J. Robert King

God’s Advice for Business Success

Why do 90 percent of new businesses fail?

A news business is a new creation, and according to two of the world’s oldest religions, a new creation requires not one god but three.

Christianity speaks of God the Creator, Jesus the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, the Sustainer. Hinduism speaks of Brahma the Creator, Shiva the Destroyer and Bringer of New Life, and Vishnu the Preserver.

Both religions subscribe to the same model for creating something new that endures: three distinct personalities. These ancient religions give us the precepts of business success.

To succeed, a business needs a creator–an out-0f-the-box thinker who imagines a whole new reality and brings it, by force of will and personality, into existence.

Hello, Carnegie and Ford and Gates and Winfrey.

But all such creators are captive to their own brilliance, and brilliance casts shadows. Someone must clean up the shadows– a redeemer–someone who can overcome the shortfalls of the creator’s vision. This person always is utterly devoted to the creator, but also sacrifices him- or herself to save the creation.

When the original creation is redeemed, someone must come forward to keep it going–to sustain it. These are the investors, who emerge once a business show that its original genius was not a fluke (thanks to the action of the savior), and who now invest to keep a good thing going.

If it takes three gods to create, redeem, and sustain a world, it should be no surprise that it takes three such people to make a successful business.

I think of the wonderful youth theatre in our town. My three sons have starred in many of its productions. Who would have conceived of such a thing except a local orthopedic surgeon who had a vision for what could be done with an abandoned Methodist Church? He said it should become a community center–doing much of what the church did but without the dogmatic ties. He created the CATHE center–magnificent idea–and he invited many other right-brained people to squat there and create their own paradises.

And what wonderful things the CATHE center has done for our city! My children, my wife, and I have been direct recipients of the benefits of this magnificent institution.

But something happened. All that wonderful good will ran aground on a number of harsh realities–taxes and zoning laws and bookkeeping issues and other challenges that right-brained people don’t want to think about.

Enter the redeemer. She did not ask to be the redeemer, is not even being paid to be the redeemer. But she loves the creator, and she believes in the creation, and she will sacrifice herself to make sure that this magnificent idea does not get destroyed. And all of us who watch what she is doing think, My God, I would never have the guts to do what she is doing, but I’m glad she is doing it.

So, now, the CATHE  Center needs only its sustainer. It needs someone who sees the magnificent idea of the creator and the self-sacrificing work of the redeemer to say, “I will support this. I will fund this. I will make sure there is a budget to keep this going.”

We are moments away from finding our sustainer. I pray to all persons of the trinity that we do so.

In case you think  this model is limited to the Bible and Burlington, Wisconsin, think about the United States. Who is our creator? Quite clearly, Washington, father of our country and general of the army that defeated the British.

Who is our redeemer? Quite clearly Lincoln, who addressed the issue that the founding fathers forgot–slavery. He fought a war and paid with his own life to amend the Constititution of the United States to eliminate slavery from this country.

Who is our sustainer? Think about the first fireside chats. Think about the president who spoke to all of us in the Great Depression and throughout World War II. Think about the creator of Social Security, speaking to all of us in our living rooms about the greatness of this experiment begun by Washington and redeemed by Lincoln.

People think the U.S. is one of the youngest nations on the planet because it seems so new. But our country has a system of government that spans more than two hundred years. The governments of most other nations do not last half as long.

What’s the secret to our longevity?

Simple. We have a creator, redeemer, and sustainer.

If you have a struggling business, it’s probably because you are a brilliant creator. Look for another person who loves you and your idea and can help you save it from yourself. And then, find someone who will invest for the the long term in what you love and believe in. That’s the difference between the 90 percent who fail and the 10 percent who take over the world.

November 21st, 2009
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