Catching Everyone Up

ShottonGaryMongolia20102  ShottonGaryChina2014

We have been going but we have not been telling you about it.  So, we have launched our new website that is more user friendly and compatible with access on smart phones and smaller handheld devices.   If you have any questions about being a part of a Business Mission Trip contact us at “I have a question”.   We will be posting regular updates on trips and marketplace talks.

ShottonGaryEcuador2014  TurnerJackTurkey2010

We have been going but we have not been telling you about it.  So, we are also starting a weekly e-newsletter to keep you informed.  “Add me to the newsletter

ManskeThomasMexico2014  ShottonGaryMongolia2010

Get excited and join us!  If you find that you need a new boost of encouragement, then reach out and help someone else that needs encouraged. If you think God does not want to use you, “think again”.    Most of the rest of the world looks at the  USA with amazement, wandering how we and why we are so blessed.  You need to tell them how God has blessed you personally and financially. We have trips waiting to be formed in these countries and we need a 10 week lead-time to get things rolling.   If you are ready to go on a trip then hit “sign me up” and pay a small deposit, & we will get you out telling your story THIS YEAR!!

Countries that are asking you to come:

— Ethiopia, Uganda —

— Mongolia, Turkey, Mexico —

Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala —

Other countries being formed but we cannot publish at this time.

Marketplace Talk: “Pressure”

ShottonGaryChina2014

Having been in business for over 25 years, I want to address an issue that is probably more common than we’d like to admit, but it’s also a very sensitive issue: Pressure. I owned a moving and storage company for 17 years, and I’d like to be able to tell you that in that time I was the perfect boss and never let anything get to me. But I’d be lying. I think we probably tried to grow the company a little too big too quick, and that might have added to the pressures. But the big issue for me was payroll. We had 50 or 60 employees, including 6 or 7 contract drivers who were paid about $3,000 to $5,000 per paycheck. In all, our payroll was about $50,000 every two weeks. That’s a lot of pressure.

On the off weeks, I would make the mortgage payment or pay the utilities. But those payroll weeks were a lot of pressure. You had employees who expected to get paid on time – which they were – but you had customers who didn’t necessarily pay me on time. That created unruly, unfair, unimaginable pressure on me. I’d like to share with you one of the dirty sides to owning a business, and that’s how we handle pressure sometimes.

I found that the way I would handle pressure was to take it out on other people who were totally innocent. At first, I would take it out on my wife. But she would kick back and I found out real quick that wasn’t very productive. But then I would take it out on some of my employees. Maybe I’d see someone use an extra coffee cup and think, “Hey, they’re wasting money!” I would randomly lash out at those employees, and this was unintentional and really a product of me not handling the pressure well. I finally came to the point of repentance where I would have to call up employees and apologize for how I was lashing out.

Finally, I found something that really helped me deal with pressure. Now, I’m not saying this is the only way or the best way to deal with pressure, but I found it worked for me. I was studying scripture and found that one translation for the word “praise” is “to shout.” That means that I could shout to the Lord and in an almost miraculous way feel relief of pressure. I would go into the warehouse when no one was around – I liked the warehouse because there were some good echoes in there – and just shout at the top of my lungs. A big, loud, full breath of air, bellowing shout to God. And here’s what I would say: “Thank you, Lord for taking care of me! Thank you, God because I know you’ve got an answer for me!” I knew that God would provide, but I would still have to work for it. Money didn’t rain down from heaven literally. I’d still have to go and chase after customers to get paid on time. But just like James 1:4 tells us, we are not to rejoice because of our tests and trials, we are to rejoice in the midst of our tests and trials. I would rejoice and be glad knowing that God would take care of me. And I would shout it!

I hope this helps you and I hope you find a way to deal with your pressure. Pressure is common for any of us who work in the real world, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But we do need to find the proper way to deal with our pressure. Thank you.

To hear the full 7 Minute Lesson, click here.

To read a transcript of the full 7 Minute Lesson, click here.

Marketplace Talk: “Start Small”

 

ShottonGaryEcuador2014

In my 25 years of being a business owner, 17 of those years were with a moving and storage company. I wish I could tell you it was a breeze and everything went perfectly. But the reality is, that moving and storage company was my school of hard knocks. It was there that I learned how to deal with customers and vendors, how to make systems for paying bills and dealing with collections, and how to negotiate for the best prices. It was practically like a college education for me, but I dreaded a lot of it to be honest because it was so difficult.

They say it’s lonely at the top. Well, that’s how I felt. I didn’t have a lot of people I could talk to at that time. I made a practice of not dumping a lot of my problems on my wife, even though she was active in the business. But I did spend a lot of time praying and talking to God and he was the source of a lot of my wisdom. I heard about a group of people called SCORE. They’re counselors for small business owners. One of the men from their group, Richard, came to my office and we chatted for a bit. Afterwards, I felt such a relief.

One of the things I realized while talking with him was that I was always trying to get bigger. My idea was that if I could just get big enough, my problems would go away. But then I found that starting small was actually very good for me. I was always pushing for more and more growth, but I was pushing outside of my normal growth pattern. I needed to learn to maintain what I had.

There’s a normal growth pattern to life. You wouldn’t take a third grader and try to put them directly into high school would you? Of course not. And I’ve been trying to help others see this same idea of a normal growth pattern ever since. After selling my moving and storage company, I was working in real estate and had enough spare time to volunteer at SCORE myself. I got to counsel other small business owners just like Richard did for me. During one counseling session, a young woman came to me with a business idea. She wanted to purchase a large, two-thousand square foot mall that had recently gone bankrupt and turn it into a Christian rec center. Now, the price was a real steal for the property. And I didn’t want to throw cold water on her idea. But this woman was a clerk at Wal-Mart. With her very limited business acumen and skills, there’s no way she would be successful. In other words, her skill set was nowhere near her desires.

Starting small is a crucial function in my approach. When you start small, you learn how to take care of what you have and maintain it. When I speak to my sales staff, I reinforce the idea that my main goal is not to increase sales as much as it is to do a perfect job for the customers we currently have. Like in golf, my job is to keep my eye on the ball of making our company better. If you focus on doing the best you can right where you are, you’ll find that over time you’ll grow at that natural and normal growth pattern. But starting small is the key.

To hear the full 7 Minute Lesson, click here.

To read a transcript of the full 7 Minute Lesson, click here.

Marketplace Talk: “Buck Stops Here”

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My life has been delightful thanks in no small part to the various business endeavors I’ve been a part of. In the two businesses that I’ve owned where I’ve had employees, one crucial lesson I learned early and learned often was this: “The buck stops with me.” When a situation arises and a customer is not served the right way or on time, the buck stops with me.

I can tell you from experience that your customers and clients don’t want to hear excuses. They don’t want to hear you blame anyone else. They don’t want a long winded explanation about why you didn’t fulfill your commitment. They want to hear how you’re going to fix the problem and how you intend on making sure it doesn’t happen in the future. “The buck stops with me.”

Sometimes it may feel like you’re lying when you say that to a customer or client. You know that you didn’t personally cause the delay or make the error that led to the issue. You know exactly who is to blame. But you should never throw your employees under the bus. As the business owner, it’s ultimately your responsibility.

I remember an incident with our biggest customer, Halliburton, where we did not deliver on time. They decided to send their representative to our plant to try to fix the recurring problems. After that meeting, I sat down with those responsible and came up with a plan to fix the issue. Then we typed it up and we all put our signature on it. I emailed that to the Halliburton representative, not to show them who was to blame, but to show them that the buck stops with me and we’re taking steps to fix the issues.

Whether it’s an issue with quality assurance, delivering on promises, or paying your bills, if you’re the owner get used to this phrase: “The buck stops with me.” There will likely come a time when you have bills due and you’ve got more money going out than coming in. In those situations, the buck stops with you and you’ll have to step up to the plate, take the phone calls, and make arrangements about extending the due date or writing out the check. However you cut it, if you are the owner the buck stops with you.

To hear the full 7 Minute Lesson, click <here>.

To read a transcript of the full 7 Minute Lesson, click <here>.