CA Foundation Business & Commercial Knowledge Study Material Chapter 1 Introduction to Business – Objectives of Business
Every business enterprise has certain objectives which regulate and generate its activities. Objectives are needed in every area where performance and results directly affect survival and prosperity of a business. Various objectives of business may be classified into four broad categories as follows:
Business is basically an economic activity. Therefore, its primary objectives are economic in nature.
The main economic objectives of business are as follows:
- Earning profits –
A business enterprise is established for earning some income. It is the hope of earning profits that inspires people to start business. Profit is essential for the survival of every business unit. Just as a person cannot live without food, a business firm cannot survive without profit. Profits enable a businessman to stay in business by maintaining intact the wealth producing capacity of its resources. Profit is also necessary for the expansion and growth of business. Profits ensure continuous flow of capital for the modernisation and extension of business operations in future. Profit also serves as the barometer of stability, efficiency and progress of a business enterprise.
- Creating customers –
Profits are not created by God or by the force of nature. They arise from the businessman’s efforts to satisfy the needs and wants of customers. A businessman can earn profits only when there are enough customers to buy and pay for his goods and services. In the words of Drucker, “There is only one valid definition of business purpose; to create a customer. The customer is the foundation of business and keeps it in existence. It is to supply the customer that society entrusts wealth-producing resources to a business enterprise”. No business can succeed without providing customers value for their money. Business exists to satisfy the wants, tastes and preferences of customers. In order to earn profit, business must supply better, quality goods and services at reasonable prices. Therefore, creation and satisfaction of customers is an important economic objective of business. Business creates customers through advertising and salesmanship. It satisfies the needs of customers by producing the required goods and services and by creating utilities.
- Innovations –
Business is an organ of dynamism and change. In these days of competition a business can be successful only when it creates new designs, better machines, improved techniques, new varieties, etc. Modern science and technology have created a great scope for innovation in the business world. Innovation is not confined to the invention of a new machine. It comprises all efforts made in perfecting the product, minimising the costs and maximising benefits to customers. It involves improvements in management, production, selling servicing, methods of personnel and accounting, etc. Business firms invest money, time and efforts in Research and Development (R&D) to introduce innovations. They develop new technology, introduce new designs and new tools and processes to minimise costs and to satisfy ever increasing wants of customers. In order to create customers business has to explore new markets and attract more customers. It has also to retain old customers by providing better services to them.
Business does not exist in a vacuum. It is a part of society. It cannot survive and grow without the support of society. Business must therefore discharge social responsibilities in addition to earning profits. According to Henry Ford, “the primary aim of business should be service and subsidiary aim should be earning of profit”.
The social objectives of business are as follows:
- Supplying desired goods at reasonable prices –
Business is expected to supply the goods and
services required by the society. Goods and services should be of good quality and these should be supplied at reasonable prices. It is also the social obligation of business to avoid malpractices like hoarding, black marketing and misleading advertising.
- Fair Remuneration to employees –
Employees must be given fair compensation for their work. In addition to wages and salary a reasonable part of profits should be distributed among employees in recognition of their contributions. Such sharing of profits will help to increase the motivation and efficiency of employees. It is the obligation of business to provide healthy and safe work environment for employees. Good working conditions are beneficial to the organisation because these help to improve the productivity of employees and thereby the profits of business. Employees work day and night to ensure smooth functioning of business. It is, therefore, the duty of employers to provide hygienic working and living conditions for workers.
- Employment Generation –
Business should provide opportunities for gainful employment to members of the society. In a country like India unemployment has become a serious problem and the Government is unable to offer jobs to all. Therefore, provision of adequate and full employment opportunities is a significant service to society. If unemployment problem increases, the socio-economic environment cannot be congenial for the growth of business activities.
- Fair return to investor –
Business is expected to pay fair return to shareholders and creditors in the form of dividend and interest. Investors also expect safety and appreciation of their investment. They should be kept informed about the financial health and future prospects of business.
- Social welfare –
Business should provide support to social, cultural and religious organisations. Business enterprises can build schools, colleges, libraries, dharamshalas, hospitals, sports bodies and research institutions. They can help non-government organisations (NGOs) like CRY, Help Age, and others which render services to weaker sections of society.
- Payment of Government Dues –
Every business enterprise should pay tax dues (income tax, GST, excise duty, customs duty, etc.) to the Government honestly and at the right time. These direct and indirect taxes provide revenue to the Government for spending on public welfare. Business should also abide faithfully by the laws of the country.
Thus, businessmen should pursue those policies and take those actions which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society.
Business is run by people and for people. Labour is a valuable human element in business. Human objectives of business are concerned with the well-being of labour. These objectives help in achieving economic and social objectives of business. Human objectives of business are given below:
- Labour welfare –
Business must recognise the dignity of labour and human factor should be given due recognition. Proper opportunities should be provided for utilising individual talents and satisfying aspirations of workers. Adequate provisions should be made for their health, safely and social security. Business should ensure job satisfaction and sense of belonging to workers.
- Developing human resources –
Employees must be provided the opportunities for developing new skills and attitudes. Human resources are the most valuable asset of business and their development will help in the growth of business. Business can facilitate self-development of workers by encouraging creativity and innovation among them. Development of skilled manpower is necessary for the economic development of the country.
- Participative management –
Employees should be allowed to take part in decision making process of business. This will help in the development of employees. Such participation will also provide valuable information to management for improving the quality of decisions. Workers’ participation in management will usher in industrial democracy.
- Labour management cooperation –
Business should strive for creating and maintaining cor¬dial employer-employee relations so as to ensure peace and progress in industry. Employees should be treated as honourable individuals and should be kept informed.
National objectives of business are as follows:
- Optimum utilisation of resources –
Business should use the nation’s resources in the best possible manner. Judicious allocation and optimum utilisation of scarce resources is essential for rapid and balanced economic growth of the country. Business should produce goods in accordance with national priorities and interests. It should minimise the wastage of scarce natural resources.
- National self-reliance –
It is the duty of business to help the Government in increasing exports and in reducing dependence on imports. This will help a country to achieve economic independence. This requires development of new technology and its application in industry.
- Development of small scale industries –
Big business firms are expected to encourage growth of small scale industries which are necessary for generating employment. Small scale firms can be developed as ancillaries which provide inputs to large scale industries.
- Development of backward areas –
Business is expected to give preference to the industriali-sation of backward regions of the country. Balanced regional development is necessary for peace and progress in the country. It will also help to raise standard of living in backward areas. Government offers specific incentives to the businessmen who set up factories in notified backward areas.
- Control over pollution –
Rapid industrialisation has resulted in air, water and noise pollution. Business is responsible for reducing the adverse effect of business on the quality of life. It must make proper arrangements for the disposal of smoke, effluents, wastes, etc. to protect the health and life of people, animals and birds.
BUSINESS OBJECTIVES AT A GLANCE
- Earning Profit
- Creating customers
- Quality goods at fair prices
- Fair remuneration to employees
- Generating employment
- Fair return to investors
- Social welfare
- Payments of taxes
- Labour welfare
- Developing Human Resources
- Participative management
- Labour management Cooperation
- Optimum utilisation of resources
- National self-reliance
- Development of small scale units
- Development of backward areas
- Pollution control
Role of Profit in Business
Profit earning is essential in business due to the following reasons:
- Incentive – Profit is the driving force behind every business. It inspires people to start an enterprise and to work hard for making it successful. Profit is the reward for, undertaking the risk of business.
- Survival – Profit is essential for the survival of business and it ensures the continuity of an enterprise. In the absence of profits, an enterprise will eat up its own capital and ultimately close down. With the help of profits business can replace obsolete machinery and equipment and thereby maintain its capacity to create wealth. According to Drucker, “profit is the risk premium that covers the costs of staying in business”. Profits help business to face trade cycles and other shocks. Profits are also required to reward various factors of production.
- Growth – Profits is the biggest source of capital for expansion and growth of business. It serves as a means of self-financing. In addition, profits enable business to attract capital from outside. Nobody likes to invest money in a loss making enterprise.
- Measure of efficiency – Profit is considered to be the index of success in business. People judge the performance of an enterprise on the basis of profits earned by it.
- Prestige and recognition – A loss making business enjoys no goodwill. Profits provide economic power and status to businessmen. Higher profits increase the bargaining strength and credit worthiness of business. Moreover, only a profit making business can provide service to society.
Thus, profit earning is an essential and desirable objective of every business. But mere money chasing is not business. According to Drucker, “the problem of any business is not the maximisation of profit but the achievement of sufficient profits to cover the risks of economic activity, and thus, to avoid loss. The businessmen who keep their customers, employees, investors and the society satisfied, will definitely earn good profits”. Urwick has very aptly summed up the relevance of profit motive in business as “earning of profits cannot be the objective of a business any more than eating is the objective of living”. A business cannot survive without profit just as a person cannot live without food. But profits cannot be the sole purpose of business just as eating is not the aim of life. However, profits must be earned by satisfying the wants of customers and after paying workers their dues. In the words of Arvind Mafatlal, “no business or industry is run philanthropically. It has to make a profit for further growth. But this profit cannot be at the expense of labour and the community at large”.
Economic and social objectives of business are not contradictory. They go hand in hand in the long run. No business can earn profits without satisfying customers and other sections of society.
Similarly, business cannot render service without earning profits. Thus, the real objective of business is to earn profit by serving the interests of consumers, employees, investors, Government and the society as a whole.
Objections against Profit Maximisation
Despite their indispensable role in business, profits cannot be the be-all and end-all of business.
The profit maximisation objective is undesirable on account of the following reasons:
- Profit maximisation overstresses the end result and overlooks the means employed to achieve the profits. It considers profit as the ultimate goals of business rather than a means to the real end. The ultimate aim of business should be social welfare. If profit maximisation is considered as the ultimate aim of business, businessmen might try to maximise profits by socially undesirable means such as profiteering, black-marketing, hoarding, exploitation of workers and consumers, etc.
- Profit maximisation overstresses the reward for owners and ignores the interests of other stakeholders. Profit is the reward for capital and profit maximisation gives the impression that a business concern is the domain only of owners. In reality, no business can succeed without the fullest co-operation of labour, consumers, Government and the community at large. Profit maximisation objective overlooks the stake of these groups in business.
- Profit maximisation misguides managers to the point where they may endanger the survival of the business. In order to maximise current profits, managers may undermine the firm’s future. They may ignore research and development, executive development, pushing of the most easily saleable products, and other long-term investments. Such activities threaten the long-term success of the enterprise.
- Profit maximisation has capitalistic overtones. The advocates of socialism decry the goal of profit maximisation on the ground that profit maximisation results in the exploitation of poor by the rich. It also accentuates inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth.
- Profit maximisation is inconsistent with the modern trends in business. Diffusion of share
ownership, professionalisation of management, growth of institutional shareholding and the emergency of a distinctive technostructure are some of these trends. The main goal of the technostructure (control by managers and technologists), is survival and growth of business. Profit maximisation may endanger long term growth and, therefore, the technostructure prefers long-term growth. These professionals regard profit maximisation as unrealistic, inappropriate and even immoral.
A truly successful business can be built only if the objective of service to the society is constantly followed. If this is done profits will come automatically, but if the whole emphasis is on making money business may not survive and succeed for a long period. The guiding principle of business should be profit through service. Every business should provide a proper balance between profit motive and social service.