I was sitting in a board meeting last week, and one of my colleagues made the most interesting statement. Larry is one of those guys who knows a lot. About many things. He’s a very successful entrepreneur. More importantly, he has a philanthropic spirit. He helps a great many people do amazing things.
Larry also has a heart for people with great ideas who want to start a business. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. I suspect that even Larry has had his share of peaks and valleys, so when he speaks, I listen.
One of the objectives of our board is to offer a leg up to people who have an entrepreneurial-type ministry. When the board first landed on this as one of our three objectives, Larry clearly indicated that we needed to be careful about how we supported such endeavors. He wanted to make sure that any funding opportunity we considered had a clear vision and a viable business plan.
In other words, Larry stressed the importance of knowing where you’re going as a business owner and how you will get there. Something I talk about a lot. Failure to have such specific criteria in place might cause us to inadvertently do more harm than good, Larry warned. It’s the old “teach them to fish” model.
As we were having a similar discussion this past week, Larry made an important statement that I believe is relevant to each of us as business owners.
You don’t want money to be an obstacle, nor should it be an objective. No good idea ever goes without funding.
If you’re in business for yourself, I want to encourage you to think about Larry’s remark. Here’s a few quick questions you might ask to determine if you’re on the right track:
- Is your fear of not having enough money keeping you from making good business decisions or from moving the business forward?
- If money is an obstacle for you in your business right now, are there things you need to change or do in order to rectify the situation?
- Is your idea for the business clearly linked to a good vision for the company with a solid business plan to back it up? If so, are there funding resources that you should explore to help you take the business to the next level?
- How can you focus on the bottom-line for your company and yet avoid the tendency to make money the main objective?
I think this last question is the most challenging. Larry’s remark means that, of course, your business needs to be profitable. Otherwise, you won’t be in business very long. However, if money is your sole objective, it’s going to be a long and lonely road.
Perhaps the next question might then be: Is there a greater purpose for what I earn?
I’ve talked a lot about generosity and giving back over the past few weeks and months. It’s not easy to do if you're in business and just trying to make ends meet.
However, I challenge you to remember that a mindset of scarcity or abundance has nothing to do with how much money you actually earn or have. People who earn a lot of money can still live in fear of not having enough.
Larry’s offering a different perspective. One that says our business has to be about the work itself. The money flows from there. And, when we decide to intentionally share our resources for the good of others, wealth springs eternal.
Dream big. Plan specific. Implement with wisdom. I suspect this is what Larry has done throughout the years and this is precisely why he has been so successful in business and why he has been able to help so many.
Do the work for the sake of the work. Guys like Larry are few and far between. Seek wise counsel. Listen and learn. Watch your business grow. Help others along the way.
It’s a pretty simple formula for a meaningful experience of business and life.