Week three (chicken noodle soup)

I’m cold. The weather took a turn toward the arctic. The average temperature this week was well below freezing. Up before dawn, out before daylight. It’s not easy for an Arizona boy to climb out from under the covers when the room feels more like a refrigerator than a living space.

Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup has become my best friend. My local grocer has a sale; 5 for $5. I enlist a small army of cans and take them home and line them up on the shelf like so many tin soldiers. Every evening the most enthusiastic volunteer gets opened, poured in the pot and boiled to steaming hot. The heat, smell and taste take the edge off the long cold day. The Southwest Airlines ticket home looks more and more inviting.

Week three comes to a close. The employees are getting use to me being around. I know because they are becoming engaging. They run down the events of the day; the good, bad and ugly. Maybe running a business is more like being a pastor after all.

I really enjoy fielding calls from customers. I spent a couple of days this week doing just that. It’s very interesting. Some call and it’s as if they are taking happy pills. Some call with an IRS serious attitude. Some think they dialed 911. No matter, all are expecting to have their need met by me, the voice in charge.

I am beginning to get excited about the business start in Arizona. I am currently building the system and creating work flow documents. So far I have no customers, no vendors and no employees. It’s fairly easy to manage at this point, but it doesn’t have much of a bottom line. This is were prayer comes in. “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Cor. 9:10) We trust that God will supply everything necessary to accomplish the ministry. Please pray for me and my family to have courage and wisdom for the task set before us.

Well, with soup in hand this frigid week comes to a close.

Week two (Aha!)

It’s been my experience during the first few days at a new job I find myself wondering, “How in the world did I get here?” It’s kind of like buyers remorse. It’s like walking around in a heavy fog. Then there comes a time when you just connect, with a person, a project, a customer, or something else (like an idea for a new business) and the fog begins to lift. Week two comes to a close and the fog is beginning to lift.

To start, I have more expertise in the fire safety industry than last week. Working with my nephew, who really is a veteran of the industry and quite knowledgeable, I know more of the “mundane” facts involving fire safety. Last week I saw some high tech equipment, this week the common old ordinary fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are like wallflowers at the prom, no one sees them. It’s because they’re boring. They just hang there. There are no lights, sounds, no motions of any type. No one even cares about them unless the room’s on fire. How often is the room on fire?

Here’s a cool thought though…Most people just laugh when you try to teach them how to use a fire extinguisher. They say something like, “If this place catches fire I’m not going to worry about putting the fire out, I’m just going to run…what do I need with a fire extinguisher?” The fact is, the most common use of a fire extinguisher is to fight your way out of a burning room when your access to the outside is cut off. Knowing how to use one can save your life.

OK, anyway…I am getting more familiar with products, vendors and even some customers. I am scheduled to attend a major fire safety convention in March and even attend a fire school in April. The plan to bring a new business on-line is in place. However, there remains much to do.

This week was an “Aha!” type week. Ideas are starting to look more like reality.

Week one (culture shock)

This is the first in a series of progress reports. I hope to blog at the end of each week the steps taken toward the goal. First,  the exact details of the goal aren’t solidified yet. Those details will be part of the progress I’m sure. However, the beginning stage of the goal is to create/purchase/join a business and become part of the network of commerce.

For those of you who are unaware, my resume reflects a 25 year background in business. My undergraduate degree is business administration. I have worked in both small private and large public companies. I have worked for others and also owned businesses.

After receiving a clear call, I celebrated the last eight years attending seminary and serving as pastor of a small church in Arizona. (Both great blessings)  This new season of ministry will be based not in the traditional church but in the marketplace.  To understand the three main areas of the goal click on the STRUCTURE tab above and read the definition posted as I know it today.

OK, as for the progress…I purchased a plane ticket and headed east to dive into the Fire Safety business my brother has owned for several years. I really enjoy the industry and it fits my personality well. To say the least, it is a bit of culture shock being back in business after eight years in seminary and church life and being back in the West Virginia culture after nearly 20 years living in Arizona. So the first week was a process of settling in. I am homesick. I miss my wife, my kid’s and my grandson like crazy. But we all agree, (well my grandson is not yet two) this is the right direction.

The employees at work are showing me the ropes. We visited a recent fire suppression system installed at a high tech firm in Morgantown, WV. It has lots of lights and sounds and protects an area of information storage that is vital to the firm. I helped test the system before it was placed into service. It was cool!  We handle everything from a simple fire extinguisher hanging in an office to high tech fire suppression equipment for multiple industries. Best of all, almost everything we sell is RED! Now that’s really cool!

Where it all goes from here I’m not really sure. I will be working on safety certifications in the weeks to come. This business is heavily regulated. Some wonderful Christian businessmen have approached me and want to be involved and I am very excited about that. So the first week is in the record books and I look forward to the days to come. Bring on week two!