Friday, April 12, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

創業萬歲

By:Jim Mathis

最近我有機會對一個地區性大學創業班的同學演講,也跟一群國二生談到職業生涯。我對他們說不到二百年之前,大部分的人都是自行創業的人。他們很多是農人、果園主人、畜牧業主人,其他的是服務這些人的產業。例如,鐵匠、製作輪子的工匠、皮匠、屠夫、麵包師父、製作蠟燭的師父,和其他好幾百種需要某種程度技能的職業。

但是因為工業革命,隨著高收入但低技能的工作出現,大部分的人都被引誘離開創業這條路,並且很快地都沉溺於固定薪資帶來的安全感。

教育應用開始教導工業革命的價值觀: 準時上班、做別人告訴你該做的事、不問問題以及避免犯錯。結果是,社會上大部分的人都失去了能經營企業的必要能力,也沒有機會學習。同時我們也喪失了學習的基本能力: 就是日積月累藉由經驗而來的能力。

令人振奮的是,最近電視開始推崇和報導小型企業經營者,像是Pawn Stars(註1)、Counting Cars(註2)、Rehab Addict(註3)、Property Brothers(註4)和一些關於餐廳的節目。這些電視節目鼓勵人們創立古董店、汽車修理公司、咖啡店或是其他的生意,他們合理地描述了小型企業人的生活,讓人覺得成為小型企業經營者是令人興奮的和有趣的。的確,很多我認識的企業經營者都跟我說,他們的生意經驗都可以上電視了!

但這些電視節目小看了經營小企業所需要的知識和技能,或是學得技能的機會。從公司出來創業的人經常失敗,因為他們缺乏能成功創業的技能。

幸運的是,從小我家就是做拍賣的生意,而後我在古董店也工作過,還做過零售的生意,甚至在搖滾樂團裡玩過音樂。這些經驗都造就我成為攝影工作室、咖啡店、現在是一間商業攝影工作室的負責人。當然,創業不是一個新的概念或從十八世紀才產生的名詞,事實上聖經也告訴我們很多創業的例子:

亞伯拉罕是牧場主人和地主。挪亞一定也學到很多建造方舟需要的技能。在大衛成為以色列的王之前,他是一個牧羊人。尼西米是巴比倫王的酒政,但是他卻有知識和領導能力去帶領一大群的人回去建造耶路撒冷的城牆。在新約裡面,耶穌好幾個門徒是漁夫,使徒保羅是織帳棚的人(製作皮革製品的人),他的事工沒有企業的贊助。

在帖撒羅尼加前書四章十一節那裡說到:「又要立志作安靜人,辦自己的事,親手做工,正如我們從前所吩咐你們的」。在今天創業的人被視為冒險家或是勇於冒險的人,但事實上,好幾世紀以來,創業者在社會上扮演著不可或缺的角色。我們可以預期將來會有更多的創業者,這樣我們就可以真正做到「無論做甚麼,都要從心裏做,像是給主做的,不是給人做的。」(歌羅西書3章23節)

註1:有翻譯稱做”當鋪之星”, Pawn Stars是一個在美國History頻道上播出的節目,主角是一家老中青三代,他們在拉斯維加斯經營當舖,這個影集把每天客戶上門典當、鑑定典當品真偽的故事搬上銀光幕。(內容轉載自http://gogococonut.blogspot.tw/2010/06/follow-pawn-stars.html)

註2: Counting Cars,香港電視節目將之翻譯為”車壇追擊手”,是美國的真人秀電視節目。主角丹尼柯克是拉斯維加斯的傳奇人物,擅長翻新和改裝經典車與重型機車。《車壇追擊手》的每集單元都將介紹各種極具歷史意義的車子,通過翻新前後的對比,展現他們的生意技巧。可參閱此網站http://nowtv.now.com/channel/225/2898498

註3: Rehab Addict有中文節目翻譯為”修復成癮”,美國的電視真人秀,描述一位室內設計師專門尋找古舊的房屋並將之設計翻新的過程。請參閱此簡體中文網站: http://simplecd.me/entry/uJRTdvK8/

註4: Property Brothers是加拿大的電視真人秀節目。主要由一對雙胞胎兄弟主持。他們一位是房仲業,一位是房屋改裝承包商。節目內容主要是他們協助想承購房屋者,在嚴格的預算內購買到房屋並裝修改裝房屋。內容轉載自維基百科英文版網站http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property_Brothers

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。他還寫了一本書「一般民眾的高度攝影表現」,那是一本有關數位攝影的書。他曾是一家咖啡店的經理,也曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

回應與問題討論
你知道以前大部分的人都是自行創業、有自己的生意,不是去公司上班嗎?你覺得創業的興起和衰退如何影響這個社會? 你是否擁有自己的生意或者是合夥人?如果有,分享一下你的經驗。如果沒有,你覺得自己是否具備成功創業的能力?解釋一下你的答案。 你覺得自行創業的優缺點是什麼? 對有信心的人來說,你覺得自行創業是不是更容易在職場上活出自己的信仰?或者更困難呢?解釋一下你的答案。若你想要看或討論聖經中有關此主題的其他經文,請看:箴言 14章23節,16章26節,24章27節;以弗所書2章10節;歌羅西書3章17節,23-24節;提摩太後書3章16-17節

CELEBRATING ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Jim Mathis

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to an entrepreneurs” class at a local university, as well as to a group of eighth graders at a school career day. I told both groups that less than 200 years ago, the majority of people were entrepreneurs. Many were farmers, ranchers or herds-people; others were individuals whose businesses served them. Blacksmiths, wheelwrights, tanners, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, and hundreds of other professions – all relied on high levels of specialized skills.

But the industrial age, along with the appeal of high-paying, low-skill jobs, lured most of these people from their established businesses. Soon they became addicted to the security of a regular paycheck.

Education adapted and began teaching industrial age values of showing up on time, doing what you are told, not asking questions, and avoiding mistakes. The result? As a society, most of us have lost the skills necessary to run a business – or never learned them. We have also lost the infrastructure necessary for learning skills – apprenticeships where years of on-the-job training teach skills and craftsmanship that cannot be learned any other way.

It is encouraging to see TV series that honor small business owners: Like “Pawn Stars,” “Counting Cars,” “Rehab Addict,” “Property Brothers,” and shows about restaurants. They reasonably depict life as a small business owner. These shows may encourage people to start antique shops, auto restoration businesses, coffeehouses and other enterprises, showing the excitement, grit and fun of being small business owners. Most entrepreneurs I know would admit their businesses would make for good reality TV.

These shows underscore the high level of skill and knowledge necessary to run a small business and the lack of opportunity to learn these skills. Small businesses started by people coming out of the corporate world often fail because the owners have never developed the skills necessary to succeed.

Fortunately, I grew up in the auction business, worked in a pawn shop, managed a retail store, and played in a rock band, all of which prepared me to be the owner of a photo lab, coffeehouse, and now a commercial photography business. Of course, entrepreneurs are not a new phenomenon, or something that started in the 18th century. In fact, the Bible offers many examples of entrepreneurs:

Abraham was a cattleman and landowner. Noah must have gained a wide array of skills to be equipped for building the ark. Before becoming kind of Israel, David was a shepherd. Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king of Babylon, but had the understanding and leadership skills to direct a large team in rebuilding Jerusalem. In the New Testament, several of Jesus” followers were fishermen, and the apostle Paul was a tentmaker – a man who made leather goods. His ministry had no corporate sponsorship.

In fact, in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Paul wrote, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” Today people that start their own businesses are often viewed as adventurers and risk-takers, but in reality, over the centuries entrepreneurs have played indispensable roles in society. Maybe we will see many more entrepreneurs in the years to come. Then we can truly “work as for the Lord, rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23).

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. Jim is the author of High Performance Cameras for Ordinary People, a book on digital photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Did you realize that at one time most people were entrepreneurs, having their own businesses rather than working for some corporate entity? How do you think the rise of corporate enterprises and the decline of entrepreneurism affected society? Have you ever owned or participated in an entrepreneurial venture yourself? Perhaps you are engaged in one right now. If so, describe that experience. If not, do you think you possess the skills that would make you a successful entrepreneur? Why or why not? What would you say are the pros and cons – the strengths and drawbacks – of being involved in an entrepreneurial business venture? For people of faith, do you think being an entrepreneur would make it easier to live out one”s beliefs in the workplace – or more difficult? Explain your answer.If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 14:23, 16:26, 24:27; Ephesian2:10; Colossians 3:17, 23-24; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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