Will your business help you make an impact?
My dad always told me, “Terri, you can do anything you want in life. But just remember this… whatever you do, do your best, be yourself, and make an impact on the people around you.”
Good advice, right? Sound. Reasonable. Motivational.
I have taken this advice to heart no matter what I pursue, whether a job, my marriage, parenting, my business, writing, speaking, whatever. Not that I embody this advice perfectly. So far from that, but like my father hoped, the idea always resides in the back of my mind no matter what I pursue.
A Mantra Impacts Reality
In 2001, my husband and I started a business. Our goals were two-fold… 1. To bring in additional income for our family; and 2. To make a bigger impact in our community and in the world. Both of these goals fit the mission my father entrusted to me – do my best, be myself, make an impact.
Over the past 16 years, we have been blessed to create a business that has become our family’s sole income, give away larger amounts of money to the organizations and charities we love, and even go to the mission fields we financially support.
This past week, I was told that building a business distracts from our families, our mission, and the gospel of Christ. I disagree. While this is not a defense in the pure sense of the word, it is a response, an observation, if you will, to the contrary.
Your Business Can Make an Impact
Here are some ways that our business has made an impact on ourselves, our family, our customers, our community, our favorite charities, and even the world (and how your business can too!):
1. As a business owner, you will likely (likely, not certainly) take more risks, meet more people, try many new things, learn new skills, and experience more exhilaration in your work life than you would as an employee of a company (NOT that one is better than the other, just different!). In these circumstances, we learn a great deal about ourselves. As the face of my company, I have learned to put forth my best self, which has often meant learning more about who I am, what I have to offer, how I can serve, and make a difference in the lives of others. This has made an IMPACT on me.
2. As the result of owning a business, our children have learned the meaning of hard work, serving others, cooperation, delayed gratification, and the stigma of being the “boss’s kids.” This role, not of their choosing, has made an IMPACT on them. A good one.
3. While it may appear that we provide products and services for our customers, in reality, we are in the business of providing “peace of mind.” In our publishing business, we provide peace of mind to our customers so they can rest easy knowing that the subject matter they want their kids to learn will be taught in a memorable and enjoyable way. At our pet facility, we provide peace of mind to our customers that their furry friends will be well cared for. They have nothing to worry about as they go to work or away on vacation. Our business is making an IMPACT on our customers. They can breathe a sigh of relief as they experience peace of mind.
How else can a business make a difference?
4. As local business owners, we can share our knowledge, our experience, and our facility with groups and individuals in our community. As we have been blessed, we are able to share and bless those around us, particularly in the form of employment. We provide part-time income for a dozen high school and college team members as well as full-time careers for a few others. We are blessing our community and making an IMPACT right where we live.
5. Our business allows us to give more. To serve more. Not only do we have more funds to give, both individually and corporately, but we also have more flexibility with our time. We have had the absolute privilege to sponsor children in other countries. We’ve been able to give generously to the charities we love, mainly in India and Mexico. And we’ve been able to give of our time and actually go and meet the people we support. Without the flexibility of our small business, we wouldn’t have had this IMPACT on the organizations that we love.
6. We have customers all around the world. We have served, given, and traveled to parts of the world we would never have seen if we didn’t own our own business. As small business owners, we are making an IMPACT on our world. Humbling. Exhilarating. Speechless. There are no words to describe how awe-inspiring this feels. We have been blessed. IMPACT.
I will admit… there have been times that my business has distracted me from my family, my friends, my downtime, and even my Lord. But then again, so has TV, a good book, or projects around the house. Distractions are a part of life that need to be controlled. But let’s not say that business is bad because it can be a distraction. Let’s instead focus on the potential for positive impact on ourselves and the people around us.
How will your business impact your family, your community, your world?
Post your thoughts and comments on this controversial topic below. Does small business distract from families, from ministry, from the gospel of Christ? Sure, it can. But so can employment. One is not better than the other, is it? What do you think?