Believing, In Business?


Part One

Who is the real CEO of your business?

A young believing entrepreneur was interviewed for an article concerning how believer’s dealt with business issues, when working in a worldly environment with those who have different belief systems.

Int: Would you tell me about yourself before you decided to start your own business?
“Before I started this business, I worked for a privately-owned Plastic Bottle Manufacturing company and then felt led to go into full time Missionary work. I went to Malawi for about 3 years with my wife and young family. When we felt that work was complete, we came back to South Africa and I was invited to work for my old company again. It was after that season of time that the opportunity came for me to start this business.”

Int: What kind of business do you have?
“Simply put, we buy and sell Plastic Bottles and accessories into various types of industries i.e. Cosmetic, Food, Chemical and Pharmaceutical. We don’t manufacture anything but have verbal sales agreements with about 40 Entreprenuer 2 jpg manufacturers around Johannesburg. This helps us to focus on servicing our customers without the added challenges of manufacturing.”

Int: Were your parents or relatives entrepreneurial?
“Although my father was loyal to a large corporate company for the greater portion of his working career, he was an entrepreneur at heart. I believe, had circumstances been different, he would have started his own business. He used to repair motor cars on weekends to generate extra income to help support and educate our family.
Two of my brothers initially followed suit into large companies but Later on in life, started their own businesses.”

Int: Do you have any role models in your life?
“My role model is the Lord. He is the basis of everything. I’ve tried to put His character and principles into the business, my family life and my personal life. I’ve seen and worked with several people along my business journey and liked the way some of them worked. I’ve taken a bit of something from each one – following the good examples and leaving the not so good!”

Int: What was your education and training, and did you possess any special skills to start your business?
“I never applied myself very well at school and so never achieved great results. I don’t have a South African Matric but finished school with the British GCE ‘O’ Level grade. After school, I didn’t have a desire to further my education but really wanted to earn money.
I would say that I like being with people and learning about them, which automatically led me into work where I was meeting new people. Through that I went into the Sales field.”

Int: Did you have a job before, and what was the nature of the job?
“After school I spent a few years trying to complete a Radio Technician apprenticeship but really couldn’t settle and so my business journey started as the Team Leader of a group of ladies who went door to door in office blocks selling jewellery. I moved from there to a company that sold Plastic Piping and Valves where I worked in the Stores department doing stock control. I was promoted from there to Counter Sales and then given a brand-new company car (which I crashed on the first day!) I was told to go and find new customers, which I did and really enjoyed that.”

Int: Did your previous job experience help you in your venture?
“Yes, it definitely did. Over the years I learned a tremendous amount. I gained product knowledge, customer and supplier contacts as well as general administration and distribution experience. I learned that communication between people is of utmost importance.”

Int: How did you come about the business opportunity?
The company I was working for was beginning to lose market share and eventually their cash flow was at critical levels. They had a Cash Sales outlet in Johannesburg, which I was instrumental in starting up some years before. I asked if I could buy this branch from them and my offer was accepted.

Int: Did you have to change your goals and lifestyle to start the business?
Not really. In my life everything revolves around my relationship with the Lord, so whether I was working for a boss or managing my own business, I was focussed on Him and His principles. So, in essence, I did things the same way, it was just the job that was different.

Int: How did you evaluate the opportunity?
There wasn’t too much time for me to properly evaluate this opportunity because a decision needed to be made quickly. The evaluation I made came from my experience in the market up to that point. I did sales forecasts and estimated costings, so there was a bit of evaluation but nothing in depth.

Int: How did you evaluate the level of competition in the market?
“There were really only about four other companies doing the same type of business that we were doing. They were situated geographically quite far away from us. We didn’t interfere with them or their customers and they didn’t bother us. We had heard in the market place that they were not supplying their customers a satisfactory service, so I knew if we provided good service with quality products at the right price, we would grow the business.”

Int: Did you start on your own, or do you have partners?
I started on my own with my wife who I consider to be my partner. As the business grew, we gave shares to two of Entreprenuer 4 jpg.jpgour sons who work in the business. A third son of ours has recently joined the business so it is a real family business!

Int: Did you compile a business plan to start up?
I didn’t do a business plan in the beginning. As mentioned, I did a basic sales forecast with costs projected for three years to see if it was a viable venture. By God’s grace I didn’t have to apply for a loan to start the business, so a full business plan wasn’t necessary.

Int: How long did it take to compile the forecasts?
“It took me about a week to do the forecast with costs. I still do the forecast and budget every year so that we have a set plan to follow. I have a system of monitoring the sales and expenses daily and this helps to keep one step ahead of whatever situations arise. I spend about 30-60mins a night updating the figures.”

“…time with the Master…’

Part Two will follow next week.

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Our daily Garden


As we travel along our daily road of life, we can find ourselves, broadly speaking, in one of two states of mind – filled with fear and anxiety or abiding in the peace of the Lord.

Let us imagine walking into a neatly laid out vegetable garden. The rows of plants are straight, and access between them and down the rows, is very easy. As we walk between the beds, we see lovely tomato bushes on either side of our path. Looking further ahead, we notice that all the vegetable gardens contain the same vegetables on the left and on the right – all perfect and looking delicious.

Temptation is too great and eventually we decide to pick a lovely bright red tomato from the bed to the left of us. Imagining the taste, we are about to experience, we take a large bite and begin to swallow. Our system is suddenly shocked!! The taste is anything but what we imagined! A bitterness like we have never experienced before. Trying to spit the contents out of our mouths does not really help as the bitter acid settles down into our stomachs – wow! The taste lingers and in fact, everything we think of at that point is affected by the sourness of the flavour in our mouths and stomachs.Vegetable Garden 2.png

A short time passes, and we recover. Looking at the tomato plants in the opposite bed, we are tempted to try again, because they look so beautiful. From the opposite bed, we gently break off another tomato. Cautiously, we venture another taster. What an amazing difference! So juicy and pleasant. We hurry for the next few bites until the tomato is finished! It settles in our stomachs beautifully… and so satisfying!

Why are the two plants so different? Surely it must be to do with the type of food the roots are drawing from the soil.

Our path in life is very similar. Either we will feed from fearful situations or we will feed from peaceful situations. The ‘veggie garden’ of life, from which we will select, has been planted either by God or by the Evil One. The Vegetable Garden 3.pngsituations of life that the evil one would distract us with, are sown in fear (the sour tomato). He offers opportunities based in fear (like the acid soil), which, on the outside appear normal, but finding ourselves in those given situations, we start to feel fear of failure, fear of non-conformance and fear of physical things (phobias). It is whilst we are in fear that we are weak and vulnerable.

Weakness brought on by fear is not a sin but could certainly lead us into sin if not dealt with in the early stages. Anger is a fruit of fear. We become angry as a reaction to something which brings fear to us. Then we may well act differently to our norm, as a result of that fear.

Situations that God would bless us with are grounded in grace and peace. Jesus came to this earth to restore the things that were lost to mankind in the garden of Eden. Our old sinful nature was one of those things. He not only came to take our sins away, but to give us a new heart with rightful desires.

The old sinful nature is a magnet for the evil one’s distractions. He simply sows a fearful thought into our minds and as we accept it, the sourness invades our inner man and then everything we see, every action we perform, becomes tainted with bitterness. Fear requires more fear to feed itself, otherwise it will fade.

As our lifestyle transforms to be more like Jesus, we live more ‘in Christ’. The more we live ‘in Christ’, the more we will eat from the ‘veggies’ of Grace and Peace.

We need to make a conscious decision to daily walk out of our new nature – the ‘Christ’ nature. Why should we remain in our old nature, which is so attracted to fear, when we can daily walk in HIS grace, forgiveness and peace?

Remember, the veggies all look the same. If we choose from the wrong bed, we will very quickly know. Instantly spit out the sourness and replace it with a vegetable of grace and peace. Feed off HIS vegetables and we will experience peace and forgiveness.

From: “…time with the Master…”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter Eighteen.


30.11.95
Our little grocer business is growing well. How I marvel at the Lords hand. We started off eight months or so ago, with three crates of cold drinks to sell which would give us about K160.00 turn over. Today, by Gods grace we will turn over about K1000.00 per day!

Why not start at the beginning of the series?

As our needs have increased God has blessed the business accordingly, it has just been a case of us watching carefully for the doors HE has opened and obeying HIS word as we go through. Hopefully I will be able to share on a daily basis, the miracles God performs in connection with this business. Up to now there have been so many other things to write.

Malawi RestaurantIn regard to the shop at the market we felt that perhaps a small restaurant would be a good idea. Memories of the last one come flooding back, but this time I believe we have the right ingredients (not just for the food!), and this seems to be in the Lords will and not our strength. We needed a place for people to sit and eat so Titus went to investigate at the site. Almost opposite, there is an open structure which the owner has not been able to use for four months. The only site available in the centre of the market!! What a blessing. Titus will go and negotiate with the owner and we will continue to leave it in the Lords hands.

On the domestic front the Lord has opened the door for much sharing in the area of marriage and past hurts. Sometimes we lose sight of the work which is going on in our own hearts. We become so engrossed in ‘outreach’ we forget that God is trying to work in our own hearts through these external circumstances.

Of course, the ‘Team’ is not exempt and require much pastoring and shepherding. “Christmas” time brings back memories of ‘back home’ – family gatherings and large christmas dinners. How easy it is for us to dwell on those things. It’s in those times of depression that the Lord reveals our hearts once again. He is a jealous God and wants all of our attention.

He does not demand that we don’t love our families, but that the love we have for Him must come first – above all else. As we dwell on the things of family, friends and the world, we are able to see just how much we are still tied to those things in our hearts. God allows this circumstance not that He would gain some malicious joy from seeing us in pain, but that we would be aware of just what percentage of our hearts love him and where the balance is. We must pray to receive this teaching and not become downcast and miss what God is showing us.

We are hoping to go up to the Lake next weekend and see if the Lord will open up some land for us. It seems that all land sale has been suspended along the lakeshore until government surveying is complete.

05.12.95
Today we placed a larger than normal bread order due to an increase in our sales. The bread delivery was due as usual around 7:30 in the evening. The day’s sales in the shop weren’t good and by 3:30pm we hadn’t had enough money to pay for the bread.

As we sat in our lounge area wondering what to do, we noticed an unfamiliar white car rolling backwards passed our drive entrance. It was being closely followed by a rather large lady trying to chase it!Christian synchronicity

We rushed out to see that the car had stopped just short of a deep drainage ditch outside our pavement. The driver got out the car and started shouting at the lady for allowing the car to go backwards. Once the situation calmed, we discovered they they had run out of petrol and the wife was trying to push the car uphill past our house. When she could no longer manage she simply stepped aside and the car rolled backwards!

We were led to invite them in and I asked Arthur if he would mind taking the husband into town in the Combi to buy some fuel.

This was not something I would normally do because I was aware that the Combi was our only form of transport. We relied on it 100% and I didn’t want it exposed to any danger unless we really needed to use it.

On his return, the husband was clearly shaken. He said that he had never experienced such kindness –especially from white people!

He asked me if he could contribute to the petrol we had used taking him into town and proceeded to stuff some notes into my pocket. I didn’t take much notice of what he had put in my pocket and we enjoyed the rest of their visit. They duly left – very grateful for what had happened.

By 7:00pm the bread delivery hadn’t arrived and we had mixed feelings of relief – having not enough money to pay and anxiety because our order hadn’t arrived.

We counted the day’s takings from the shop and we were K135.00 short for the bread payment. Kathy reminded me of the money in my pocket. I pulled it out and counted – K135.00 exactly!!

08.12.95
Theresa-Anne has been asked to help teach English at the local Baptist Church School. Even though she is still busy with her ‘O’ Level qualification and is so young, the need for English teaching is so great. She has agreed to help them every day for no pay so that the arrangement will not break the law in any way.

Arthur takes her to the school each day on the bike.

10.12.95
Arthur has requested to go back to South Africa for a break over the Christmas holidays. He is such a blessing to us and we will miss him, even for this short time.

“…time withe Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter Nine


 

Field Trip

14th – 21st November 1994

The following is a report of a field trip completed by two disciples of the Lord. The purpose of the trip was mostly a teaching experience to see how the Lord can bless those who are willing to give of themselves completely to His will.

It should be carefully noted here that we would be foolish to try and test God.

A trip of this nature should never be undertaken without careful and prayerful consideration. Everything which we do must be born out of the seed of prayer. God will speak to those who are willing to listen and will teach those who are willing to be manageable in His hands. Often, our hearts desires and strong wills, prevent us from hearing the gentle voice of the Spirit.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Nine”