“If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:25
At this Christmastide, I am experiencing a feeling which may well be exemplified by a quotation from Norman Vincent Peale: “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
This feeling has been inspired partly by a response to my recent column “Barbados Ahoy!” by Major General Joseph Singh of Guyana. The column concluded: “Let us focus on the ‘Now’ as we celebrate our 50th anniversary of Independence, and encourage our innovative entrepreneurs as they develop an entrepreneurial culture and lay the foundation for a sustainable future.”
After extending best wishes for the Christmas Season and for 2017, Joe made some very kind remarks but also a very profound observation where he contrasted “the difference between what offshore-based, short term consultants regurgitate and insights which are grounded in hands-on, shepherding experiences that derive from or are influenced by the political, socio-economic and cultural diversity of the Caribbean”. This sort of inspiration is like a Christmas magic wand that Caribbean business consultants have been longing to have articulated by someone other than themselves for a long time. He then concluded, perhaps prophetically, “Caricom Ahoy!”.
Perhaps more importantly, my Christmas feeling was inspired by another recent experience involving a potential shepherding client and a prospective financier for the client’s business. This financier is a successful business person who has been following the fluctuating fortunes of getting the client’s business into expansion mode. This experience was like music to my ears.
May I interject here to say that I believe the real source of investment funds for emerging businesses is successful business persons. They have travelled the road leading to business success, they have access to financial resources and they are best able to empathize with the challenges of the emerging business.
Normally, an offer from a traditional financial institution would be a formal loan and the requirements would include: a detailed business plan stating how the loan would be used to generate profits; a list of hard collateral items to secure the loan in the event of business failure; and cash flow projections to indicate the ability to repay the loan. This approach has led to a global statistic of 90 percent of new businesses failing in the first five years.
In contrast, this prospective financier cut straight to the chase and articulated to the client the following which could become the new norm to determine how to finance positive thinking entrepreneurs whose businesses have potential for expansion.
“(1) I have been following your progress and sense that we share the same spiritual beliefs; (2) We are both positive thinkers; (3) You have exhibited ethical management in your fledgling business history and preparation for expansion; (4) Your stewardship in the community has been exemplary in inspiring integrity leadership; (5) You have partnered with a Shepherd who believes in your business success; (6) I want to partner with you to our mutual benefit and to help you make a name for yourself; and (7) Let us start ordering the equipment for the expansion of your business!”
Quite a contrast!
My view is that harmony in this spiritual belief space is an opening that needs to be explored if we want to see improvement in developing entrepreneurship opportunities.
As we continue to enjoy the Christmas season, let us harmoniously ride on the magic wand and seamlessly extend that softer and more beautiful experience into the New Year. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.