Owning a business and being an entrepreneur is quite an adventure. The adventure exists because of things they don’t tell you about. I’ve read several different business books and they all have nuggets of good information, but sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.
I’m not sure what your experience has been, but as I started and grew my business, I began experiencing these unexpected cycles. Things would go well for a season and we would grow. We would invest in the growth and the next thing I know, we were trending backward. I would be questioning my decisions and wondering what happened. These cycles and the emotions they carried were brand new to me. None of my business books even hinted this was going to happen.
During one of my monthly calls with my spiritual mentor, I expressed my frustration over what was happening. His words to me, were quite surprising. He said, “No, no, no. This is exactly the way that God takes you through His Kingdom Business Cycle.” Together, we drew it out, and for the first time in my business, I could see what God was doing.
As Paradiem worked with other business owners, I began to recognize the same cycles and same emotions happening to others. It seemed that no one else was clear on this pattern either. I wanted to be sure that owners understood it, so they could see where they fit inside of God’s plans for expanding their businesses.
Today, I can see the sense of fear or of being overwhelmed come over someone and say, “Wait a minute. Let me show you the Kingdom Business Cycle. Here’s where you are in the cycle. It’s OK, and you’re going to be OK.”
I believe that by understanding the four phases of the Kingdom Business Cycle you will have a better perspective on God’s design. (The cycle repeats itself after number four.)
Phase 1: Starting out, you are building a business with an idea, with a vision that God has put on your heart. Something that will make a difference in the community and be better for the world. That takes faith. Faith involves hearing well, listening well, and trusting that you have the right vision.
Phase 2: You are engaging with your vision. Then what you have is this moment that I call amazement. You might find yourself saying, “Wow, this is doing better than I expected” or “This is beginning to exceed my expectations of what I thought God was going to do.”
It is in this place that God often begins to plant a bigger vision. You see the potential of this new vision and begin to invest your profits into the next idea. This might involve hiring more people, needing to move into a new building, expanding marketing, or paying for new software.
Phase 3: Not too long after you’ve begun to invest in the new vision from God, you begin to hit a peak. Unfortunately, most of the time, you don’t recognize it until it has passed.
It is also in this moment that there is a real temptation to say, “Wow, I’m really good at this.” You find yourself facing the risk of self‑reliance. You must be careful because if self-reliance takes over, you may end up chasing multiple ideas that are beyond God’s vision. Because you’ve had so much success, you can begin to forget who brought you to this point and who gave you the vision in the first place.
The challenge for your business lies in the revenue numbers. You’ve seen the profitability at the peak, and now that you are making all these investments, the profitability begins a downward trend. At first, this isn’t an issue, but as it continues, and sometimes accelerates, you move into Phase 4.
Phase 4: As the downward trend of revenue accelerates you begin to doubt yourself. You ask, “Did I make a mistake?” or “Did I mishear God’s guidance?”
In 2013, I made the decision to acquire my business partner and mentor which was a huge endeavor. We were making more top line, but we were making less on the bottom line, which translated itself into less income.
This investment into the future was exactly what God had called me to do. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop me from entering a period of doubt and fear where I questioned my decision and wondered if I would make it.
Here is where you often miss the lesson of the downturn. When you look at your financial statements, your earnings at this point are much higher, relative to where you were before the peak. You’re not back where you were when you started; you’ve made tremendous growth and progress.
You must take a step back and have a frame of mind that recognizes, “Wait a minute, I’m still ahead of where I was, and I’m still on the path of God’s calling.” Just because things are going backward temporarily, doesn’t mean I’ve missed anything. It’s the cycle, the Kingdom Business Cycle. It’s this season, which then moves you back into a new season of faith.
In that new season of faith, you’ve seen this happen before. You have a new understanding of God’s calling, but you are about to take the journey all over again. You will see the expansion and success. There will be more investment where you will have to continually be aware of self-reliance. And things will temporarily take a step back. This is the nature of the Kingdom Business Cycle.
Have you seen these cycles in your own business? At Paradiem, our team has walked multiple businesses along this path. You don’t have to walk alone. If you would like to have a conversation about where you are on the journey, we are here to listen.