“Is this really happening to me?”
Over the past month, I have been in communication with 3 different Kingdom business owners. Each of these young, Christian entrepreneurs have found themselves in an unexpected and tough situation. Their close teammates and business partners are leaving and returning to their home countries. Left on their own to run their infant businesses, these owners are asking some very hard questions:
Facing the reality – people leave!
Over the past 13 years of doing business in the Arab world, there is one thing that is a given. People come and unfortunately a huge percentage go. They leave for various reasons like family issues, business problems, lack of fruit, burnout, or God calling them on to another ministry. In no way am I saying that people leave for invalid reasons. All I am saying is: “People leave!”
From my experience, most people last between 2 – 4 years in the Arab world.
I have asked myself a simple question many times in the past. “What could we have done to prevent them from leaving?” The straightforward answer is not much at all. You may have been able to keep them longer, but there is really not much you can do to keep people on the field. Eventually they will leave!
So what can we do?
One thing that we try to advise any new Kingdom business startup is to think through the “what if” scenarios. Sit down as a business team and ask yourselves the hard questions. Make sure that you have clearly thought through the different scenarios so that you are not taken by surprise. You can praise the Lord if you never need to deal with the situations you have discussed, but it is better to be prepared than to be taken by surprise. You may want to ask your team questions like:
Take some time this week to talk through these questions with your business team!
My teammates are already leaving – so what next?
If you have found yourself in a situation where your business team has already lost a key player, there are a few things that I would recommend doing.
1. Assess the current business
The first thing that I would do would be to take an inventory of my business. I would do a SWOT analysis to find out where the main weaknesses and threats are in my business. From this analysis, I would create a list of the key help that I need.
I would also evaluate the current business model to see if I could modify it slightly so that I could keep running it by myself. I would ask myself if there are certain products or services that I could reduce which would allow me time to focus on the main income generators.
2. Reach out for help
Once I have identified where I need the most help, I would try to find people that could help in 2 different capacities.
I would first search for people who could help in a short-term situation, just to keep the business afloat. You may be able to find some willing people in the retirement community or even people in your home church. There are highly qualified people who would love to help with various tasks, if you just ask.
Another great place to look for cheap labor is on the freelance websites like elance.com or odesk.com. For a relatively small amount of money, you can find writers, designers, administrators, and virtual assistants who could help relieve your added workload.
Once I have the business under control, I would begin to look for long-term solutions. You may want to look at recruiting new teammates, building strategical networks, or even combining your business into an existing healthy business.
3. What is the main goal of your life?
Remember to keep your focus on the main goal: to glorify Jesus in all you do and to be obedient to His call on your life. You may have to adjust your business strategy or model! You might have to shut it down completely.
The key is to be led by the Holy Spirit and to be obedient to what He is asking you to do.
James 4 warns us, “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
Seek the Lord and His will! I am confident He will lead you on
…even if your teammates leave!