Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.
Today I write my last weekly article on the key principles of business success. It has been my deep pleasure to have written nearly 100 columns over the last 18 months.
With a thankful heart, I express my sincere appreciation to the editor who took a risk with a rookie journalist and provided this unique and fulfilling experience. To those who have edited, given advice, read, commented and shared my stories with others, I thank you as well.
Over the past several months I have thoughtfully considered my most important and urgent personal goals and the relationships I cherish most and have concluded with mixed emotions that it's time for me to spend my time and energy on other priorities.
For me personally, the rewards of writing have been significant and pleasant. I have learned to write succinctly and hopefully clearly. I have learned to teach time-tested principles that I view as positive and enlightening, with the greatest prize being an appreciative audience. I have marveled at the reach of my words as they have flown electronically at Internet speed across our spinning planet. I have been both surprised and delighted to hear from readers in the most unexpected locations. I had no idea people from China, Africa and the isles of the sea would be desirous or even grateful for my views on starting and growing a viable business.
If these are my last words on business, what should I say? What could I share with you that would ring true and be profoundly meaningful? Please consider and ponder these overarching points. Business should be about service, stewardship, values, leadership and balance.
Always remember that the world of business, and it’s very purpose, is about serving others; it's about taking good care of employees and providing a marketable wage with benefits to buy homes, food and the necessities of life. It's about exceeding customer expectations with valued products and services that go beyond the mark. It's about giving back and sharing accumulated wealth with those in need who might require a helping hand. It's about paying fair taxes that strengthen the nation and community.
I note with earnestness that leaders and workers should see themselves as stewards over precious resources and committed obligations acquired from and due back to investors, creditors, vendors and customers. Experienced laborers understand that they are not owners but authorized and accountable agents who are responsible for the wishes of others.
It is my belief that business men and women have been entrusted by others to carry out the noble pursuits of commerce and should thereby always keep in mind the solemn duty to execute assignments with diligence, integrity and honor. Success comes to those who keep the promises they have made and are totally honest in their dealings with their fellow men and women. Don't forget that long-lasting award-winning enterprises are built upon a foundation of trust earned carefully over time.
All sustainable and prosperous companies have talented, visionary and dedicated leaders. Companies bloom when energetic leaders are never satisfied with the status quo. Their success is due in part to a passion for continual improvements within the organization, the people, the products, the processes, the policies and the priorities. They know what needs to be accomplished and how to achieve it. They guide, motivate and inspire. Investors and boards of directors should find and hire such titans.
Achieving a proper and healthy balance among many competing life assignments should be the main objective. I believe that work should not be our highest and most important priority. God, self and family should always rise above earning our bread by the sweat of our brow. A love for Providence, a love of ourselves and our own well-being and a love for our spouse and children will be our greatest sources of happiness, fulfillment and joy.
I think of a career as transitory and temporary. One day we will all leave the plow in the field and move to the porch. In the meantime, we should have earned our keep and provided a comfortable lifestyle for those in our care. Before that final day, as we leave our last job, we should do so with no regrets, having enjoyed the ride and by having delivered to our owners, customers and fellow employees our very best effort.
And, now I close for the last time and bid you adieu. May your life’s journey be pleasant and rewarding. As always, you can reach me at @AskAlanEHall or via www.AlanEHall.com.
Alan E. Hall is a co-founding managing director of Mercato Partners, a regionally focused growth capital investment firm. He founded Grow Utah Ventures, is the founder of MarketStar Corp. and is chairman of the Utah Technology Council.