Paying Close Attention

One of the characteristics of a failing business is that the leadership doesn’t really understand their numbers. They think they do – but they really don’t.

For example, one owner whose business grosses ~ $6M/year and manages to net less than $100K/year told me that he doesn’t need an accountant, a review or an audit. Why should he be told what happened over 3 months ago? When I looked at the information he gets on a weekly basis from his bookkeeper, it’s clear why he’s essentially breaking even: he doesn’t know:

  • His cash position
  • His account profits or losses
  • His break-even point
  • His profit/loss on operations
  • And more….

Yet, he’s managed to be in business for nearly 40 years.

Christian Business Owners will pay much more attention to their numbers than our friend who is barely breaking even. Not only is this good stewardship, but we are also commanded to do so. Consider Proverbs 27.23: “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.” In this verse, we have a direct command to give close attention to the condition of that which provides economic resources for us. When we are business owners, we are without excuse if we don’t pay close attention to the business which God has entrusted to us. “It is only be care and diligence that the most solid possessions can be perpetuated.” (Jamison, Roberts and Brown commentary)

Consider also Proverbs 23.5: “Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” If we know that riches are fleeting and can be lost swiftly, why should we hasten this by not paying close attention to our businesses?

If you’re a Christian Business Owner, you have an obligation before the Lord – as part of your stewardship responsibilities – to know the numbers in your business. If you don’t know how to read an income statement, a balance sheet, calculate your break-even and so forth, then go get some training. There’s no excuse for not having intimate detailed knowledge about the numbers in your business.

Bill English