I have been in the “deal business” my entire career. The first business that I started while in college at The Citadel was a distressed real estate investment business. We bought properties that needed repair, completed required renovations, and then either resold or leased them out. Now, I manage an international asset management firm that focuses on partnering with competent managers who are investing in unique opportunities around the world.
Whether you are investing in a business in your backyard or you are an institutional asset manager, a determining factor in how successful you will become is determined by how much planting you do. The bible refers to this as sowing seeds.
We Need to Keep Planting, Regardless of Short-Term Profitability
In business sowing seeds looks like researching and working on an opportunity that may or may not turn into a closed deal. This also looks like investing in relationships and connections that may not be able to provide any results for you in the short term. The large majority of opportunities you pursue will not end up being investable. This is the nature of the deal business. This is a healthy and a required element of any private market investment oriented business.
For anyone who has a strong sales background they inherently understand this. They are used to developing and nurturing their pipeline of opportunities. They understand that they have to invest in many relationships, many leads, and many opportunities to see a few results that can be profitable.
Unfortunately, for many first time investors or business owners this thinking may not come naturally. They can get so focused on one idea or one opportunity that they forget to keep planting seeds continually in their business. When the one deal that they have been working on for three months dies, then they look up and there is nothing else in the pipeline any where near ready for harvest. This can be devastating.
Are You in Control?
Not only in business, but spiritually, God often asks us to focus on sowing seeds, not necessarily to focus on harvesting or getting results. The sowing of seeds is the only thing that is within our control. The reality in the Kingdom of God is that we cannot control the results that we get. We may think that we can, but in reality, God is really in control of our lives.
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1
When you really begin to understand that God is in control of your life, and that it’s not up to you to create all of the results, it is a very freeing concept. Often, Type A business people (I fall into this category by the way) aren’t really comfortable with this idea. This concept seems to take the control out of our courts and put it into God’s, which can be very unsettling if you are a control freak like myself. Surely some of the results are up to me… Right God? Surely, I am responsible for some of the results and if I screw up it is my fault.
So much achievement is built on this philosophy, and I operated out of this place for a long time. But the reality of the Kingdom of God is that the results are not up to me. God really is that good. But this doesn’t mean that I should just lie around and watch TV all day. Once you understand how good God is and how good the kingdom is, it should motivate you towards the best stewardship you can possibly give.
For me, I am very motivated to do the best work I can. I want to lead my teams to the best of my ability, and to steward the relationships and opportunities that God has put me in charge of. It is a natural response to the gospel. I want to be all-in with God on the mission that he has called me to.
Where are you at when it comes to this? Are you running your business out of fear? Are you afraid of screwing it all up? Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are doing what you are called to do?