Steve Forbes is known for saying, “In all your getting – get wisdom.”

Often, you will need to do something you’re not knowledgeable about or skilled at yourself. You can spend many hours learning the skill, but at what cost? There’s a time trade-off. You can give the job to a volunteer from your church, but often you do get what you pay for.  You can also hire someone who is conveniently available and at a cheap price; but at what cost? Having to micro-manage an untrustworthy consultant or oversee getting something attempted three times before it’s done right has a time cost and, if your time is precious this is a false bargain. Or you can seek out the best available expert, pay his fee, and get the best advice or service, getting the task done right the first time, so you can concentrate on higher priorities.

Proverbs teaches, Whoever walks with the wise will become wise.[1]In seeking mentors and coaches I have learned the value of pursuing the best. To get the best, be prepared to “overpay” in order to be their client. I began this practice when it was a financial hardship, and I know it was more difficult than now, when money is less an issue. Good, experienced coaches are available for all areas of life and work, but they don’t come free. You do get what you pay for.

It’s common for B4Ters to have a coach who acts as sounding board, confidante, advisor, creative muse, and accountability partner. The money you spend for a coach can be a bargain. The small amount of time given to focused discussion with an exceptionally knowledgeable coach can sharply raise the value of all your other time.
When you’re are considering hiring a consultant or a coach, here are three things to consider.

  1. Has the coach actually done what he is advising you about? Or is he an academic theorist who is a speaker or writer, but not a doer? Generally speaking, I want my financial advisor to be a successful investor. I don’t want a fat doctor who smokes. In missions, especially in B4T, there’s a lot of people talking about it, but they’ve never succeeded at it. Be wise. You can waste a lot of time on self-appointed experts eager to spend somebody else’s money.
  2. Is the coach current? There are a lot of “former” and “ex” folks who hang out the expert advisor shingle after exiting the field, and are soon advising from waning memory rather than practical experience.
  3. Does the coach have satisfied clients? Avoid experts without satisfied clients. Ask for references and then check the references. A good, general, time-saving, disaster-preventing litmus test that entrepreneurs should apply to anybody they’re considering relying on for advice is:
    1. Are there at least three other successful B4Ters who have been helped by them?
    2. Are there at least three other successful B4Ters who have utilized them over a period of time or repeatedly?

    How much better to get wisdom than gold, and understanding than silver! – King Solomon

    [1] Proverbs 13:20

  4. 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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