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Entries for the ‘Marketplace Christianity’ Category

Best Success Advice I Can Think Of

Are you interested in Success in Life?

You can choose to have success.

At the risk of every other post on this blog being completely downhill, here is the BEST tidbit of advice I can think of. This is not some feel good psycho blabber, but rather good old meat and potatoes practical advice you can implement immediately!

Where there is UNITY God commands a blessing!

That’s it?

Yep!

First of all it sounds simplistic. That is because it is! If it were too complicated we’d never get it:-) It is a core principle stated in many ways throughout the whole bible. Unity is the basis of God himself as the Trinity. He says others will know Jesus is truly sent by God by our unity. He calls the church to oneness and unity. Families to unity. Men to unity with one another. So it is simple because it is a foundational principle.

And it works in business, family, friendships, church and on and on.

Plus, it is something we can choose. We choose how to take comments and discussions and what motives we ascribe to others.

This week at work I saw several instances of conflict between co- workers. Usually caused by poor communication and the poor communications were cause by people not trusting each other’s motives so taking offense when none was intended. Then conflict occurred that involved more people picking up offense for the original parties, and on and on.

But when all parties are pulling in unity – amazing things start to happen and the fruit is BLESSINGS.

So today- try this little test. Choose to ascribe good motives to everyone you come into contact with and see the results.


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Turnaround Secrets – Cash In

72450__280x280_072450-lime-green-white-pearl-icon-alphanumeric-dollar-signIs your company in trouble?

Join the crowd. The economic recession has put many well run and successful companies on the verge of closing their doors. Layoffs are the norm. Summer jobs for young people are almost non existent. Slashing payrolls have left many homeowners trying to figure out how to keep their homes. Consumer confidence continues to slide and the cycle continues to worsen.

There is hope! There are proven principles to follow in order to stop the slide and in fact be an early turn around success.

I have been involved in several successful turnarounds and will begin a series about these principles and share specific things you can do to survive through hard times.

The first principle is “Cash In“.

Cash In means that every person in the organization must focus on bringing cash into the company. SHOW ME THE MONEY! This must become a primary focus. It starts at the top and must permeate through to the lowest levels of the company. I can not repeat this mantra enough!!!! CASH IN- SHOW ME THE MONEY.

Everything the company does must be rebuilt to make this CASH IN a key metric for survival and turnaround success.

Here are some specific steps and tactics:

1. Build a business model that shows the cash generated or used each month. A business model is NOT a business plan and it is NOT a budget and it is NOT a simple spreadsheet of income and expenses. Without a true business model, you will likely fail!

So what do I mean by a business model? I mean a model you build that recognizes the key Metrics (success factors) of your business and their interrelatedness. If you sell more of X what else changes? When does the cash come in and when does it go out? Are you selling more and enjoying it less because your accounts receivables are growing? The business model should have a page of assumptions that are all in one place so it is easy to do “What If Analysis”. If you change any assumption how does my cash change? The model needs to be built at the detail level so that it provides each month a projected amount for each item on your general ledger. The model needs to be built at a foundational level that shows your UNIT ECONOMICS. Businesses are built on units. A unit may be a location for a franchise; or a publication for a publisher; or a crew for a remodeler; or a product for a manufacturer. Determine how to make each unit function better, faster, cheaper and then replicate the units. But you can not use up cash on a unit and make it up on the volume!

You will want to compare your actual results with the model each month and take the time for a continuous improvement process on the model. How did the model compare to actual results and how does it need to change to do a better job of projecting results? This is a never ending process.

But it yields some amazing results- You sleep better at night; you will understand your business better every month; you will find yourself creating new strategies that improve your Cash In; your outside parties of interest (BOD, investors, banks) will have more confidence in the business; you will deserve the confidence.

What are the benefits of a true business model? A business model lets you brainstorm creative strategies to improve your business. The end point of the new strategy run through the business model is simply, “did I get more Cash IN”? The model lets you target a unit and figure how to make the unit run more efficiently, and bring more CASH IN; then you can develop strategies to expand into more units.

Unless you are running a very simple one product, one person home business, no one can keep all the interrelationships in mind without a business model. I have seen many times where a trusted professional advisor gives reasonable advice, except it is WRONG!

Rather than go into more steps and tactic to bring more Cash In, let me share to an important Turnaround Secret:

You can not survive by cutting costs alone! Cost cutting always lags the economic realities your company faces. The slide and slope is always faster than you can react to… and if you try to react too fast without a business model, you will makes killer mistakes. Negativity is like a shot in the head to a company.

The ultimate Cash IN machine is knowing your business model and interactions between key metrics; understanding your unit economics and fine tuning them; and then…

Developing creative strategies to do more business. The survival and success answer is always about how to do more business that brings Cash IN.

Don’t get me wrong, cutting fat and renegotiating lower costs is very important. I look at every line item and religiously hack away at the cost of our business- but not at the expense of the business model and our unit economics. We have renegotiated and bid out every cost from our phone and internet and other connectivity costs all the way down to the cost of our landscape service. You can get some great deals by companies hungry to generate Cash IN. But cutting 10 or 20 or even 30 or more percent of these costs can not make up for a significant slide in sales.

But here is the good news. All this work to reduce the monthly overhead and improve the unit economics and gain better control and understanding of the business creates a CASH IN MACHINEthat will become very profitable when the consumer confidence does come back!!! Your business can be one of the remaining survivors that will increase market share and prosper in the days ahead.

Check back for more principles and specific strategies and ideas that are proven winners in the CASH IN sweepstakes…..


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Change a Child, Change the World

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 *****

 Are you looking for a worthy Cause to support with your finances and or time?

I have found one for you!

 My friend Howard Unger is president of Operation Smile and just invited me to have a tour of its headquarters in Norfolk, VA.

I told Howard he must be a good fisherman, because he set the hook then reeled me in.

Operation Smile is a cause based organization and what a cause- changing the lives of little children. OS operates worldwide from modest facilities in Norfolk to provide facial plastic surgery on children scarred from birth. The before and after pictures and videos are compelling.

You can see others on their web site, http://http://www.operationsmile.org/about-us/videos/. WARNING, don’t look at these unless you are willing to have your heart stirred!

As a Christian, I feel this is the kind of mission where the rubber meets the road and men and women and children of many faiths can work together in unity.


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OMPL Vol 1: 1 – God’s Opens Up His Message For Today

God spoke to me like a streaming video download and said, “Occupy My Promised Land.” (OMPL)

I was getting ready to teach an equipping hour class on a new book I had just finished, Marketplace Christianity (see review in this blog). The Holy Spirit sped me through a revelation of what God’s plan for the earth in the coming days looks like and how I am to be involved.

The short and sweet version is – God plans for each of us to be marketplace ministers listening to the Holy Spirit every place our foot steps to occupy our personal part of the Promised Land by bringing His Kingdom into every circumstance.

This video is a good start to understanding the Gospel of the Kingdom.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells us how to pray, “Our Father who are in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

God gives us a divine human cooperative to fulfill. He has prepared works for us to do. These He prepared even before the creation of the universe and then He made each of us speficically with the gifts, talents, and even flaws to do these works.

All this is so amazing to consider… Let meditate on this revelation for a little while!


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Loser – The New Winner

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I hate to Lose! 

No, I really HATE to lose!

In sports its been my hardest task to lose gracefully. In close contests I wanted to be the one to take the last shot or be up to bat with the game on the line because I knew how much coming through meant to me, and wasn’t always sure of others.

Am I connecting to some of you?

In business situations this can be a help in not giving up in hard times. It can also lead to conflict when someone on the other side of a negotiation gets into a win/lose attitude rather than a win/ win attitude.

And in my marriage, my avoiding conflict until backed into a corner then coming out with guns blazing to WIN was a dysfunctional pairing of attributes. Rather than building up my wife I was tearing her down. I was supposed to love her like Christ loved the church, who gave Himself up for her that He might present her spotless and blameless before God. I used that with my daughters dates, but didn’t always live it out in day to day life. Probably still don’ do this as good as I should.

So I do hate to Lose.

Unfortunately for me, that’s not how God feels.

 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

The Kingdom principle is that its the losers who are the winners!

 So much of what I read in the Bible could be changed out with Loser. God loves a cheerful giver (loser); The poor in spirit (losers) will inherit the Kingdom of God; Love your wife like Jesus loved the church who gave His life (loser); ……You can probably give a bigger list.

But this LOSER is someone who is willing to Lose his own rights to benefit others, to exhibit sacrificial love for others, to build others up, to bring glory to God.

So I’m trying to learn the Kingdom principle that Loser is the new Winner because in God’s Kingdom is the ultimate fulfillment of the old saying. “He who laughs last laughs best!”

 

 

 


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Servant Leadership

I was reading the first Chapter of “David”  by Charles Swindoll and he raises an interesting point about our teaching regarding servant leadership in evangelical circles.

How often do we hear Servant leadership but in our heads it looks like servant Leadership? We take Cap S and small l and turn it into small s and Cap L, when in fact Jesus doesn’t really use leadership in His teaching, just the SERVANT part.

“I came not to be served but to serve and to give my life a ransom for many.”

“He who would be first must be last and vice versa.”

In God’s Kingdom it seems leadership isn’t a place to strive for but rather is earned based on service and love and granted by God through Jesus.

And Jesus, what an example. He came to serve and when he is leaving earth for a season He is able to say, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”

There is a lesson here that i need to learn and take to heart! (small i on purpose:-)


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Marketplace Christianity by Robert Fraser

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*****

This book was a catalyst that helped change the direction of our entire church.

We are now directing our energy 24/7 into the marketplace seeing our job as equipping ordinary people to change the world. That started a little over a year ago.

After reading MC I taught an equipping hour class and was led by the Holy Spirit to an incredable revelation about what God is doing around the world to prepare it for Jesus return.

More on that later- now for the book itself.

Robert Fraser tells about his crisis of confusion. Led to be a minister for Jesus but he found the only open doors to be in business. His journey ultimately leads to the realization that he could do more for building God’s Kingdom as a marketplace minister in his business than as a pastor in a church.

Bob combines his encouraging journey and stories with practical applications to help us take our faith into the marketplace.

But be forewarned- you will want to respond after you read this book. I used it to teach a 12 week equipping hour class and have given it to a number of my business friends.


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Sync Stinks

I taught our youth group a new word this week – syncretism.

Wikipedia definition- The attempt to reconcile disparate or contrary beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought…

Its a fancy word for the “Frog in a Kettle” concept. Many of us have heard this before. How do you boil a live frog? Put him in a kettle of cold water and slowly raise the temp. He just sits there as the temp goes up and boils to death.

This is how the evangelical Christian church has slowly lost its savor in this country. Research by Barna and Gallup suggests that the statistics of “bad behavior” doesn’t differ much between the general public and the evangelical church. Divorce rates, infidelity, pornography etc……

What’s up?

The Bible tells us to not be conformed to the world. So I guess Sync has been happening a long time!

In the world of technology sync is used to mean when 2 databases are conformed into identical copies of each other. What is good for databases stinks for Committed Christians. When business people are Synced we call this operating like Babylon, where money is the only “good” and integrity, loyalty, and service take a back seat.

So if Sync Stinks, what is the answer?

Well, we may not like the answer- The Bible says to let our minds dwell on what is good, to protect our eyes and ears, to not love the World but instead set our eyes on Jesus, and set our minds on the things above.

The bottom line is the fire is getting turned up. Movies and TV are no longer safe for adults to watch much less children. Political correctness is seeping in to our churches. people don’t confront bad behavior. We were hooked on new technologies only to find they are portals to pornography and other temptations. We are too busy to read our Bibles and soak in meditating on what we read. Memorize scripture and study theology so we know principles and can use them in specific circumstances – no way, too time consuming and difficult. I am too busy.

Its not easy to get off the stove, but:

Lets read our Bibles, ask the Holy Spirit to open the meaning up like a beautiful flower after a spring rain, memorize passages so we have them at our finger tips, constantly ask the Holy Spirit to talk to us about every situation we are in and ever person we talk to, praise our heavenly Father for our blessings and hard times, hold each other accountable for bad behavior, and ask to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit:

Love; Joy; Peace; Patience; Kindness: goodness; Gentleness; Faithfulness; and Self Control.

Ouch – I just put myself under conviction:-)

Sync Stinks!


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A Life God Rewards by Bruce Wilkinson

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*****

This little devotional offers a surprising conclusion to many sitting in our pews today.

Heaven will not be the same for all who accept Jesus gift of eternal life. Nor will Hell be the same for all who do not.

This little mentoring piece packs a powerful wallop to help us achieve the lasting life- change many of us long for. Bruce carefully backs up his premis with sound theology from God’s word.

The bottom line is the quality of our life for all eternity is directly related to the stuff we do during our stay on the earth. Not our place of eternal residence, but the quality of the life we live in that residence.

This book is well worth the few minutes daily it will take you to read over the next month.


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Holy Spirit Power- Charles Spurgeon

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***½

Spurgeon is one of the great reformed preachers of all time. The book is updated for today’s language.

Over 200 years ago, this preacher tells us about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in a manner as contemporary and useful as tomorrow’s headlines.

I found Spurgeon’s use of the English language to be refreshingly powerful in explaining the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

The Holy Spirit is my comforter, teacher, advocate, gives me power to live a life pleasing to God and to attest to God’s glorious gospel, will transform me into future glory, will show me truth, will flood me with grace, transforms me into new life, and helps me transform every place I go into God’s Kingdom.

As i read this book, I could see that this is not a list to Spurgeon but rather an expose of the experience he was having with his friend the Holy Spirit.


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