Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

不擴展事業 – 是否會是個好主意?──NOT GROWING A BUSINESS – CAN THAT BE A GOOD PLAN?

我的家族裡有很多人都是自己經營生意,擁有自己的企業。我一直知道我也想這樣做,我的總體計劃是開發出一門技能或手藝,使我能夠發揮創造力、自己決定工作時間,並在財務上獲得成功,這樣就不用花太多時間擔憂金錢,購買我所需要的物品。

在1973年,我成立了Mathis Photo 馬希斯照相館,在幾年內,我和妻子就可以買一棟房子、兩輛新車,享受旅行,並開始為退休存錢。那些都是我的目標,而且我們一直實現著它們。這也都只是我和妻子在家中的工作。我們有意識地做出決定,只要在能力範圍內,就持續做我們一直在做的事情,不擴大業務,也不接受超過我們自己能處理的工作。我們後來搬到一個稍小的空間,但即使如此,一起工作仍然是很理想的。

如果我們雇用了員工,增加更多服務或新增地點,我就必須成為一名管理者,放棄我現在所熱愛的實際工作。大多數企業主,似乎不願意跟我有同樣的目標,他們認為擴大業務總是最佳的選擇。結果,許多人面臨支付薪資的壓力,工作品質下降,而且他們的企業也常常失敗。

遺憾的是,人們通常會錯誤地,將一個企業的成功衡量標準,與總銷售額、員工數量、新增的地點數量或產品倉庫的大小相連。而做我們喜愛的工作、簡單地為自己和家人提供生計,似乎就退到後面了。

即使小型家族企業已經成功經營多年,卻也很少受到重視。所謂的「Mom & Pop Shop 夫妻店」通常帶有負面的含意,即便是一個人、一對夫婦或幾個親戚共同經營的企業,在長時間都持續的生產出優質產品和服務,也還是會被這麼認為。

我和妻子也經營過一家咖啡館多年,為了要完成工作,雇用員工是必要的。然而,我們定意,如果要實現我們對咖啡館的期望,最好的模式就是只保持一個地點。在那重要的經驗後,在過去的15年裡,我再次地獨自從事我喜愛的工作。

舊約中的傳道書提出了這個觀點「我所見為善為美的,就是人在神賜他一生的日子吃喝,享受日光之下勞碌得來的好處,因為這是他的分。」(傳道書5章18節) 這一點也不可恥。

這並不是要貶低任何有志在成長中企業工作,或尋求在企業中晉升的人。然而,任何計劃創業的人,都應該明智地仔細考慮,他們希望如何進行事業的擴展,並知道公司的最終目標是什麼。是計劃盡可能賺取更多的金錢,盡可能為更多的人提供工作,或將企業賣給大型企業集團呢?還是有人希望盡可能過著很少壓力與煩惱的美好生活呢?
無論我們的企業大小如何,以弗所書6章7-8節為我們的工作提供了很好的指導方向:「甘心事奉,好像服事主,不像服事人。因為曉得各人所行的善事,不論是為奴的,是自主的,都必按所行的得主的賞賜。」

©2023 Jim Mathis是堪薩斯州歐弗蘭帕克的作家,攝影師和企業主。他的最新著作是【駱駝和針: 基督徒看財富和金錢。The Camel and the Needle:A Christian Looks at Wealth and Money】他曾任堪薩斯州堪薩斯城和密蘇里州堪薩斯城的咖啡店經理和CBMC執行理事。

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多相關的內容,請考慮下面的經文:

箴言10章4-5節
10:4  手懶的,要受貧窮;手勤的,卻要富足。
10:5  夏天聚斂的,是智慧之子;收割時沉睡的,是貽羞之子。
箴言12章11節、24節
12:11 耕種自己田地的,必得飽食;追隨虛浮的,卻是無知。
12:24 殷勤人的手必掌權;懶惰的人必服苦。
箴言16章26節
16:26  勞力人的胃口使他勞力,因為他的口腹催逼他。
箴言22章29節
22:29 你看見辦事殷勤的人嗎?他必站在君王面前,必不站在下賤人面前。
哥林多前書3章9節
3:9 因為我們是與神同工的;你們是神所耕種的田地,所建造的房屋。
歌羅西書3章17節、23-24節
3:17  無論做什麼,或說話或行事,都要奉主耶穌的名,藉著他感謝父神。
3:23  無論做什麼,都要從心裡做,像是給主做的,不是給人做的,
3:24  因你們知道從主那裡必得著基業為賞賜;你們所事奉的乃是主基督。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你是否經營一家小型企業?或曾有過這樣的願望嗎?如果有的話,你的整體目標是什麼 -或你認為那應該會是什麼?
  2. 你認為,相對於工作在大公司擔任領導角色,而擁有一家小型的企業會有什麼優點與缺點?
  3. 你認為為什麼這麼多人,會將企業的成功主要體現在數字上:不斷增長的銷售數字、員工增長的數字,以及擴展新領域和增加市場份額?你認為未能實現這些目標代表失敗嗎?請解釋你的答案?
  4. 在傳道書5章18節說到:「勞碌得來的好處」,對於那些,認為成功就是單純地享受自己從事的工作的人,你的看法是甚麼呢?在你看來,上帝在當中扮演著什麼樣的角色?


NOT GROWING A BUSINESS – CAN THAT BE A GOOD PLAN?

By Jim Mathis

My family has been filled with people who worked for themselves, owning their own businesses. I always knew I wanted to do the same. My general plan was to develop a skill or craft that would allow me to be creative, set my own schedule, and be financially successful enough that I did not have to spend a lot of time worrying about having money for the things I needed. 

I started Mathis Photo in 1973 and within a couple of years my wife and I could buy a house, two new cars, enjoy travel and start saving for retirement. Those were my goals, and we were accomplishing them. It was just my wife and me working out of our home. We made the intentional decision to keep doing just what we were doing for as long as we could without expanding or taking on more work than we could handle ourselves. We later moved to a small retail space, but even then, working together proved ideal. 

If we had hired employees, added more services or additional locations, I would have had to become a manager, giving up doing the actual work that I loved. Most business owners do not seem to share those goals, thinking that expanding their business is always the best option. Consequently, many experience the stress of trying to make payroll, the quality of work suffers, and often their businesses fail.

Unfortunately, it is often assumed that the measure of a successful business is total sales, how many employees you have, how many new locations are added, or how big the warehouse is for products. Doing work we enjoy, simply providing for ourselves and our families, seem to take a back seat. 

The small family business, even one that has been successful for many years, is rarely valued. The so-called “Mom & Pop Shop” typically takes on a negative connotation, even though an individual, a couple, or a few relatives running a business together are almost always the most sustainable model for producing excellent products and services over a long period of time.

When my wife and I also managed a coffeehouse for a number of years, hiring staff was necessary to accomplish the work. We did determine, however, the best model for us to achieve the hopes we had for that coffeehouse was to keep it at one location only. After that remarkable experience, I again have been working by myself for the past 15 years and have loved what I do.

The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes presents this observation: “Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given to him – for this is his lot” (Ecclesiastes 5:18). There is no shame in this.

This is not to disparage anyone who aspires to work with a growing business or seeks to move up the corporate ladder. However, anyone planning to start a business would be wise to carefully consider how they wish to approach business growth and know what the ultimate goals are for the company. Is the plan to make as much money as possible, provide jobs for as many people as possible, or sell the business to a big conglomerate? Or might one want to have a good life with as few stresses and worries as possible?

The words of Ephesians 6:7 serve as a good guideline for how we work, regardless of the size of our enterprise: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave [employee] or free.”

© 2023. Jim Mathis is a writer, photographer and small business owner in Overland Park, Kansas. His latest book is The Camel and the Needle, A Christian Looks at Wealth and Money. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Do you operate a small business, or have you ever aspired to do so? If so, what are your overall goals – or what do you think they would be?
  2. What do you think are the pros and cons of owning a small business as opposed to working in or having a leadership role in a large company?
  3. Why do you think so many people perceive business success primarily in terms of numbers: ever-increasing sales, growing number of employees, and expansion into new areas and greater marketshare? Do you think that failure to achieve these things represents failure? Why or why not?
  4. Ecclesiastes 5:18 speaks about “finding satisfaction in toilsome labor.” What is your view of someone who considers success simply to enjoy the work that he or she engages in? Where in your opinion does God fit into this equation?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:      Proverbs 10:4-5, 12:11,24, 16:26, 22:29; 1 Corinthians 3:9; Colossians 3:17,23-24



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