The Real Bottom Line 2 – Myths about Business
Welcome! Thank you for sharing your time! We’re still talking about The Real Bottom Line: Myths about Using Business Practices in Libraries, Pat Wagner’s training seminar which spurred this discussion. Her thesis is that library professionals need to move in their thinking past simplistic categories and myths that perpetuate negative stereotypes and limit potential sources of support, partnerships, and the ability to serve and support the communities around us.
Serving and supporting the communities around us is an under-emphasized kingdom agenda, and many of the terrible times in our history can find much of their explanation in Christian acceptance of negative stereotypes. So Pat’s ideas had some serious resonance for me. Let’s get into some of the myths she has spotted.
Tim hit the first one square on the head. He said, “Ministers are not CEOs and elders are not a board of directors. Nothing good can come from them trying to imitate something they’re not.”
Myth #1: All businesses are alike.
“All businesses are large corporations with 1000s of employees and stockholders, with identical ways to create value, make $$, have fun, & serve customers.”
I admit – I shared this myth, and I felt just silly when Pat shared the truth behind it. There are many different business models, sizes, and strategies.
- Public Corporate
- Private Corporate
- Family business
- Sole Proprietorship
Sizes: 1 to 100,000s of employees
- wholesale? retail?
- catalog? online? storefront?
- personal delivery? face-to-face?
There are franchise models like Chili’s or Quizno’s, and there are entrepreneurs who will open their own little restaurant that serves home-style cooking for a decent price, with a little something special everyday (okay, now you know my dream business! don’t laugh too hard!)
There are businesses that make stuff. Businesses that deliver stuff. There are businesses that fill special niches. There are businesses that try and serve a target audience. Some businesses try and make what people love. Some work on what people ask for. Some — think Apple — guess what people want and innovate. Others create cool stuff and hope we’ll buy it!
Businesses are NOT all the same — and neither are congregations. A little storefront church in Naples, Italy has more in common with the shops and cafes near it than it does with a mega-church in Houston. A medium-sized church in Frankfort, KY might have more in common with a local non-profit organization or small business than it does with either of those congregations.
Why should each of those churches exhaust themselves trying to look alike, when their Sovereign has sent them TO THEIR UNIQUE COMMUNITIES to serve their unique needs and to be salt and light for them, not pearls that won’t feed anyone. All businesses are not alike — all churches don’t have to be alike.
Next time? What about money? What are some myths about businesses and money that need to be dispelled?