Put Yourself In Position of Ownership

A few weeks ago I saw a short video clip of Jay-Z and he shared some gold, which has made him a multi-millionaire. He talked about his concern with ownership. Owning his publishing and all the rights to his music. Chance the Rapper shared some of that same advice on social media a little while back. Ruslan talked about it in his song ‘Indie Jones’. He talked about how labels wanted major shares of ownership an he decided to stay own his own so he could own his music outright. This isn’t just an issue in music, but in other areas of business as well. I want to share a couple of ideas when it comes to ownership.

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Building An Effective Team | Bible and Business

When you look at multiple areas in the Bible you can see crowds of people with different talents and abilities. We can look to Jesus and see how he built an effective team. Jesus surrounded himself with fisherman, money handlers, a zealot, and others who did not specified occupations. Jesus was a teacher/rabbi and didn't have others who were said to also have his type of calling as a teacher. 

Jesus taught. The fishermen fished. The money handlers took care of the finances. The others helped in various ways. I just recently heard from a pastor that it is wise to find those who don't have identical strengths as ourselves or there can be conflict on who does what job. If there is a group of ministers trying to start a church, they may all want to preach all the time. You need to have someone who has organizational skills, those who handle finances, those who serves hands on with people. Imagine if Jesus just picked a bunch of teachers to build his ministry. That would not have been a well balanced group of people to have a traveling ministry. Even though I believe Jesus could have had a successful ministry with anyone, I think he handpicked this type of group to be an example for us. He also brought along a thief. I think Judas and Peter are two examples to show that powerful organizations and ministries can be built with all kinds of imperfect people as well. 

I am not sure if Jesus had any friends before his ministry. The Bible does not specify this. I do think it can be a mistake if you build an organization around your best friends. Often friends have similar interests and strengths. When you have all the same strengths and all the same weaknesses you are more than likely to hit several roadblocks that can bring on many problems within your business. If you have a leadership team who all specialize in finances and you don't have a visionary, a person to build strategic plans, people to execute the plans, you do not have a well balanced machine. It is also important to remember that every part of a well ran machine needs all the different parts for it to run effectively. Do not look at any one part as more important than the others. Even Jesus washed his disciples feet and took the hits from those who critiqued their ministry. He continually held his people up and protected them as a servant leader. 

If you try to start a music label filled with all artists it will likely not go far because everyone is trying to be creative and build an audience. You need to have a website team, a sales team, marketing team, etc. When I hear of a few aspiring artists trying to build a label I can already see their lack of diversity in talents and abilities becoming a problem from the start. So for anyone who wants to create anything important be sure to have a strong team around you of diverse talents and abilities. 

 

Maximizing Your Talents | Bible and Business |

Even though we might be all loved equally by God, he doesn't give us the same amount of gifts or talents. This is shown in scriptures a few times. One area where we can pull from that might help us in the business mindset is Matthew 25: 14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money." 

In this parable we see these servants receive talents, or money, according to their 'ability.' We might be the person who is only ready for the two talents or even the one talent. We can often become discontent because we weren't the person getting five talents. No matter the number of talents, resources, or skills you have, you need to be giving it your best. Do not let jealousy take over when you see someone get started with more than what you did. This can also be true in any workplace. When a manager gives you any kind of task make sure you are doing your best to fulfill that task with excellence. Do not match your work ethic to the level you view the job. If you feel the job is simple, give it your absolute best. This is how you progress to higher levels of responsibilities or promotion.

We all live in different economic conditions and grow up in different kinds of families. This can lead into the comparison trap. We might be tempted to look at others and compare ourselves to them. God doesn't want us to compare ourselves or our success to others. We don't always know the full circumstances of others so our metric for comparison more than likely will not line up. Without comparing, you can watch those who are further along than you and learn from them. We should always have a mentor who is where we want to be. This takes a level of humility that we are not used to in American culture today. If you look back in scriptures, the disciples studied under Jesus, Timothy studied under Paul,  Elisha studied under Elijah, etc. We have to make sure we are not just criticizing those who are at a higher level than us, but try to learn from them. That can help give you direction on how to take your talents and gifts to the next level.

At the end of the day, find out what your talent is, work it to the best of your ability, and learn from others who can help guide you into success. 

Why Diversity Is Needed

I've been in a lot of discussions lately regarding perspectives and diversity. I remember when I started my current job at the hospital I work at, I was required to go to a diversity training seminar. This seminar focused on trying to be openmined to other cultures and practices that are different from our own. With that came listening to others from a different culture and the way they view society, the world, or even business practices. It is important to have a broad view of the way people operate and taking that into consideration when making business decisions.

One of the most recent mistakes was a commercial from Dove. They had a commercial that came off very racist without that being the intent. When that happened many people online protested the company and said they would no longer buy their products. This was probably an issue with a lack of diversity on the marketing team. Here is the Dove commercial. https://youtu.be/pAIgDredHpw

Another company who probably didn't have a diverse team when releasing a commercial was Pepsi. They released a video in the midst of a lot of the police brutality being fresh on the news and they made it seem like their beverages could calm everything down. Even if that isn't what was intended, it was how it was received by many. That was an error on their end. Here is the video if you haven't seen it. https://youtu.be/73P9STckPLw

Even if you as a business person meant something great by your advertisement or promotional video, you have to think of how it can be perceived by different cultures. That is why having a diverse group of individuals who are great at their job is important. Surround yourself with individuals who see things a little differently from how you do and you will have a better chance getting the right message across.

 

The Power of Customer Service

Every business, no matter what sector it is in, has one area of importance in common. That area is customer service. Anytime I go to a store, restaurant, or use a service I always want to have a great customer service experience. That will usually dictate whether or not I come back to that business in the future. There are a couple of reasons why customer service needs to be a main focus in your business.

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Don't Wait, Live Out Your Calling Now

I believe that everyone here on earth has a calling of some sort. I also believe that some people find it early in life while others spend their whole life searching for it. This week I would like to address those of you who know what you are called to do. I specifically want to address those who are waiting for the perfect opportunity to live out their calling.

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The Important Launch

As many of you may know, I have started an Anchor channel this week. This is another platform for doing audio content like podcasts, interviews, etc. When I started playing around with this app, I let a friend know about it who I thought would get some great use out of it. This individual has a community of supporters who were able to help him launch his station. Having that community allowed for him to chart high on his launch. There are two important factors when preparing for a launch.

  1. The first step is making sure you have a launch team ready. This consist of people who will give you accurate and honest feedback on your content leading up to the launch. They can make suggestions on particular things that would improve the overall content. The most important thing is having a lot of people promoting the content once it is released. This will help download numbers and exposure to a new audience/consumer base.
  2. The second important thing is making sure the content is top notch. You want to make sure you are putting out the best representation of yourself and your content. To do this, you want to carefully prepare your content for a first time listener. They say first impressions lasts a lifetime. This is also true for your business or creative content.

With saying that, I do want to make another important point. You don't have to perfect your content because you may never feel like it is ready to be introduced into the world. If you are waiting for your content to be perfected, you may never release it. Make sure you don't do that. Set a launch date and make sure you are working as hard as you can before that launch date. Your launch team will be able to help you with that journey.

When The Competition Becomes A Partnership

Think about the industry that you are in. There are probably many businesses who are offering similar services or products as you. In the commonplace market these other businesses are considered competitors. More than likely you have many competitors in your space. This is completely normal, unless you are in a very different line of business. One thing I am personally learning is that what we can generically see as competition, can actually become a partnership of sorts. This can happen in several different ways.

  1. If there is a company that offers similar services as you, they may only really be able to handle more wealthily clients. Big branding companies can charge thousands of dollars a month to their clients where you may only charge hundreds. For that bigger company, they can offer much more to their clients than you can because of the size of their team. You could always talk to the leader of that company and see if they would be willing to direct clients with a smaller budget to you and you will return the favor by pointing clients who need more than you can currently offer back to them. Quid Pro Quo.
  2. Many times it is helpful if different companies specialize in certain areas. Say you have two media companies. Both may dabble in music production, engineering, and video production. If the two find a way to narrow their individual focus to a specific area, they could master that particular area more and share clients. Most of the clients really need all those services combined and so you can work with the same client for different services. This also gains the clients trust. Companies who are after the money will often offer to do anything for it. Those who care about the outcome of the client, will try to make sure they get the best service provided. Having a partnership with someone else in that field allows for that to be accomplished.
  3. Another possibility is to create an affiliate programs. This is similar to the previous idea. Only this would provide incentives for your partners to send business your way. When they send you business, you send them a portion of the income from that business transaction. This works really well for many companies and small business owners.
  4. After working with a partner like this, one day you may actually combine forces full-time. This would be considered a joint venture where a new company is established and all the services and products are provided in that new company. This is usually a harder thing to accomplish, so it doesn't happen too often. It can be hard to figure out the leadership dynamic and overall company structure in these scenarios. This usually turns into an acquisition instead of a joint venture. Make sure to get some experienced third-party help if you plan on creating a joint venture.

These are just a few ways to convert a competition into a partnership. There are others creative ways to do this as well. You really need to get to know others in your industry and make sure you don't burn any bridges. Business isn't about tearing down everyone else so that you can succeed. It is about being the best at what you do and serving the customers. That can often include pointing them to another business that can better fit their current needs. This shows that it isn't all about you, but about the customer. It is a narrow path and that is why very few take it. Stand out and be smart and considerate.

What Is Your Passion Worth?

Follow your passions. Follow your dreams. Do what makes you happy. These are all common phrases we hear when we talk with others about our future plans and careers. I have heard discussions from several viewpoints regarding these kinds of statements. There are a few things that you can not forget though. Doing something that you are passionate about does not mean that anyone will pay you for it. There has to be a demand for what it is you are wanting to do. Especially if you plan on making a living doing it. When I say demand, I mean people who support financially, not just vocally.

One of my biggest podcasts includes podcasting. I have two that I am a host of. I love doing them and will continue to do them whether or not I get paid full-time or not. Many people pray for me that I will be able to sustain a living doing what I do now, but I know there has to be people who value it enough to exchange monetary value for intellectual/entertainment value. I started both podcasts understanding that. Even though those are my passions, I do not look for them to pay my bills. I will continue to find ways to monetize those ventures of mine as long as I do them. That would be a dream to be able to do those for a living. I do understand that dreams alone do not pay bills.

I will probably get a lot of pushback on this topic I know. I don't say this as a lack of faith or anything. It is just a fact of understanding the market. If you have a dream of something you would like to do full-time, you need to understand how to monetize that passion. I will not put my passion over my family. My family is my first passion. I have a responsibility to make sure their needs are met with God's grace and help. Please be sure you are taking care of your responsibilities before chasing your dreams.

The Blessing Of A Part Time Business

I've been seeing a lot of people talking about running their businesses full-time and making a living off of it. I think both angles have their merits. I wanted to talk about both of them briefly in this weeks blog. When people get started in a business, it usually starts as a side hustle. This is something they do in their spare time because they enjoy doing it. For some people it involves making music/art. For others it is mowing lawns, fixing cars, or working on other things that they enjoy. After an individual find a way to get paid for what they enjoy, they might think about how they can do this to pay their bills. In all honesty, this is where I see people go from doing something they enjoy to it becoming a stress.

When you are dependent on making a living from being self-employed, you add a layer of duty and responsibility to the thing you used to do just for fun. At that point you may stop having as much fun as you used to. You then have to focus on how to market it, sell it, decreasing the cost in order to make better profit, etc. When you do something for fun there isn't as much stress on the cost because you are not 'required' to do it. When it is paying your bills you have to focus on so much more than just having fun. This can be a downer for some folks. When I interviewed Aaron Simpkins on the Business with Bordeaux podcast, he told me that his goal was to be able to run True Strength Apparel part time and have another part time job to help pay bills. I didn't fully understand that then, but I do see now why he feels that way. He wants to enjoy having more freedom in running True Strength Apparel than just finding the best way to profit in order to feed his family. Ryan Moore from Trackstarz also shared his story of running Trackstarz full-time. There was so much stress involved with trying to worry about personal finances and also worrying about the finances of the company. Sometimes it can be just too overwhelming.

There are some great advantages to running your own company full-time and paying bills from it. I have interviewed many entrepreneurs who have made it work. At the same time, I don't think it is for everyone. It is perfectly fine to have a small business that you run part-time. It is less stressful and allows for more freedom in many cases. The big question is, what is best for you?

The Facade Of Fake Followers

Social media is a huge driving force for many businesses today. Especially any online business. It is the cheapest form of marketing that currently exist. One of the most common metrics in social media is the amount of followers that a person or business has. The problem with this metric is that it doesn't really show a real following. Even though there may be a million followers, only about 1% might actually be active followers. When I say active, I mean people who actually keep up with what is going on with the business. In reality, this may only mean 10,000 people are actually keeping up with what is going on. Depending on the type of industry you are in, 1-10% might be the number of active followers. This ultimately changes depending on how much you stay engaged with your audience.

Being engaged with the followers you do have is more important than the overall number of followers you have. These fans/followers will grow with you. Here are a few ways to make sure you are staying actively engaged with them:

  1. Respond to everyone who comments on your content. Don't just say 'thanks' and be done. Actually discuss the content with them or see if they have any questions.
  2. Follow your followers. This is a great way to see what it is they are interested in and allows for you to see what their needs may be. You can also use this as a chance to do market research as well. There could be things that you are not including in your content that they may want to see or hear.
  3. A DM means a lot. Direct messages are a way to reach out to a follower one on one. It means more than just a tweet or response in the comment section. You may actually get some really valuable information discussing things one on one with a follower. It will also make the follower feel more important. Having that conversation can really make a person respect you as a person and not just a public figure or business.

I see many bigger name artists and public figures who don't really connect with their followers and that makes them seem fake or like they think too much of themselves. It is important to remember that these followers are the ones who are potentially going to be paying you for your service or content. In that regards, they are your source of potential income. Don't treat them like dogs nipping at your feet. Treat them as real individuals who support what you do.

Focusing On Your Goals

This week on the Business with Bordeaux Podcast, I talked with Maya Dawson from Trackstarz Music. Maya is a project manager and in charge of A&R. During our conversation she mentions a recurring theme around the different ideas that came up during the creation and release of the "Wonder Years" project by Sean David Grant. One of the first things that Maya talked about during the interview was the overall goals for the album. Once that was determined, everything that followed needed to align with those goals. This keeps a project or task pointed in the right direction.

The biggest reason this can be a problem is that we often have so many great ideas. I learned early in my time in leadership that not every great idea is meant for now. Another thing that I would find myself doing is trying to make my idea look like it was helping achieve the overall goal that had been set. This is something I have been guilty of so many times and it hindered the achievement of reaching the goal in the allotted time frame. It is a hard thing for some people to pay attention to. This begs the question, "Why is this such an important idea in business?"

Many businesses have some basic business goals that they are trying to meet. These are common goals such as completing the mission, turning a profit, customer satisfaction, etc. Once these goals are met, usually growth and expansion is the next approach. This is where some companies begin to stray away from their main goals. This happens because there are smaller goals that are set to try and expand and those smaller goals could accidentally override the bigger goals. When goals start to go off course just a little, down the road it can cause a huge change of direction. This is why it is important to always make sure any action taken place is in alignment with the overall goal of the business. Having a team is a great way to help with this. When you have a team of individuals who understand the company's goals, they can help keep everything on track. Having a project manager also increases the likelihood of staying on track with everything as well. Whatever you do, make sure you are in line with your goals and mission in all the decisions that you make. Even if that means holding off on your great ideas for a later time.

Thanks for reading this weeks Business with Bordeaux blog. For all of my blog posting, podcasts, and small business news, you can visit businesswithbordeaux.com.

Thanks and God Bless

Investors And Debt

As we hear about start up companies in today's world of tech, we know of so many companies raising funds and trying to eventually become net positive within 'years.' I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound too appealing to me. Once that money runs out, they raise more funds. It is a repeating cycle for so many companies. When there are no more funds to raise, debt becomes the next go to. It is so common for folks to go into so much debt to start a company and it can become dangerous. This is the way most people think you have to start a business in today's world. I submit to you to think of a better way.

First, I want to address the investor aspect of this. When people are raising funds they are selling a portion of their company. The more money they raise, the less of the company they own. Eventually, the owner could end up loosing controlling interest of the company. This means that the other owners could kick the current owner out of the company. Usually they can't take their equity away, but they can take them out of a position of control and change the company all around. This isn't a fun experience for business owners. Debt is another big issue for companies. Business owners usually take out debt that they are personally responsible for when starting out. This is a super stressful thing for business owners to go through.

There is a term that is used in small businesses called bootstrapping. This is where you put up some kind of money to start a business, then use the profits to run the company and grow slowly. This is an old school approach before there were angel investors or big banks for loans. This is the way I recommend any small business owner to try to grow and operate. Owning a business is like maintaining a household. The more debt that is accumulated, the more day-to-day stress will be seen. It is just overall a bad situation. Some people will try to rebuttal with the company's growth rate being higher than the interest rate of borrowing money, but that doesn't take into the rate of risk and environmental factors. I may dive into this topic a  little more at a later time, but for now, I hope this has been somewhat helpful.

What Is Your Unfair Advantage?

One of the most important questions when starting and growing a business is what is your unfair advantage. Unfair advantages are those abilities and distinctive competencies that give you the edge over your current and potential competition. This can exist in many different forms and work differently for people. One example of an unfair advantage is a wealthy family. Having an investment from a family member to help you get the start up materials can be an unfair advantage over others who may not have family members who are able to do the same. The same can go from receiving an inheritance from a loved one that can help you start your business in some way.

Another unfair advantage could be a person's work schedule. Most small businesses start as a side hustle for those who have full time jobs to pay bills. For example, I currently have a job where I work overnight for a week then get a week off. This allows for opportunities that I may not get with a traditional 9-5 schedule. Some people work 4 10-hour workdays and get a three day weekend. This is also a great way to spend a few days a week working on that side job.

In some cases growing up poor is an unfair advantage. I know it sounds a little crazy, but those who had to work harder for what they received, usually appreciates the rewards much more. They also are usually the most hungry for success. Every little small win give them a boost of confidence. Even though it may not seem like it, growing up poor can actually help with the drive more that growing up wealthy.

I would say one last unfair advantage would be having a supportive circle of friends and family. Everyone doesn't have both parents or siblings to be there for emotional support. It is helpful to have a loving spouse, parents, children, or great friends to be there when times are hard and you start doubting yourself. This isn't something you can necessarily create, so that would be an unfair advantage over those starting this journey by themselves.

The whole purpose of this post is to show that these "unfair advantages" are not a bad thing to have. Everyone has a different kind of advantage over their competition just like in sports. Football players shouldn't feel bad because they are naturally fast runners. Basketball players shouldn't feel bad for being a foot taller than their teammates. They use these things to their advantage to help the team and build their career. Don't let anyone make you feel ashamed for having a certain advantage over others. Just don't use it in a negative way. The purpose of any business should be to serve others with what they need in the best way possible. Using all of your resources to do that and making a profit is a good thing. So go and find your unfair advantage and use it to the best of your ability.

How Big Should Your Company Be?

When you look around at different businesses, you will see the different sizes that exist. Some people look at businesses like Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, and other major national chains and feel like that should be the goal. The truth is that not everyone is meant to have a huge business. Sometimes businesses are best to stay on a smaller scale. Being a performing artist is one area where this is true. A lot of individuals feel like they need to do national tours or have a global platform. I do not feel this is true for everyone. Sometimes it is best to stay on a local scale and share your music in that way. The bigger the platform, the larger the amount of stress that comes into play. Other businesses are similar.

I notice that some companies do a great job being in a niche market. They then try to branch out into many other areas when they are number 1 in their current market. They could possibly go beyond their capabilities and end up in a negative position. This can be due to lack of expertise, bad timing, or this not being part of their purpose.

This is often hard for me to address because I do feel that growth is healthy and we should all be trying to do and be the best we can. In some situations, we just need to stay small and be the best in that small market. It kind of fits the "Riches in the Niches" idea. Ultimately everyone should pray and ask God how they should address possible opportunities and whether or not those are a part of his plan for you.

Whose Dream Is It?

Ever hear the phrase “work-life balance?” It is a common idea that gets tossed around as a normal part of having a career. I would venture to say that I am constantly learning how to manage this in my life. One of the biggest realizations I encountered was that my life’s future is not just my life’s and my dreams do not just affect me. When two people become married, the two become one. We all know that right? Our dreams also become combined. When we get married we have to see what the purpose of our family is and what our family’s dreams are. Our spouse may also have a dream that is impacted by our dream. They affect each other. There must be a mutual agreement for the family team on what they future looks like in regards to that families mission.

Starting and running a business or even a ministry involves the whole family. There are sacrifices made by the entrepreneur as well as the family. When a business owner is spending so much time away from home to get this business up and started, the family has to continue to keep moving. Think about military personnel and how their families have to maintain while they are deployed. The whole family is affected not just the soldier. The reason I point this out is to help others realize, like I continue doing, that every move that is made in a business affects that individual’s family. Major decisions that affect scheduling, family time, finances, and even ministerial duties need to be run by the family team, especially your spouse.  Just like a board of directors has others in the room to make sure every decision made is a serves the mission of the company, you need to have your own board of directors making sure the decisions are lining up with the families goals and dreams. I am far from perfecting this attitude in my life, but I am starting to build on it more and I hope you do as well.

Relationships > Networking

This week on the Business with Bordeaux podcast I shared a little about my journey thus far. One of the biggest lessons for me is building relationships. There have been a few people who have been helping me connect with other Christian business owners and I am super grateful for that. In order for that to have ever happened, it took me building a relationship with those individuals. Chretien Dumond shared in his book "Sky Full of Stars," about the importance of this idea.

When we strictly network, we stay focused on what others can do for us and not enough of what we can do for others. We must always be focusing on what good we can deliver to others, paid or not. When we reach out to others, it should not be to suck everything we can out of that relationship, but to build a friendship where both parties are helpful to one another. If you are only looking to gain as much as possible from someone, rethink that relationship.

There is a time and place for networking. At major events or conferences you don't have the time to build a relationship with everyone there who may want to buy a product or hire you for a job. Sometimes business just takes place and everything is just transactional. That is fine for a short term goal. Long term partners form great relationships in order to sustain that ongoing. I am grateful for those who I have been able to form relationships with over the last year and will never take them for granted. I hope you feel the same about those in your life.

Is Your Business Self-Serving?

One of the biggest things I hear kids talk  about is starting a business so they can have money, be their own boss, not have to answer to anybody else, etc. Starting and successfully running a business in today world is hard. It isn't as easy as people think just because so many people are starting "businesses."  A lot of people do want to start a business for mostly personal reasons and not because there is a need for it. I would consider this self-serving. Now don't get me wrong, business owners can see great personal benefits and there is nothing wrong with that. I want people to want to start a business because they care about the work they are doing and knows it will positively impact others.

When you do something just for yourself, it is easier to quit. When you are doing a work for someone else, it gives more motivation and drive. I'm sure some people would disagree with me and thats fine. This is a big reason for having a mission statement. If you have one, then you can make sure that mission is being fulfilled in all the decisions being made. We hear about so many scams and money laundering because of self-serving business decisions. Don't be a person with these problems. Make sure you are creating a business out of a need for others and because you want to help meet that need. That isn't just a Christian idea, but an overall business strategy.

If you haven't yet started your business, make sure you form a strong and clear mission statement. If you already have a business, make sure you stick to your mission statement. If you didn't have one, then look back to the overall purpose of your company, and create one to keep you in check with all of your decisions. Don't let your business be self-serving.

Don't Ride The Wave

There have been countless times where I have heard this company is going to be the Uber of the food industry or another company is going to be the Airbnb of cars. So many new companies are trying to be the imitation of other successful companies. Most of those companies end up failing. This is due to the lack of creativity and innovation. There is a difference in adjusting to working business models and trying to imitate another versions of leading companies. The important thing is working on innovation for your business.

You always want to stay up to date with current technologies and look to where the marketplace is going. You need to assess your company and find ways that you can differentiate yourself from the competition or other companies in general. If you are in the clothing industry, you may want to think about investing into e-commerce based off the declining sales of in-store purchases. As you look at the market in general, those changes are important for all companies to follow or even try to get ahead of.

This is a little different from copying other companies business strategy such as Toms. That shoe company is pretty well known for the buy one give one model. For every pair of shoes purchased, they donate one pair to a needy child. This model has a social purpose and makes the buyer feel good for shopping with them. If a coat company came into the clothing industry with the same exact model, they may be looked at as imitators. The other problem is that if this coat company has to always follow the trends of other companies, they will never get ahead.

The big trend in millennials is social enterprise. So keeping that in mind in a business model, the coat factory in the previous example should try to find their own way of making a difference. If they can find a way to make a difference in their community, that would be beneficial to everyone. I have used Humble Beast as an example several times, but I would like to point out their innovation once more. They decided a long time ago that as a part of their ministry mission, they would make all their music available for free on their website. They built their model to run financially off of other services that they do as a part of a company. Now that album sales are not as high as they once were, it doesn't impact them as much as other record labels. They made this decision before streaming really took off. Their innovation set them up for future success.

The main idea I want you to think about is how can you be innovative with whatever it is you do. Make sure you look at the marketplace trends and not just one individual company for guidance. If you are only able to get ideas from other companies, you may want to find a business strategist to partner with. Otherwise you may be riding behind the wave instead of being in front of it.

It's All About Execution

How many times have you heard a person say, "I had that idea a long time ago." Many people have great ideas that they think about from time to time. I'm sure you have had an idea that later was implemented by somebody else. That is one of the problems many of us have. It isn't the lack of great ideas, it is the lack of executing those great ideas. We need to be able to get a game plan and execute. Here are a few steps to being able to get the execution process started.

  1. Write down the idea. I use to get so many great ideas and I would just let it flow right in and out of my mind. It usually came up when I was out and about. I have decided to start writing down all my ideas that I feel are valuable. (I actually type them in my notes on my phone.)
  2. Reverse engineer the idea. Start with what you would like to do and work backwards to break down the end goal into steps that you would have to take to reach it. For example, if you want to make a certain amount of income per year you need to figure out what that would look like broken down monthly and possible weekly. How much will the business cost to run and how would you generate a profit? Then you would think about what it would  take in terms of labor and cost of production. Finally, you can look to see what is required to get started. Reverse engineering works well for planning. It goes along with Luke 14:28, "Which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has the resources to complete it?" You need to know what it will cost before you get started to see if that is possible and to save yourself from getting started and find yourself stuck in a situation that you didn't think about. There are always unexpected occurrences, but try to keep those at a minimum.
  3. Pray for Spirit leadership. Make sure this journey is something that is God ordained. As a Christian in business we have a slight advantage over other who do not have the Holy Spirit to lead them. We have a little extra help when we are in need. I say this because as business owners, entrepreneurs, and future leaders, we may get so caught up in strategy and planning that we forget to involve Jesus in all of our decisions. For this reason I wanted to make sure I included Spirit leadership in this list.
  4. Get started. For a lot of people, the hardest part of anything is just getting started. There is a book by Jon Acuff called "Start." I highly recommend this book. It help you get past the idle stage many of us get caught in before starting a venture. We often are waiting and waiting to start anything when we need to have started yesterday. We are waiting for the perfect launch pad or perfect timing, when in reality there is no perfect timing. We have to pray, count the cost, and actually START. Please don't become a slave to procrastination.

We have to do more than generate an idea. We need to actually implement those ideas. Getting started is the hardest part, but once you do it, you will be glad you did. Go ahead and do it today.