Do you need help with something big?

Do you need help with something big?

I’ve got space on my calendar to work with your church over a period of FIVE months.  It’s personal consulting focused on solving one big issue.  The issue might be:

  • Developing a staff and volunteer leadership system or reorganizing your leadership structure
  • Creating healthy ministry systems and practices so things run more efficiently
  • Reaching more people so the church grows in size and health
  • Overcoming a big obstacle you’re facing or getting off of the ministry treadmill
  • Launching another campus or some other big initiative

Imagine working on a big project for about six months.  That time frame would give us time to truly identify the issues, create a solution and implement it.  I’m doing this with two different right churches now and we’re making killer progress.

You’ll get one site visit (with an option for more if you need them), monthly meetings with you and/or your team (can be via Skype), and weekly check in calls focused on the point leader. It’s totally customized for your needs.  And I’ll work with you and walk with you the entire way.  This is what I’m doing for a living, so it’s not free.  But I think it could be worth it for you and your church.

If you’re interested, let me know your challenge and what it would mean to solve it.  You can contact me here.

Stuff I Starred

Here’s my semi-weekly Friday recap of stuff I starred in Google reader, clipped into Evernote, or favorited on Twitter.

  • 27% of Americans didn’t read a single book last year. If you want a big leg up on 27% of the competition in the job market, go read a book. (via @kennysilva)
  • Likability is the most important quality in a pastor. If people don’t like you it doesn’t matter how good you preach. – Junior Hill (via @sidekickceo)
  • Warren Bird from #leadnet says that the average person in the world is 29, makes just over $10,000 a year and doesn’t have Internet access.
  • “A horse is prepared for the day of battle but victory comes from the Lord.” Proverbs 31:21
  • Michael Hyatt talks about the value of paying for coaching and learning.  I believe this.
  • Modern Reject asks “who is your pastor” and notes that we have confused the office of pastor with the ministry of pastor.  Brilliant.
  • Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. – Tim Tebow.  (I still don’t like him because he’s a Gator.)
  • When a person is down in the world, an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching. -Edward Bulwer-Lytton.  I know I’ve needed this over the last 8 months.
  • Your budget is a theological statement. It says what you value. – Alan Hirsch
  • 232 sand dollars.
  • I’m becoming more and more convinced that churches want volunteers and not leaders.  Empowering leaders means you have to give up control.

Case Study: A Dance Studio

A few months ago, I started offering consulting services to small businesses. I wanted to leverage my experience in launching something, attracting people, raising money, and building a team to help people.

One of my first clients was a dance studio. Over the course of two personal meetings, several follow up emails, and the completion of some projects, we were able to address:

  • New ways to attract customers during “off-peak” sign up times.
  • The creation of an annual calendar to drive events, marketing and planning.
  • Branding and design tweaks.
  • Email marketing to the existing database.

We discussed many ideas the the business owner implemented a few. She spent less than $1,000.

The result is a 20% increase in enrollment over this time last year. By the end of the year, enrollment should grow to 300 students, which would be about 25% more than a year ago.  Increased enrollment obviously means increased revenue.

Some of the things I’ve learned will absolutely translate to your business. If you’re interested in getting more customers or clients, increasing revenue, or systematizing what you do so it doesn’t feel crazy, visit the consulting page and let’s talk.

Why You Shouldn’t Seek Free Advice

For 20 years, I did my own taxes. A few years ago, I hired a professional, and it’s made a big difference. The amount of money I pay in accounting fees is far less than the amount of money I would leave on the table doing the job myself, not to mention that that I don’t worry as much. Just because you can do something, or even possess the core knowledge, doesn’t mean you should do it.

In leadership, I’ve paid for the outside opinion of professional consultants. Even though I like to think that I know what I am doing, I’m prone to miss what’s right before my eyes. The advice of friends and peers is valuable, but the professional opinion of a consultant provided a different level of insight.

No matter what you lead, I believe that coaching, consulting and outside analysis will help you. Yes, it costs money. But as they say, you get what you pay for.

Here are four reasons why free advice from friends often falls short.

1. Free advice is generally what it’s worth. There’s a reason that person isn’t getting paid for his or her opinion.

2. People don’t implement free advice. You are far less likely to change something based on the free opinion of a friend. But when someone with training and skill tells you what you should do, you take notice. It’s why you listen to your doctor in matters of health.

3. If you’re not willing to pay for it, I don’t think you really want it. Working with professionals communicates a commitment. It’s certainly not automatic, but when you put your money where your mouth is, you’re closer to being serious.

4. Free indicates a one-way relationship, and one-way relationships generally aren’t healthy.

Ten Things You Can Do To Get Organized NOW

You started off with a dream, passion and vision, but the idea has quickly become mundane amid the pressures of the everyday.  You struggle to find time to do the things that you ought to do.  You know you should step back and work ON it, but it’s tough to get ahead.

A big reason why you feel the way you do is because you’re not as organized as you should be.  Here’s ten things you can do to take a GIANT leap forward.

  1. Create a health report spreadsheet with all the important metrics and start updating it once a week.  You’ve got to stop making decisions based on how things feel and start looking at real numbers.
  2. Write a “new email” sequence to send to every new email address you obtain.  Opt for a three-part sequence rather than one giant email.  Welcome new people to your tribe and educate them in the process.
  3. Create an annual calendar.  I wrote about this here. And it’s one of the workshops I can lead for your team. Hands down, this will be one of the most effective uses of a day.
  4. Write 140-character or less job descriptions for everyone on your team.  People need to know their bottom line reason for being on the team.
  5. Read this book.
  6. Read these posts from Michael Hyatt and start using Evernote.
  7. Schedule six month performance reviews with everyone on your team.  Schedule them right now, and let every employee know the date and time of their meeting.  An extensive performance review is a part of Docs and Forms.
  8. Email your staff or key leaders every Monday and share two or three things that you’re thinking about as the leader.  Make this a recurring task on your calendar.
  9. Schedule a two day staff retreat.  Tell everyone on your team that it’s required.  Maybe a workshop could be a part of it.
  10. Bring in someone from the outside to evaluate what you’re doing.  You’re stuck in the middle of it, and that causes you to lose some perspective.  I’d love to help if I can.

A Church IS Like a Business

Six years ago, I moved to a brand new town to start a brand new business. It wasn’t a restaurant, or an internet marketing agency…it was a church. You might not think of starting a church like starting a business, but it is. From incorporation to marketing to fund-raising to business plans, we started a successful business. Now for all of my Christian friends, please understand…starting a church is so much MORE than starting a business, but it’s AT LEAST starting a business. Here’s some of the similarities.

1. We raised money. We started with no money, and learned how to bootstrap. Five years later, we were paying for facilities and personell and covering $800,000 of annual expenses. Most small business start with a business plan and little money…we did the same thing. I still have a lot to learn, but I learned a ton about raising money, and how to do things well without much money.

2. We attracted customers. I certainly don’t want to insenuate that people looking for a church are simply customers, but there is a little bit of similarity. In a town where there were plenty of churches to attend, we had to differentiate and attract attenders. And on top of that, we were trying to reach “customers” who really didn’t want anything to do with church…ANY kind of church. After a couple of years, we were running 750 people in a town of 17,000.

3. We hired, fired and reorganized staff. We started with one person on staff (me) and grew to about ten people. We had to look for potential hires, interview people, and plug them into new positions. We reorganized for growth, and went through uncomfortable moments of change. We went from having generalists who did everything to working with specialists who focused on a specific part of the church.

4. We dealt with insurance, facility and other issues. We had to learn how to work with other businesses, city officials and participated in other local businesses. Just like your small business wrestles through real issues, we did too. Churches are not immune to the rules of business. In fact, trying to find the “church way” around a business issue can be deadly.

5. We had to learn tools. Growing from 0 to 750 people required a lot of learning, especially on the business and administration side of things. And without a lot of money, we learned how to utilize free or cheap resources. We had to grow and learn and change.

6. We communicated to “regulars”. With a database of more than 3,000 people, we learned how to leverage effective communication to inspire people to take action. We had to continually communicate to the core, and inspire people to take action.

7. We wanted to grow. Like most small businesses, we had a vision and a plan and some goals. We wanted to reach people in our community because we knew that our message is eternally important. Hopefully, you started your business because you believed in what you were offering. But wanting to grow, and actually growing are two very different things. Even if you know where you’re heading, you need a plan to get there. Charting that course and executing the plan requires skill, determination and help.

Starting a church is much bigger than starting a business, but it is similar. Some of the things I’ve learned along the way have helped me have intelligent conversations with business leaders…conversations that I enjoy having. If you’re part of a business that’s looking to grow, expand, or refocus, I’d love to help you.