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There is a saying that all ships rise with a rising tide. In your company that tide is culture. Your culture will either work for you raising everyone’s work, attitude, and enjoyment or bring you down. Company culture exists if you are a solopreneur or if you have thousands of employees. A business with distinctive culture will begin to self-audit weeding out those that don’t fit and attracting those that do. Making everything easier a healthy company culture will prosper your business.

culture

Photo by KCNewman Photography

Be Clear. You must know what you are shooting at to make culture excellent. Skills and work ethic that you are born with and have had nurtured and ingrained into you are easy to take for granted. A lot of areas in my life I assumed were common sense. When you make assumptions of common sense, we get vaguer, and your culture becomes confusing rising and falling on emotion. Be precise about terms like “hard work.” What does that mean exactly? Only with a proper map are you going to be able to get the best culture possible.

Hire Wisely. Getting the right people on the bus as Jim Collins says in his excellent book, Good to Great is the only way you are going to have high culture. Some skills you can teach and some skills need to be natural. It is a necessity to figure out the difference and hire for the skills that must be natural. In my food service business, we are looking for naturally smiling people, who get along well with others, care about other people, and go crazy standing around. I have tried to train all of these things and I can’t, but other skills like upselling, cleaning, making pizzas, excellent customer service, and great communication is trainable when team members have the right intangibles. Hiring the right people for the right jobs is necessary for awesome culture.

Upline Manage. Employees must feel and have the ability to upline manage. Establishing a business that empowers all who are part of the organization to watch each other and hold all accountable ensures a united front on culture. You do not want to establish a, “do as I say not as I do” atmosphere. When building an organization making sure that no people are above the company helps the company to operate as a living organism. No one is above the organization, and this needs to be well-known and reinforced to have unrivaled culture.

Data/I Statements. Nothing destroys a culture faster than drama and hurt feelings. We are all human and we will always wound each other’s feelings and have drama, but we must be relentless in trying to destroy these. Speaking of data instead of the meaning we make out of the data keeps conversations on facts and ensures the clearest and most accurate communication. Data keeps the conversation on solutions and keeps confrontations from spiraling out of control. I statements when you are speaking for yourself and we statements when you are speaking for the group is indispensable. Speaking of data and using accurate I statements ensures the stability of your culture.

Recognize. Recognition of accomplishments and milestones bolster and encourages the culture to thrive. It is an opportunity to honor employees’ commitment and to encourage growth in areas of culture that you want to reinforce. Recognition will go a long way in growing a culture around achieving and getting things done. Focus and intentionality on recognition will make your team feel like a team instead of an employee. It will establish that you care for them on an individual level and appreciate what they have done for you and your family. Recognize and encourage your team to prosper your culture.

Have fun. Business should be fun for the most part and this is especially true for culture. Develop a workplace that people want to go to by making your focus on fun while maintaining productivity. Play and work can and should go together. We as entrepreneurs spend most of a waking time working on and thinking about our companies. Why wouldn’t we have a fun thriving culture? I believe a place that people want to be at increases productivity and engagement. Have a good time to increase the power of healthy culture.

Culture is like soil. Healthy grounds will lead to healthy plants. The land requires you to pull weeds to allow the right plants to grow. It requires the right amount of water. Too much or too little and the plants die. Healthy fertile soil creates the right conditions to get the best of the plants in the garden. Make sure that your company has healthy productive soil for your people to prosper in and your business will go places you never imagine. Be blessed on your journey.

Is your company culture thriving?
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This is a guest post by Ralph Mayhew he blogs at www.ralphmayhew.com, to help leaders become better at their craft. He has just written a book called The Anonymous Leader: An unambitious pursuit of influence, which offers a fresh understanding of leadership and calls the reader to greater influence by aligning theirs to God’s –www.theanonymousleader.com. You can also hang out with him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ralph.mayhew.

If leadership is healthy, the tasks leaders apply themselves to will result in growth. Growth however is difficult. My favorite local cafe just expanded to two shops and in the space of a month the coffee was poor, food expensive, staff despondent and care to detail gone. It’s no longer my favorite cafe.  There is a maze that awaits every successful leader. It’s a maze that grows as an organisation, church, business or ministry grows. Below is a map to navigate the maze with, as we explore the 8 dangers associated with growth and how to navigate them for the sake of your people.

The unknown

photo by: KCNewman phototgraphy

1. Irregularity – people come less often as they feel their presence isn’t essential.

When people first buy into something they buy into what they see, not what it will feel like once it’s grown. Growth can affect people into coming less regularly because they are subconsciously convinced they won’t be missed.

Navigation: Ensure each person knows they are important to you.

2. Disconnection – people feel disconnected from each other.

Growth results in more people showing up and for many people, the increase in more people dislodges the community they once experienced. This causes them to feel disconnected.

Navigation: Create opportunities for people to connect and coach them into it.

3. Uncommitted – people think everyone else will do it.

As more people arrive and buy in the vision more people share the workload. The downside of this is that those who were previously involved feel as though their contribution is no longer as important, leading them to lapse in commitment.

Navigation: Develop valuable roles for everyone and communicate the value of each role to the people doing them.

4. Financial Increase – people are charged more money to sustain the growth.

In growth there is always a lag between finance to accommodate the growth and the growth being seen. This dynamic, frequently results in people being charged more or pressured to give more in order to sustain the in-between season. People don’t like this as unfortunately the new cost of things is most often not temporary.

Navigation: Monitor how much you ask from people and ensure you deliver more than that in your serving of them.

5. Anonymity – people feel like they won’t be missed, so they disengage.

Growth means it’s easier to go unnoticed. Some people love this, while others really struggle feeling like they are now ignored or taken for granted.

Navigation: Get to know people’s names and stories as you grow and use that knowledge to value people.

6. Dilution (of product) – People receive a deteriorating quality of product as demand increases.

As growth occurs the product, which appropriately served the previous number of customers, can become unsatisfactory, due to the increase in volume. This in turn renders a previously excellent product inefficient.

Navigation: Everything you need to do needs to be scalable, if it isn’t develop it into something that is.

7. Culture Fades – people will naturally drift from the original culture as more people come along.

As new people enter into a culture the culture bends and adapts in order to embrace those new to it. This can result in the previous appreciated culture changing and slipping from a culture previously enjoyed and attractive to people.

Navigation: Be clear, concise and strong on the culture you want, constantly demand if from people.

8. Loss – people grieve for how it used to be as things change.

As growth takes place people will grieve the loss of what they once had. They will miss how things used to be and the changes that have needed to take place.

Navigation: Care for people with patience and compassion as they adapt to the change they are experiencing.

9. Broken Trust – People struggle to trust in something when it changes rapidly.

People buy into an idea, organisation, church or group of people because they were able to develop trust. When growth takes place, trust can be shaken for people, becoming a barrier to people’s engagement in the new.

Navigation: Help people realize what they have trusted in and what has not changed: your leadership.

 

Growth is healthy, but people’s response to growth may not be. You need to guard against this by helping them adapt and enjoy the benefits of healthy growth.

What other dangers do you see concerning the growth of something?

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I have struggled off and on with faith and how that works with my analytical thinking. I don’t struggle with all faith, but mostly “balancing” my   t-chart personality with God’s plan. Somehow charting my course and weighing out the pros and cons can feel like a lack of faith. Struggling in my own mind can take precedence over weighing the calling of my heart.

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photo by: KCNewman Phototgraphy

It can be hard to figure out what God wants and it can leave many people including me zigzagging through life. When things go well and smooth God must be in it and when things are tough perhaps I picked the wrong path. I know I’m not alone with this thinking and unfortunately it sidelines many people at times.

Our life’s journey is like sailing.

Chart the course. No journey is taken without a direction. It is not a lack of faith to plan, weigh, and proceed in a direction. In fact, this can be a step of great faith to plan out and set goals. Often I have associated God’s movement in only sudden things or surprises, however, He is in the planning with the right heart and mind. I, just like you, am created in the image of God and my t-chart mind was created by Him and for Him. Chart your course and plan your steps.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9

Raise the sails. Faith comes into our lives as raising the sails. Charting the course is needed. Until you exercise the faith of raising the sails you will remain in the harbor. You will be safe and sound existing in the harbor, but the open sea journey is where living happens. Faith in action. Raising the sails is our main part of the journey. God always has His part and He always wants us to do our part. Partnering with Him is one of the greatest blessings of this life. Raise your sails to prepare for the wind.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. – John A. Shedd

Use the rudder. With the ocean pushing on us from side to side, slowly and sometimes quickly it can yank us off track. A constant readjusting is necessary to stay on the narrow path. We will fail, we will get distracted, and life will always demand us to steer back in line. The rudder for me is the Word of God. This puts my life back on center. The Word fills, sustains, and helps me to remain. The Bible has every answer. Sometimes indirectly, but it’s there if we are willing to look. Alive and powerful the Word of God examines us. Allow the Bible to be your rudder on your great journey.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12

THE WIND. God’s will and plan is the wind. It doesn’t mean that it will be smooth and easy sailing because sometimes you maneuver into the wind winding back and forth. This is called tacking. Too often we think of ease as being God’s will when many times in the Bible it points to the opposite. We may go with or against the wind in sailing, however, some sort of wind is needed to move the boat. Without wind sailboats sit idle rolling with the waves being cast about. We are powerless on our own and in this recognition of powerlessness is might and strength because we turn towards the One with all power.

We take the course we think God is leading to the best of our abilities. We do what we think God is leading and if we are wrong we must trust that He will gently redirect us. No matter what God’s promises are true for your life; both consequences and blessings. It does not say IF you pick the right path God will be with you, but that He will be with you. Do your part of charting the course, raising your sails, set the rotor, and trust the wind to guide you. Without the wind we are nothing and that is where trusting God is so important. Trusting that He is gentle and good and has a plan to prosper and not to harm you as long as you go with the wind instead of fighting against it. You are called according to His purpose. Now be blessed on your journey.

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The main point of business for every Christian should be to take something that is temporal and use it to point to the eternal. Your business operating with a Kingdom mindset changes decisions you make and how you view everything. Not only is it a better perspective as far as fulfilling the commandments that God gave us, but it leads to better business practices.

shore

photo by: KCNewman Photography

Often we can put God into a box for church and other activities, sectioning Him into certain areas and out of other areas. Giving God our business should be the top priority. If I’m honest though, many times in my life God is the last option or who I turn to when I get a bad profit and loss statement. To lead in the business world while living for Christ, follow these 4 principles.  

Long-term perspective. In order to live out our faith in the workplace we must have a long-term perspective of eternity. Not just five-year goals, but down through future generations and beyond. Decisions through the lens of eternity change what may be a right or wrong move. It increases our patience and gets our focus off of just dollars and cents. We make choices beyond ourselves when we keep focus on eternity. It becomes less about us and more about saving people for the Kingdom. Reframing our business in the scope of eternity must take place to live out our faith within our business.

Matthew 6:19  Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.

Stewardship. Stewardship means the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something. Stewards care for other people’s things as if they are their own even though they don’t own it. To properly run your business as a Christian man or woman you must remember that God owns everything. You merely manage it for Him. I tend to drift toward selfishness and self-centeredness, but when I am living my faith out I am laying myself down because it’s not about me. It’s about taking care of what God has entrusted me with. To live out your faith in business you must remember that it’s not yours, but God’s.

Colossians 3:23-24  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Excellence. We are called to do everything as if we are doing it unto the Lord. That means that we are doing everything with intention and excellence. We are being the best business owners we are capable of being. If you want to make impact you must live with excellence. You represent the King of the universe. If you want to influence people for God, you must show yourself excellent in your field. It is easy to wait for perfection, but perfection is a myth. Excellence is not perfection; it is continual improvement. We must run the race to win even though we will never “win.” Honor God in business by rising above mediocrity.

Priorities. Maintaining biblical priorities while running your business is a necessity to showing Christ in your business and having a healthy life. Biblical priorities are there like everything else in the Bible. They are there for us to have healthy lives. Biblical priorities start with your relationship with God, then spouse, children, church body, and lastly your business. There are two things to keep in mind. Your time spent is not always the same as priority. Also, it is not a balance. Trying to balance is a good way to fail. It is a heart position that is easily seen and felt. Priorities in your business show Kingdom level behavior.

God desires your whole life. Allowing Him in all areas of your life will bring all the fruits of the Spirit with it. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, thankfulness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Now that is a business I would be proud to own and that is a business that honors God. You spend too much time working in and on your business to not have God at the center of it. In the long-run doing things God’s way will always yield the proper harvest in the right time. You will fail like I do, but get back up and try again. When the fruits of the Spirit are missing that is a good sign that you are operating outside of God. Stop, back up, reevaluate and lean into God. Pray for God to strengthen you and ask for His vision for your company. He will take you places you would never expect. Be blessed on your journey.

What are other tips to living out your faith in your business?

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With the fast approaching of New Year’s, it is a time when I and many others look back at the year and plan for 2016. This year I have had so many good things happen, however, it has also been a year where I have lacked focus and intentionality. I was moved too often by emotion and ran from exciting thing to exciting thing. With my family, health, spiritual life, and personal finances I would draw this year up as a success, but with my business both online and offline I lacked more focus as I would have liked. That’s a nice way of saying I adopted a shiny thing syndrome this year. “Oh look at that! That looks cool, I’ll try that. Oh wait, look at that!” This would sum up my year in business. It has not been a year of failure, although I need to come up.

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“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” – Douglas Adams

I am dedicated to getting more out of 2016. Here are 5 things I am using to set and keep my goals.

Make Plans. Where do you want to be in 12 months? Year goal setting is really as simple as asking that question and writing down what you want. As a Christian I get caught up in thinking, Is this what God wants? Though that should happen it shouldn’t be an excuse to not move. If you are frozen in fear, stutter stepping with every goal and plan, stop it! What I have begun doing now is praying and then moving in where I think I should go. If you don’t have a point of reference in where you are going you will not get there. Make a plan for 2016 to get more out of it.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established.

Submit Plans. Just like submitting our architecture plans to the building department, you and I need to submit our plans to God. We do not want to get frozen in fear, however, we do need to remember that without God we are a shell of what He intended. It is all about Jesus and sometimes I can get caught up in my goal that I forget this foundational thing. If we submit our plans to God, we need to trust that if we our outside of that plan He will guide us and put our feet back on our path. Submitting your plans to the Lord is necessary to get the most out of 2016.

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

Shut up? There is a great Ted talk by Derek Sivers and a great post by Matt McWilliams on shutting up about your goals. The long and short of it is that your goals are less likely to happen if you are sharing them. The reason is that sharing your goals give you psychological satisfaction like you have reached your goals. So this year my inner circle that will hold me accountable will know my goals. Other than that I am keeping my goals to myself. Zip your lip to reach your goals.

Make a commitment to yourself today. Vow to yourself today! That you will make whatever sacrifice! That you will pay whatever it takes! That you will do whatever you have to do! To be amazing.
– Eric Thomas

Decide. There comes a point in every journey that we need to decide. Setting principles to live by and making a commitment to the process is key to hitting any goal or vision for our lives. If we don’t make a decision to the process we will be moved and swayed by emotion. Though emotion can be great for starting, it is horrible for keeping you going. Emotions are fickle and no matter how awesome and cool your goal is your emotions will eventually turn on the goal. Decide and commit to the goals that God has placed in your heart to reach higher in 2016.

Move. Don’t sit any longer analyzing once you have prayed, submitted your plans, and decided. Run! Focus on one thing that will move the needle the most in your life out of the goals you have written down and move. Dave Ramsey calls this gazelle intense. You have to move like you are a gazelle being chased for dinner. This does not mean that you don’t rest or that you can’t enjoy life, but each and every day first thing in the morning you must move toward your main goal. If you don’t take actions goals are worthless. Run toward your goals to make 2016 the best year yet.

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ― C.G. Jung

Focus in on what you want out of life. Submit your plans to the Lord and He will bless them. If you didn’t get as much out of 2015 as you would have liked, it is okay. Neither did I. It does not mean that the year was a waste or that you failed. Let’s learn and grow together making this next year a prosperous and significant year. Be blessed on your journey.

What helps you reach your goals?

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This week has been a whirlwind. There are so many things that have just happened and I am stunned with the speed of breakthrough. I will be launching a new podcast with a good friend. We sold our home in less than 24 hours and found a home that is a house I use to only dream about being able to afford. I landed two huge writing opportunities and have watched all the timing work out perfectly. Finances, favor, and timing have been seamless.

breakthrough

If you looked at this week you would think that everything is just happening. You may wonder how all of this happened overnight? You may want to know what the secret is to having any of these opportunities. Isn’t that how we operate? We want to know what the secret is and how can we get there quickly. I have done this as I fought and still fight jealousy. I have focused on the wrong things and as a result instead of blessings I got frustration and burnout. These 4 things will lead to sudden breakthrough.

Run your race. It takes discipline to focus on what only what you are doing instead of what other people are doing. You easily can lose yourself in the shuffle. I struggle with seeing a shiny new object and getting distracted from my goals and what I sense God is calling me to. You have been entrusted with certain things that only YOU can do. Stay in your lane and do your thing. Be faithful and you will see breakthrough.

Pain. To accomplish breakthrough you will go through a lot of pain. The fact is no matter what, we will experience pain and discomfort. We will either have pain then a harvest or have a false harvest and then pain. Pain is inevitable so you might as well get a reward from it. Falling for the instant gratification of debt will only prolong and put off your breakthrough. By trying to avoid the pain of cutting expenses you will cause yourself a greater pain. Embrace pain and you will leap forward.

Focus. In a culture that can’t focus on anything for five seconds you will need to buck this trend. When aiming at a goal or vision you will need to work at it a long time without seeing any results. We have been paying extra on our mortgage since we moved into our house nine years ago. Nine years has not been a piece of cake. We have had lean months and months of abundance, but we kept hammering at the mortgage. We haven’t done everything perfect, however, we have stayed focused. Focus over time will carve out your own personal breakthrough.

Abundance. One of the biggest keys to enjoying the journey on your way to breakthrough is having a world view of abundance. To be totally transparent at times, I struggle here and it leads to jealousy and covetousness (having or showing a great desire to possess something, typically something belonging to someone else). On the journey to breakthrough we must remember that God is the God of more than enough. Someone else getting what you desire does not stop you from getting it. I believe that God tests our hearts on this journey. We must be faithful with our attitude and we will see breakthrough!

I wish things just happened like it appears. I wish that there was a magic bullet, but I haven’t found one that exists. I looked for the painless and quick answer for so long that I missed the answers that I didn’t want to hear. Pain, focus, and time are not fun things to talk about, however, it is how businesses are built and dreams are fulfilled.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Keep grinding and keep trusting God. Your harvest is coming. Be blessed on your journey!

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The Correct Way to Hustle

Zechariah Newman —  September 6, 2015 — 5 Comments

It seems like everywhere you look whether it is a blog, podcast, or YouTube video they are telling you to hustle. In fact, I have even posted about this very subject. I have encouraged and exhorted you to hustle. To throw a brick through your television and get out and get things done. The problem is that some people need to get off their rear-end and get stuff done, but most entrepreneurs don’t struggle with this type of hustle. Most entrepreneurs struggle with a different hustle.

Most entrepreneurs struggle with and confuse busyness as hustling. Scurrying around doing a bunch of things is not hustle. It looks like it, however, really it is undisciplined and unfocused behavior that ends in burnout and frustration. I have been guilty of this more time than I can count. No time for faith, family or living, this “hustler” blames the dream. I have fake hustled and blamed everything except the man in the mirror.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

I have had enough! Enough blaming the dream instead of the way in which I was going after the dream. Blaming the business instead of the way I was running the business. Anytime we allow the vision and plan to rule us, there is a problem. The dream becomes the master and we slip into the role of the slave. These are 4 ways in which you should redefine and start proper hustling.

Intentional. Hustle is being intentional. It is making sure that our activity is focused on the correct things. Rather than running around like a chicken with its head cut off, it is focusing on one thing at a time until it is done. Getting maximum use of time and energy with intentionality is crucial to the hustle. Equally as important with intention is knowing what not to do. Knowing what to avoid and leave undone will catapult your life to a whole other level.

Rest. Hustle is resting. This eluded me for a long time. I would work non-stop and take twice as long to do activities because my mind was numb from overworking it. Hustle to me now is taking time off. It is resting and recouping making sure that I am sharp and ready for action. Rest is not only crucial for enjoyment, but also for productivity and efficiency. Rest is an essential part of a healthy life and a healthy hustle. Take your hustle to the next level by resting.

Grit. Grit is defined as courage and resolve; strength of character. Grit gets one dreamer and entrepreneur back up while a lack of grit moves someone else to the sideline. You must rest, but you must never quit. Get back up when you fail, have some resolve and decide that you aren’t going to stop until you cross the line. Back up, rest, reexamine and shoot again.

Enjoyment. We must build our vision in a way that causes us to enjoy the journey. Waiting to enjoy the journey until the end will make for a miserable ride. This kind of limited destination type of dreaming is short-sighted. We need to come from a place where we are living out our calling daily no matter what is going on. Your family, vocation, and rest should all be part of the journey; don’t leave any of it out. Enjoy and savor the moments because you will look back fondly on the early years.

Next time you hear the word, “hustle,” think of these 4 areas. Your hustle should not be exhausting. If it is for a long period of time you are doing one of these things wrong. Realign back to what is truly important in the hustle. Hustle with wisdom and passion and you will be blessed on your journey.

Are you hustling the right way?

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Most entrepreneurs have their hearts set on expansion. Standing still is not really an option as there is always another hill to climb. The vision is rarely a single entity but a small little empire. Our eyes are always looking for new markets and new opportunities. In business we need to be quick to act as to not miss out on an opportunity. However, if we jump to quick our business that we worked so hard to build can crumble to the ground.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

Expansion within a business is a time of vulnerability and if we don’t adjust properly we can kill what use to be successful. It is not a time to fear but it is a point that needs great clarity and forward thinking. If you are contemplating expansion make sure you can answer these 5 questions.

1. How will your role change? Different stages require a different owner. In the beginning you need to do everything. As you grow your role changes and morphs. The more you micromanage the greater lid you put on your company. You will need to change and adapt as your company matures. You need to write down how your role changes. It is important to remind yourself what you do but also what you don’t spend your time doing.

2. Have you replaced yourself? The reason you want to write out the change in role is so that you can create new job descriptions for staff members. Being able to give both tasks and key results areas is crucial so that you are able to inspect what you expect. As a business owner it is your job to replace and train yourself out of a job. Replace yourself before expansion to make the transition smoother.

3. What if you fail? Failure or at least less than desirable results may happen. You need to be prepared for an action plan of failure. Writing down both a time and willingness for loss is crucial for an entrepreneur. Often when something is failing a business hangs on too long and damage themselves to a point of no return. Writing down both a pivot and time table will help eliminate emotional decisions.

4. What if you succeed? There are two types of problems in business. Not enough business and too much business. If new business is not handled properly the customer may never try you again. If this expansion blows the roof off of your company make sure that you can handle it. If you want your company to thrive it heavily depends on your ability to take in and take care of new clients. Plan for success.

5. How is your cash flow and savings? Cash is king and often it is not treated as such. Knowing your numbers is the lifeblood of your business. With expansion you require more money to keep your doors open. You need to make sure that your emergency fund is nice and healthy. Know what parts of your company are producing profit and what parts are pulling you down. Be vigilant with your cash flow, the bigger you become the easier it is to be sloppy with your money.

Answer these five questions to avoid business failure during expansion. As the great John Wooden said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Move quickly but don’t rush the process and your expansion will be the dream you desire not a nightmare.

Are you looking at expansion?

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There is a difference between hustling really hard and getting into works of the flesh. I am sure that like me you want to not only include God in your dreams and aspirations, but you want to do what He has for your life. It is quite simple to slip into works of the flesh and try to do things on our own strength. Heck it’s not just easy, but natural to operate in the works of the flesh. What feels unnatural to us is being led by the Spirit. Although this feels unnatural it is the only way to have true peace.

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photo by: KCNewman Photography

Getting into works of the flesh is a common problem for all of us. It is not cut and dry because you can be Spirit led and work really hard and can also barely work and be into works of the flesh. To help you on your journey here are 4 signs you’re into works of the flesh.

1. Out of priority. The moment we get out of alignment is a sign that we are into the flesh. Your priorities should be God, then spouse, kids, the body, and then your career. This is a life priority, not a time allocation. When you notice that you are out of priority quickly realign your life back into “balance.”

2. Jealousy/comparing. Both of these go hand in hand with each other. We compare to show how we are better than someone else or we compare to show how we are more “spiritual” than someone else. Comparing your hustle or work to others is a sure-fire sign that you are operating in the flesh. It is hard for me to not get into comparison and jealously. I often struggle with the thought of, “What does he have that I don’t?” When I have a thought like this, I am focused on myself and not on Christ.

3. Loss of peace. One of the attributes of being plugged into Christ is peace. No matter what the storm is in your life you can have peace. It is overwhelming and passes understanding, however, it is ever-present when you are plugged into the vine. It is an impossible peace to describe until you encounter it when everything around you is falling apart.

4. Mental weariness. When you are operating in the flesh you are trying to figure things out and rationalize life. The ways of God will not always make sense. Mental weariness comes in when we try to “figure it out.” Trusting God is moving when He says move and not going around and around in your mind. Get off the mar-a-go-round in your mind and trust God!

Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[a] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[b] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

In the end, the moment we start to get frustrated is the point at which we move from working in the Spirit to working in the flesh. You can be working 100 hours in a week and be working in the Spirit or you can be working ten hours a week and be working in the flesh. Being led by God will have fruit that is of God. Not fruit of strife and confusion. If you are off the path get back on with Jesus.  Be blessed on your journey.

How do you recognize when you need to readjust? 

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Doing what is right is not always easy. In fact, doing what is right is usually a lot harder than compromise. As you build your dream you must stand on principles and truths. For me this is the word of God. Standing on this truth is not easy, but when I follow what the word says peace comes to my life even when it is hard.

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Photo by: KC Newman Photography

A few weeks ago my good friend, Jared Easley invited me to a great event called Podcast Movement this summer in Fort Worth, Texas. This event is for podcasters and by podcasters. It is a one of a kind event and many people who I have become friends with will be there. This is on my short list of events I want to attend and if you are available you should be there!

I looked at the calendar and I had committed to be somewhere else that weekend. I had committed to help my parents with their restaurants and though I knew they would let me out of my commitment I also knew that I was needed. I didn’t and still don’t want to put them in that situation.

My emotions were saying no, but my conscious was saying let your yes be yes and your no be no. In 1 John 2:5 it says, “But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him.”

Ugh! Sometimes verses suck. Sometimes doing what we know we should do isn’t easy. Sometimes adulting is hard and doing what will steal our peace is easy.

Choosing the hard right is better than choosing the easy wrong. (Andy Stanley paraphrase)

For you and your dream:

Decide. Decide up front what principles you are going to stick to. If it is the Bible, which I hope it is, let those principles guide you. Decide before temptation comes or you will be cast about like the wind. Temptations don’t become easier as you advance, rather it is actually the opposite. Decide what principles you are going to stick to no matter what.

Don’t compromise. Let your principles override your emotions. Be unmovable on your principles. Even when it looks like you will miss out on a big opportunity, be rock solid on what you stand for. You will fail in this as I do, but get back up and try again. Be a man or woman of integrity which you only become when you stick to principles.

Believe. Believe that in the end choosing the hard right will advance you more than the easy wrong. In my situation though, Jared was bummed I couldn’t make it yet I gained respect in his eyes. He knows I will keep my word. I want to be known as a man of character. As you stand for something people will be drawn to that. You have to believe that in the end the hard right is the best way.

As you build your dreams make sure you can lay your head down at night in peace. Build a dream with integrity and honesty and it will be a dream that lasts. Build a dream with deceit and compromise and it will crumble. Choose to live a life that if what is hidden comes out in the light, you will feel pride and not shame. Be blessed on your journey.

What is a time in your life where you stood for what was right when it was difficult?

 

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