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A Business Owner's Fervent Prayer

A Business Owner's Fervent Prayer

Hello and good day!

At some point in our business journey, the desire to become wealthy completely disappeared.

Like most new businesses, our initial goal was to launch a fast-growing enterprise and scale it to the moon.

Many years ago, I even went so far as to ask a venture capital firm what kind of revenue numbers we would need to sell the business, and what kind of valuation we'd get, and I walked around with that revenue number as my goal for a while.

Only problem was that it took us forever to get to that number and by the time we got there, our original goal had faded away.

Somewhere along the line, the business stopped being a vehicle for financial gain and morphed into our life's work.

Of course, a life's work must be funded, and a lot of people depend on us.

We have a responsibility to make money and operate profitably. The question is what to do with the profits once you've earned them.

We've never taken on outside capital from investors.

We're a 100% family-owned business.

My dad has the largest ownership stake.

My brother has the second largest stake.

And I am in third place, which is appropriate, because I joined the business last of the three.

My dad funded the business with his life savings at age 69 and my brother lived and worked in the jungle full time for 10 years.

When you don't take on outside capital, and you are a manufacturing business, you can't grow very fast.

The only money available to fund growth, which means producing more inventory, is your prior year's profits.

If your initial capital base is small, which ours was, then the profits you can earn will also be relatively small.

Growth becomes a slow burn, and you find yourself having to reinvest most of your profits rather than drawing out cash to have fun with.

This can either be very frustrating and annoying, or it can be the healthiest thing in the world, depending on how you look at it.

The route we've chosen is more like raising a child.

A baby is so small and delicate in the beginning. As time goes on, your child becomes more hardy, capable, competent, and independent.

They start to surprise you with their knowledge and ability.

You can try to rush your child's development, but by doing so you risk causing neurosis.

If you let nature run its course and don't try to push your child into predetermined channels, you can spot your child's unique capabilities and nurture them. By nurturing what is naturally there, you harness the preconditions for a lifetime pursuit.

Skill development over the course of an entire life sets you up to be the best in your field someday, and maybe even one of the best to ever do what you do.

That is the path we find ourselves on. We weren't able to rush.

Capital constraints kept us reeled in.

As a result, we discovered the natural strengths of our business and have built a foundation for long term striving.

That is why I say our path turned out to be very healthy rather than irritating.

After almost 16 years in business, I can absolutely see that we are just getting started, and that is a great feeling.

We can now hone in on what we know we do well and keep getting better and better for the rest of our lives.

Before I run out of space, I'd like to transition to a different line of thought.

I know you're not supposed to talk about God and religion in polite conversation, but I feel a strong desire to do so. Hopefully you won't be offended if you don't agree with me, and we can keep being friends afterwards.

I'm a praying man.

I believe in God.

But I don't practice any particular religion.

If I were to practice a religion, I'd probably take the sermon on the mount as my behavioral guide. I'm ethnically Jewish and I like the book of Ecclesiastes quite a bit. I very much like the book of Proverbs as well.

I also like the Tao Te Ching as a spiritual text.

I have a hard time getting my head around prophecy, resurrection, angels and demons, and the afterlife, so those are stumbling blocks.

But that is just me.

I have several good friends who are atheists, and my wife is a devout Christian.

Most of the people working for our company are Christians as well.

To each their own.

Here is why I bring this up.

I find prayer to be one of the most soothing activities in the world.

It really is a balm for my heart.

I pray for the wellbeing of my family.

I pray for good health.

I express gratitude for everything good in my life.

I pray for those who are suffering, that they will have the strength to endure and find peace within their hardship.

I pray about business too.

My prayers have changed over the years.

In the beginning, I prayed for business success.

By success, I meant the trappings of success, namely cash in the bank and ownership of increasing quantities of material possessions.

Now I pray that our business will take care of the people who depend on it, our 500 cacao farm family partners in Peru, the several dozen employees who work in our processing facility during the cacao harvest, and our 15 employees here in the United States.

I pray that we won't let our customers down, that we'll have the discipline, and put forth the necessary effort, to produce products that our customers will love.

I pray that our team will keep our shops clean and pleasant and that we'll provide extraordinary customer service to the folks who visit us in person.

I pray that we'll be allowed to continue with our work.

I pray that me, my dad, and my brother will be the type of people we need to be to pull off what we're trying to pull off.

That last one is the most important to me because it sets the table for everything else. It is my most fervent prayer as a business owner.

Oh Lord, please help me to be the man I need to be to take care of all these people and make our customers happy, every day for the rest of my life.

Just help me to be that man Lord, the man I need to be, and I won't ask for anything else.

Thank you so much for time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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