The true costs of delivering what matters

This business advice column speaks to the soulful side of business. It is designed for companies and individuals that want to excel, stand out, and realize ROWM: A Return on What Matters. It is based on the book from the business superhero The Profit Prophet. Please send your questions (which may be anonymous) to


Hey Prof,

I have a startup company with limited funding. What does “Return on What Matters” cost? Do I wait until I am profitable?


Dear Waiting,

Wait no more. 

Return on What Matters (ROWM) is at the heart of culture, and an inspired culture is at the heart of productivity. Like the foundation of a building, values and culture come first. Not crafting the culture you want will give you a culture you don’t.

It doesn’t cost anything to focus on what matters. It costs a lot to ignore it in terms of profit, longevity, competitiveness and attracting and retaining the best talent and customers.

While ROWM seems like the soulful side of business and not “real strategy,” nothing could be farther from the truth. When you understand what matters to your employees, they will deliver what matters to your customers, which circles back to your question regarding profit. Customers go where they matter.