Today we have the United States doing business with known enemies of the United States. How? They do it legally by avoiding the spirit of the law, using third parties and neutral intermediaries. In some cases, our own government even sanctions these trade agreements with non-sanctioned countries. As an example there is no war that we are fighting at this time. Yet, the military complex continues to sell weapons. Who are they selling them too? Often, they sell to known enemies of the United States. Some are even letting secret technology out of the country in order to stay in business. Businesses are great for providing people with jobs, but don't forget why they exist in reality-to do business. It's a form of prostitution. Anyone with money is a potential customer. Businesses exist to do business. They are not particularly concerned with where the profits come from, after all--business is business.