Businesses can and should be mechanisms for doing great God driven things in this world.
Money is not bad, unless it becomes the first objective and thus the idol to be sought and worshiped. Many companies know this and succeed in many ways, while they are directed by purposes other than money. Ironically, they also succeed financially, because they have higher goals, not in spite of them. Unfortunately this is harder for public companies, but even many of them do not put money first, and thus reap rewards for themselves and people in general.
I have been blessed in my life, because God chose me to lead Vitamix Corp., and directed my entire life sometimes through other people, for this purpose, including many years when I denied him.
Some of the things I have learned from these experiences, that I would suggest to anyone going into business, or even working for a business should keep in mind are:
- Make sure that even short term decisions are also good for the long term.
- Remember that you accomplish very little by yourself, and need to surround yourself with good people who share your high values, and then share successes with them.
- Your products or services must be good for people in positive ways, and always must be worth more than you charge for them.
- The business must always pay for its own mistakes, and never try to transfer blame, or costs.
- As a business expands in influence, it takes on responsibility, for commitments to employees, suppliers, independent contractors, dealers, distributors, stock holders, and customers. This needs to be remembered, but it should not prevent the process from being fun, and you should rejoice in the fact that, all of these great people are benefiting in positive ways.
- Nobody connected with a company should ever be encouraged to break laws, or otherwise compromise their ethics or values, even when upholding the values would appear to hurt the business or cost money.
- Anybody making or selling a product should know in their hearts that the customer will benefit from their work. It is also important that provision to continue these noble objectives be set to survive and even increase, without you.
Vitamix has achieved very steady growth and prosperity since 1995, I believe primarily by striving for the above objectives. We also had thousands of breakthrough ideas and decisions which had to be accomplished for Vitamix, but I believe God provides when we are willing to work hard and long, with him, for his purposes. To many, the above concepts will sound the opposite of what business is based upon, but Vitamix is one very good example of how and why the above concepts can and do work.
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Psalms 37:4 take delight in The Lord and he will give you your hearts desire. Thank you John Barnard for your leadership, integrity, heartfelt desire and commitment to your employees, suppliers, community and our Lord.
Ray Seuffert, former founder and owner of Laszeray Technology, Inc. Supplier and friend to Mr. Barnard