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Young entrepreneurs

Week Twenty-Four

 

Prayer with Liz and Josh was good – We had all been reading from that marketplace ministry book and we talked about it for a bit.  We all committed to using it to start entirely new cultures at our businesses by implementing the words from the text.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this will apply to lawn care, Lubbock catering and my heating and cooling biz.  After we talked about how to implement this in our businesses, we got down to prayer and asked God to lead us.  We didn’t know exactly what to pray for so we did what the Bible suggests and asked the Holy Spirit to pray for us.  As the Spirit of God we know that He would pray for us according to God’s will and thus we surrendered our time to Him.  We mostly stayed silent in our prayers so that we could focus on listening for guidance.  This silence was refreshing.  Sometimes this sort of silence can be uncomfortable, but since we had become friends and since we trusted one another, we were able to listen.  After about fifteen minutes of this, we stopped and asked one another if we had received any guidance during this time.  Liz said that she felt really moved to lift up Josh.  She said that she just felt that he was carrying around some big burden.  This was right on – Josh admitted that his father had become very sick and that he didn’t know whether he should take time off of his business work to go be with him – to take care of him.  So, we went back to prayer and asked God to reveal to Josh what he should do.  That pretty much ended our prayer time and we all felt better for having it once again.

 

The speaker for the whole business gathering was a manager at a paint store who talked about not letting a business get stagnant.  He presented a picture that showed how businesses typically begin with excited growth but then level off, plateau, and then hit a descent that affects profits and customer satisfaction.  He explained how to avoid this descent and he told how he had managed to go from plateau to a whole new level of momentum.  He said that it was key to take the opinion leaders from your staff on a strategy retreat so that they could offer their opinions about how to better the company.  During this time away, the speaker said that we would notice how company leaders feel empowered by being asked to offer their ideas.  He said that in his experience, this sort of retreat breathed life into his company and he also gave a few other examples of other companies who had had similar experiences.  He said that to put company strategy into the hands of employees really made a difference in how they approached work.

 

It was an eye-opening talk.  I know that I had never considered taking my staff on any sort of retreat much less one that asked my employees to weigh in on “what’s next.”  What do you readers think of this idea?  Have you ever done something like this with your business?  If so, what were the results?

 

That’s it for this blog – I will write to you next week.

 

 

Week Twenty-Five

 

It’s so amazing to me how this group is affecting my business.  I sent out a memo, if you will, to my staff about possible dates for a strategy retreat where we would discuss the future of “our” business.  I let them know in the memo that they would be given full rights as my business partners who could offer opinions that would be heard and implemented.  I also mentioned to them that we would be discussing raises for all of them.  It was funny how quickly they responded.  To a man, everyone sent back their best schedules and I went ahead and set this retreat for three months ahead.  Just by sending the memo I shook up the ground of my business – I could see that my employees were excited about what I was proposing.  I mean who wouldn’t want to talk about raises.  I had already sat down and figured out my own pay cut so that they could each get to a living wage.  I can’t believe that I never thought of paying them better.  No shame or guilt, but I don’t want to ever let them struggle when I have plenty to feed and shelter my own family.

As for prayer, we checked in on landscaping for Josh and catering in Lubbock for Liz.  They reported that they were still experiencing rises in their client bases and so we took a lot of time just thanking God for bringing us together and for answering our prayers.  We all talked about how God exists in the praises of His people and we set out to be more grateful on a daily basis.  Josh reported that he was going to go ahead and see his father and he thanked us for helping him get wisdom on the matter.  I asked them to pray for my and my retreat.  They were impressed that I had already put that talk into practice and they said they were going to do what I had done in the coming week.

The major meeting of the day was actually led by a 16-year old entrepreneur.  This kid had started a painting business and talked about how he had built his business the old-fashioned way – by going door to door in older neighborhoods and asking people if they wanted their houses painted.  This kid was bold.  He reminded me of a an friend of mine from high school who got way out the edge of the business curve to initiate profits from a Lubbock lawn care business.  Anyway, this kid didn’t have much more to offer than to tell us to hold onto the fire of entrepreneurship – he said that we needed to always be building our client bases even if it meant hitting the streets to gain business.  We all agreed with him that we shouldn’t take our business growth for granted.  It was a nice shake-up to our typical meeting.

So how about you readers – Did you start your businesses from a young age and continue to build from there?  Were you bold in your style?  I know I started my business from nothing and I am wondering where you were when you got your business going…