Doughnuts are responsible for one of the first lessons in business philosophy I ever received. One sticky southern summer afternoon, I riding around town with my mentor in his truck. He was much older than me and what you would call rough around the edges. To be honest, I didn’t like him a whole lot at first, but I believed that God brought him into my life for a reason. He came up to me after the sermon one Sunday at the church where I pastored. To make it simple, he essentially asked if I would give him spiritual guidance in exchange for business coaching. I was eager to learn, so I happily obliged and eventually came to like the old fellow.
Anyway, on that particular afternoon, we drove by a vacant building that looked just like a 7-11 gas station. He stopped the truck and asked me, “Billy Wayne, what does that building look like to you?” I replied, “Oh, I don’t know.” He pushed on. “No, what does it look like?” “Well,” I carefully responded, “it looks a lot like a gas station.” “Exactly!” He affirmed.
My mentor went on to explain that it was the location for a doughnut shop he was starting. He took me inside and said that he built the shop to look exactly like a 7-11, right down to the number of parking spots. His rationale was that if the business happened to fail, he had the option to sell the building to 7-11 for a profit. He did his homework and built it at a busy street corner that had the minimum number of traffic stops 7-11 required (which bode well for his budding bakery as well). “That,” he said matter-of-factly “is what you call an exit strategy.” He had several other exit strategies as well, and his method taught me to begin with the end in mind.
In life, we have to endure a lot of forced change. Things happen to us that we can’t control. However, we should strive to control what we can control and leave the rest to God. That is my business philosophy. Sure, my mentor taught me the technical definition of an exit strategy. It’s essentially a method an investor or business owner uses to get their cash and time back with an attractive return, either at one time or over a period of time. But more importantly, he also taught me the business philosophy behind an exit strategy. I learned that when it comes to business, you have to do your best and cultivate the time to think every possibility through.
This the essence of business leadership: being honest about the mistakes you made and providing strategies to help others circumnavigate those same mistakes. You see, my mentor had learned about the necessity of an exit strategy the hard way. He realized his pitfall, pivoted, and sought out someone to teach a better way. To this day, I am still extremely grateful for his generous insight!
If you have a business background and knowledge to share, I encourage you to do so. Anyone can be a leader. That’s a big reason we created WealthBuilders. We knew that God generously gave us knowledge and experience, so we wanted to pour it back out. And, if you want a business mentor, I encourage you to pray for one and seek out opportunities to build relationships with people who can help you get to the next level. We should simultaneously desire to teach and be taught.