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Needs vs Wants

Needs vs Wants in Business

“You can count on the Universe to always deliver what you need, but understand what you need will not always be what you want.”
― Clyde Lee Dennis

Needs versus Wants

From a young age, most of us were taught about the differences between a need and a want. We intrinsically know that we have only a few, true, basic needs, and many, many wants.

In business, it’s no different, but it’s a lot harder to differentiate and understand.

To start understanding these differences, we need to define needs and wants.

A need points out the something you must have for survival.  On the other hand, a want refers to something good to have, but not essential for survival.

For spending and saving money wisely, every business leader and entrepreneur must know the difference between needs and wants as they relate to their business.


Articulating and defining business needs is a part of the activity called enterprise analysis. It includes identifying and understanding the business’s goals, communicating its strategic direction, and capturing any critical concerns of the business’s successes, challenges, or risks.

For example, businesses can divide their activities into as few as five parts—clients/customers, employees, marketing, office/manufacturing space, and benefits.  For each part, business leaders need to identify the basic need of the business to satisfy that part.

  • For clients/customers, the basic need is generally to find the right customers to make a profit.
  • For employees – to find a consistent, loyal staff to satisfy the business needs.
  • For marketing- to develop a strategic plan to sell your product or service both online and off.
  • For office/manufacturing space – to have an area to handle all work free of distractions.
  • And for benefits – to have a program to ensure your staff is cared for.


With the basic needs identified (in greater detail than above), business leaders should then dream about their wants and how they affect the identified basic needs.

Maybe the wants from the client /customer’s activity are to free up time to increase the volume or market share of customers.  Possibly, for the employee’s activity is to add employees with a different skill set.  Work on branding and public exposure could be a part of marketing.  For office/manufacturing space, looking for a better and more visible location could be a business want.  And for benefits, a want might be to increase offerings to better compete in the marketplace of quality employees.

Happy Medium

Clearly, the obvious key is to compromise.  But in the scheme of managing an ongoing business, the process starts with an operational budget and a market forecast based on basic needs.  After defining the basic needs and overall wants, the real work begins.

Since you cannot afford every want, you need to decide on the return to your business that each want will produce.  Business leaders must be able to answer questions such as: Can you find more customers? Is branding important? Are better and different employees available? Will a change in benefits help attract employees?  Is a better location necessary?

The Bible

When thinking about your business needs and wants, it is essential to keep in mind what the Bible tells us about basic needs.  First, Matthew 6:25 says

For this reason, I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.

As a further clarification 1Timothy 6:17 says.

God…richly supplies us with all things to enjoy

We would be mistaken to think that God does not bless us with more than we need.  We are not called to the extreme asceticism of a homeless hermit. God wants us to have more than we need, but He wants us to recognize that everything, both needs and wants, comes from Him.

God’s word gives us allowances to compromise in evaluating our business wants and needs.  When considering these compromises, you will be faced with balancing your wants versus your needs.  Let the Word of God help you with your decision process. 

And for that, you will be richly supplied.