Too Much “Bottom Line?”

How many times do we hear the term “bottom line” when it comes to business matters? Even those of us who do not fancy ourselves to be very business-savvy know that we are supposed to keep a mindful eye on our “bottom line” as we grow and build our businesses. We are supposed to watch out for budgets, expenses, and revenue and make sure that the numbers show we are actually making money and not spending too much. But, can there be TOO much focus on bottom line? Enough to keep us from taking risks and focusing on the benefits of operating our businesses?

There is no denying that the bottom line IS important. It is foolish to operate a business without going over those expense statements and coming up with a workable budget and trying to stay within it. We can become so focused on the bottom line, however, that we stop looking for new ways to do things or taking other risks and chances. We might start to think that “bottom line” is only about the numbers and not about the long-term benefits to the business and ourselves as well.

For me, it helps to translate the term “bottom line” into “end result”—this helps me to focus on the big picture—how will this affect my business in the long run? Otherwise, I can start to equate “bottom line” with what do the numbers tell me “right now.” Sometimes, it is necessary to take a short-term loss or hit in order to come out ahead in the long run. Too much immediate number crunching and only looking at today’s profit and loss statements can put up a wall separating me from the future. Instead of ignoring the bottom line altogether, I just have to learn how to balance it with risk, benefits and other considerations as well.