The Prophetic Over Kansas City

When Faith Builds More Than A Business

In the late 1990's I built my first kitchenware store that grew to over $4 million dollars in profits and was built 100% online. While I did have hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory we sold every single month, many being drop shipped from vendors all over the nation and others being shipped directly from my home warehouse, it was completely 100% a virtual business.

I remember doing business with companies of various faith based backgrounds. The Mormons in Utah who sold me kitchenware. The Jewish businesses that sold me the same from New York. The Christians in Missouri and so on. It intrigued me how so many successful businesses practiced their 'faith' in their business, while others simply 'were' whatever group they said they were a part of but you never saw any of it practiced or talked about. I remember many times WISHING I had seen more of what they believed in how they did business. Fairness, integrity and honor were lacking many times.

This was also my first encounter with what I'll call "customers gone wrong with faith."

The case of the customer who had a financial hardship and therefore thought they could return their $900 kitchen mixer 7 months later because they were desperate for cash. And the obsurd excuses I would hear for WHY they thought we, as an openly practicing Christian company, should accept their return. "Well you are believers aren't you? Doesn't the Bible say to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You're very successful and we are struggling so I think you should take back my kitchen mixer (or the other items I purchased) complete with dried up dough inside of them and just eat up the loss because I am your sister in Christ."

It floored me really. Nearly offended me.

Holding dearly in my heart the teaching of the Bible to not take up a spirit of offense, I would kindly tell the customer that this would not work at Target and it won't work with us either. I'd explain how sorry I was for their struggle but this was a different issue from their purchase of a kitchen mixer. Because the mixer wasn't broken, they had obviously used it and there were no other complaints and it was past the 120 return policy we had, we wouldn't accept the return.  Sometimes people would later apologize for their distorted view of what faith looks like in a business and other times they would send me 19 long drawn out Bible verse quoting paragraphs of how I would have to answer to "The Lord" for this offense and not supplying for the hardship of my brothers and sisters in need.

Deep sigh and a big breath. It was my first encounter with distortions that need healing in the marketplace.

Prayer became a surviving backbone to me early on in my business. Truth be told, it was the pillar on which I stood, because in and of myself I did NOT have the strength to deal with such ridiculous situations OR the massive growth we were experiencing. 11 companies later, and seeing our company quadruple in the last year, prayer and my faith in God is still the only thing that sustains and revitalizes me.

I learned many lessons with that first kitchenware business that I draw from even today. The situations of working with devout Jewish businesses in New York who would not do any business on Friday evenings and all day Saturday. When a customer would receive their drop ship information and regulations, it would be well explained that this company upheld the Sabbath and were practicing Jews. "Please know that you are a valued client and we will be happy to answer your emails or service requests bright and early Sunday morning" was their policy. I admired this. I was really encouraged by how a group of very successful business people who ran a business and gave wonderful service, could hold to more than just faith in their hearts, but they would build a culture in their corporate structure that was truly upholding their respective values and principles.

It's not enough, in my opinion, for a CEO to have deeply rooted faith based values, for it to penetrate into the entire fiber of the corporation. Just as happiness and kindness are built into the fiber of many successful brands today, if faith is going to be a part of the key governing factor within a company than it has to be built into the entire structure of the company.

Interstate Batteries, Hobby Lobby, ChickFilA and B&H in New York are some very successful businesses I can think of off the top of my head where faith is built into the entire structure of the company.  If you want to get more hours and work on Sunday at Hobby Lobby or ChickFilA you'll have to get a second job because they're not open on Sunday.  If you want to work weekends at B&H you'll need to look elsewhere because they're observing the Sabbath on Saturday. If it offends you that the Bible is used in company meetings at Interstate Batteries it would be best to seek employment from a different company.

I recently read that there are a few very large companies, Hobby Lobby being one, who are being heard by the Supreme Court regarding religious exemption of the new ObamaCare issue on contraception. It isn't enough for the CEO to have Christian values as their first choice and strong belief and conviction as their personal opinion to qualify for religious exemption. But when a deeply held religious belief is woven into the moral fiber of the corporation as a whole and therefore creates a CULTURE that is knitted to this belief and practice of faith, this is a different story.

I think we give others courage to be who they are when we live 100% true to who we are. We can even build a culture where two people who completely disagree, can sit down and have dinner in peace, without a need to harm, hate or publicly bash another. Why? Because we not only talk about what our beliefs are, we LIVE it.

Simply shouting on Facebook about your Bible believing tendencies with a verse quoted every few days isn't enough to convince anyone that you truly do believe what you say you do. When you post pictures of someone you dislike and you discredit them, malign them and seek to gain likes to yourself by discrediting others NOW we really show what we believe and hold as truth. In this case, we show others that ego runs my life.

I've watched sales coaches and business people go off on their venting and rants and raves about all the injustice done to them and who they are warning others about this week that they should avoid. Maybe I'm the only one who questions if that person even believes what they say they do, because they spend so much time talking about what they are against and acting as if they are God Almighty's Weekly Warning System for others to benefit from. Oh.. and come to my seminar where you can hear more about who I hate and how you too can join my cult. Yes, I just said that.  This is not faith in business, it's perverted marketing and sinful.

When faith is built into a business and the culture in that corporation holds dearly to that faith, the practices and fiber of every position will reasonate deeply. Ironically, it will win favor with many people as well. Why? It's my personal belief that everyone is encouraged when someone holds dearly to what they believe and they live it. Not a day goes by that I don't get an email, a comment or a direct message from someone who says that they are not a Christian but they are very encouraged by our company and by what I post on social media. Why are they so encouraged if we are so different from each other?  Because we do it, they say, with all of our heart and we live it daily as well. It gives them courage.

When more than just a deeply held conviction by the CEO and executive team is built into a company and the entire culture is rooted in a firm belief of values, faith and deeply held convictions, it is my personal opinion that we will see STRENGTH rising in our world.


With love,

Sandi Krakowski

Sandi Krakowski