You’ve moving into God’s assignment – the Promised Land.  You’ve dreamed of transforming a community and running your own business. You’ve read the books, studied the case studies, listened to the cautionary tales, and worked through the checklists. You’ve even done Patrick Lai’s B4T training course! You’ve done your homework.  You feel sure that B4T, owning your own business, is right for you.

Not so fast.

If any of the following applies to you, think twice before jumping into the B4T pool:

You’re not willing to get your hands dirty.  

“Someone takes care of the janitorial work”, you say? Someone changes the lights, and solves your network problems? Your job is to focus on more important tasks?

Maybe so…but not anymore. Entrepreneurs, especially early on, don’t wear several hats—they wear every hat. In a start-up, efficiency is everything: No movement should be wasted, no time saving is too small, and no expense is too minor to eliminate. If doing whatever needs to be done—no matter how menial or relatively unskilled—isn’t something that comes naturally to you, don’t start a B4T business.

You’re not an “all in” type of guy.

Unless your rich uncle funds your new venture, you won’t really have a “budget.” The money you spend won’t come from someone or somewhere else, it will come from your own pockets.
Bootstrap is a verb. So if you hate struggling with limited resources, you’ll also hate running your own business.

You think “balance” is an important word.

The concept of work-life balance is an artificial construct—there is no line between work and life.  The first 2-3 years the business is all consuming.  Quiet times are done over lunch breaks and long chats with your spouse often are done via texting.  If you think a lot about the conflict between work and life, and struggle to make business a priority, owning your own B4T business is not for you.

You need personal down time or “me” time.

Once you open your business, the last thing you’ll have time for is relaxing with a novel or watching movies with your spouse, especially when revenues and profits are a distant dream. The same is true for seeing what’s up with your Facebook friends, or following your favorite sports team. Two hour quiet times are not going to happen. You can forget “me” time in the startup phase, because otherwise you’ll never have enough time to do the critical business stuff.  If that’s too big of a sacrifice, you want to work for somebody else.

You spend time personalizing your office.

In the beginning a “penny saved is a penny earned.”  You need to count every penny.  Start-up funds should never be spent on anything that will not touch the customer.  You cannot afford frills for yourself, not to mention your employees. With many businesses your customers will never see your office, so the only thing it should reflect is “cheap.” Your focus needs to be on finding and developing your customer base so there’s no need to worry about whether your office reflects your personal preferences.

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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