I was recently able to spend 3 days in Guadalajara, Mexico with Bernardo and Noelle (husband and wife) and their three small children. This was my first official business consulting job. My goal was to assist in making their bakery more profitable and to help them create time to raise their children. Noelle has taken the lead on sales through networking and connecting with the customers. Whereas, Bernardo has taken the lead on bread production. The products they make are consistent with their personal commitment to eat very healthy. Their bakery also produces gluten free breads and they make specialty breads, like rye and oat bread. Care is also taken to support the local economy and to give to God’s work.
My approach in consulting was pretty simple because I mostly shared from my personal experiences. Some of you may not know, but in 1982 my wife and I moved to the Tulsa Metro and I was expecting a good paying job because I was a graduate engineer with 10 years experience. That plan did not work and I started a moving and storage company using a horse trailer pulled by our family car. This business gave me 17 years of pretty good experience. The trip to Mexico to mentor brought back many things from my past, and at one point I even shed a couple tears as I remembered an especially difficult time in which I could not see how I could make it.
The instructor always learns more than the student. These are the three “A’s” of coaching that made me want to go:
1. “A” – Authentic – Bernardo and Noelle needed me to be authentic with them, which meant sharing stories about my life. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
2. “A” – Accessible – I became accessible because Bernardo and Noelle had been our interpreters on previous trips to Mexico. They started their business two years ago after applying several of the lessons I taught, including “How to start a business with no money”. This made it easy for me to purchase my tickets and set aside these days to help them.
3. “A” – Accountable – All of us are responsible to find someone to be a means for accountability. Bernardo, Noelle and I are developing a follow-up plan so we can be accountable to each other.
For those that might be in a position to travel abroad to a developing nation, join us on a trip through www.BusinessMissionTrips.org. In the meantime, let’s encourage each other to reach and help those around us.