The Chamber Column is devoted to exploring the intriguing world of business and commerce, a subject with more permutations than a twelve-sided Rubik's Cube. As I was feverishly pondering what rabbit hole to dive into, it occurred to me that the division between "business" and "life" is tenuous and somewhat arbitrary. It's natural for humans to organize the world in neat little boxes, and business isn't spared from our need to classify, and so we define it as having a trade, or making a living through commerce. But we also love our metaphors, and there is no shortage of metaphors available for people to associate with business.

One of the most common comparisons is with war. Companies are compared to armies, workers to soldiers on a battlefield of sales and revenue, CEOs are generals. I suppose there is some value in the comparison; a quick search of Amazon brought up dozens of titles based on Sun Tzu's Art of War. There's "The Art of War for the Business Warrior," the "Art of War for Small Business" and the "Art of War for Managers," among several others. There are lessons to be learned by reading Sun Tzu, the value of patience, self-knowledge, and gathering information before making a decision are all present in the text. But I think it's a stretch to make any deep comparisons between business and war, because the goal of war is destruction, while the goal of business is building and creating. Even if your profession is demolition, you're still in the business of creating. Demolishing an old structure creates an opportunity for a new one. Still, the "business is war" analogy is popular enough to warrant a large number of books based on that theme.

There are books that compare management to ancient Japanese sword duels, books that compare business to gigantic experimental mazes where some shadowy sadist is moving the cheese around, books that explain business as a psychological model, and books that explain business using the conceit of fatherly advice.

What if it's much simpler than all that? What if business is just people working with other people to get things done? We can complicate, analyze, pontificate and categorize every detail and permutation of running a business, but in doing that we often lose sight of the reason behind it all.

The people.

What's important in business really is the people. When we go to a restaurant, we don't remember the bill. We remember the delicious food and the server who was right on top of things, but not too obtrusive, serving with a smile. When we go to the hardware store, we don't remember the unit price of wood screws. We remember the helpful associate who steered us to the right product and saved us hours of labor in the process.

Business isn't separate from life any more than "nature" is separate from humanity. Business is life in action, the result of people with mutual interests working together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. Cooperation, service and integrity, not swords and armies, are what make businesses successful.

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option above this to the right, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions. They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to editor@grantcountybeat.com and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

It has come to this editor's attention that people are sending information to the Grant County Beat Facebook page. Please be aware that the editor does not regularly monitor the page. If you have items you want to send to the editor, please send them to editor@grantcountybeat.com. Thanks!

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised.