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Adversity Builds Character - Facing Difficult Times

By Kent Humphreys - Most businesses that lose thirty percent or more of their sales volume at one time never recover. They cannot cut their overhead fast enough to survive. Several years ago our distribution firm lost thirty-four percent of our business in one afternoon. A national retailer decided to eliminate the “middleman”. They dealt with integrity but gave us a thirty day notice. My vice president of sales and I walked slowly to the car. We asked ourselves the questions: How could we make up the sales? How many of our good employees would lose their jobs? Why did God allow this to happen to us after we had done such an excellent service job?

Once we reached the car, I told him that we needed to thank God for allowing us to lose the business. My friend was in shock. I explained that if we believe that God is sovereign, all powerful, knows everything, loves us, and has our best interest at heart, then we must trust Him. If we had thanked God when we got the account seven years before, then we needed to thank Him now. So we bowed in prayer. With the help of an acquisition we replaced all of the lost business within eighteen months, and we no longer had more than eighteen percent of our sales with one customer. God did know what was best for us, but it took us some time to see His plan.

Two of my friends have had to liquidate their businesses during difficult times. They each chose not to take the easier route of bankruptcy, but to openly and honestly deal with their creditors. They choose integrity over the hiding or protecting of personal assets. A couple of others friends over expanded a few years ago and as their sales dropped to years ago their losses exceeded one million dollars in their small family business. Through the counsel of several of us and because of weekly accountability, they turned it around the next year to show a profit. They also dealt openly with creditors and presented a workable plan rather than choosing an easier way out. Because a struggling economy their industry had been hit with a severe downturn but through hard choices they survived and returned to profitability. They wished that they had gotten this help several years before. Sometimes difficult times force us to seek help from God and from our peers.

I am a business owner and also led the ministry of FCCI / Christ@Work for many years.. As a family of CEO’s, business owners, and marketplace leaders, we understand the issues that you as a business leader face every day. We know that God has chosen to model Jesus Christ in our relationships in the marketplace in both the good times and the bad. Through our weekly groups, our conferences and materials, we provide encouragement, accountability, and training to thousands of CEO’s across the world. There are a number of good marketplace organizations that can help you as a business leader. Give one of them a call, and let them walk with you through the tough times.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

Kent is the longtime leader of Fellowship of Companies for Christ International, a great group that is looking to connect business and ministry together. I encourage you to check out their website by clicking here.

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posted by Justin Forman | 7.13.2009 - 7:19 AM

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