Margins with a Mission

Illustration of Tien Huynh

Tien Huynh

Business Owner, Zeller Automotive Group, Opti-Life & Distinct Ink

Favorite quote from Good Profit

“…What a man can be, he must. This need we may call self-actualization…it refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially.” Good Profit, page 197

“Growing up, my parents believed I had three career choices: doctor, lawyer or engineer. I knew deep down there were more options for me than the three choices my dad gave me, but I didn’t know how to explain to him that I wanted to be a businessman,” said Tien Huynh.

To Tien, the ideas of Market-Based Management® found in Good Profit are integral to both life and work. He was first exposed to MBM principles in his high school Youth Entrepreneurs (YE) class. During that class in the spring of 1999, Tien had an epiphany. 

“I ran home that evening to share with my father the fourth career option. I told him, ‘Dad, you know how you want me to be an engineer at Boeing? Well, I don’t want to be an engineer at Boeing, I want to own Boeing!’ And that was the beginning of my self-actualization, way before I even knew what self-actualization was.”

Today, as an entrepreneur and small business owner in Wichita, Kansas, Tien strives to live out the principles of Good Profit in his day-to-day work and believes the culture, values and exposure to MBM is important to creating a solid foundation in which a business can make decisions, grow and excel.

“My favorite principle is Principled Entrepreneurship™,” said Tien. “I have my own version of it for our investments called 'Mission and Margins.' We know that they can co-exist and the reality of it is, the investment is more sustainable long term when mission and margins co-exist.”

Another Good Profit lesson Tien applies is motivating through incentives. 

“Most of our compensation plans are incentive-driven. We want our staff to know, the more value they create for our customers and our business, the more they’ll be compensated,” said Tien. “We call it ‘working your comp plan.’ Not only do we incentivize sales numbers and objectives, we also incentivize customer service index scores. Once again, it’s not just about profits, it’s principled profit.”

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