Erin Rollenhagen, founder and CEO of Entrepreneurial Technologies, has written a book, “Soul Uprising,” that includes the central message “It’s never just business.” 

As Rollenhagen, a proud graduate of Ames High School and the University of Iowa, has said at rooftop receptions and quiet book signings, taking a hard line on business without considering the people involved is a mistake, in her view.

Early in her book, she tells of instances where actions were taken for the sake of the bottom line — like delaying responses or deliveries — without regard to the frustration, business interruption and other problems they caused. 

“I’ve come to recognize that ‘it’s just business’ is often a cover for actions that go against the grain of the soul,” Rollenhagen writes. “Yet many, many people seemed to view it this way, as if our moral compass was supposed to suddenly evaporate when we walked through the office door.

“OK, that’s fine, but that’s other people. It doesn’t have to affect me. I’m strong. I can continue to do things the way I know is right, can’t I? The heart certainly wants to. Oh, does it want to. Yet each time our trust is broken, each time someone takes advantage or leaves us hanging, it’s a blow to our dream of what our lives could be. Over time, as the hits keep coming, something starts to happen. We start to anticipate the blow before it arrives. We flinch and cover. We ever-so-subtly pull ourselves back to avoid the pain. 

“Over the last 12 years I’ve experienced many of those external struggles: battles with clients, haters and even those close to me. I’ve questioned myself more times than I can count. I’ve felt torn between what feels like the right thing to do, the thing I set out to do, and the endless waves of harsh reality that pummeled my optimism. Can I make it doing business in a way that feels right? Why are people so nasty? Can’t things just fall into place? Why does business so often have to feel like war?” 

Rollenhagen’s book, available on Amazon, describes ways to avoid the war, and it’s worth a read. Her company’s core values are a hint of where she was headed: 

- People matter.

- Trust matters.

- Honesty matters.

- Commitments matter.

- Respect matters.

- Special matters.