Yesterday Todd Leinberger, Craig Soderdahl and I had lunch with some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world.
They’re the greatest because their start-up’s are some of the most challenging in the world. But the challenges create the greatest returns found anywhere.
What makes these start-ups so challenging?
First, they’re almost always started on a shoe string budget and sometimes no budget at all. Banks and angel investors aren’t a source of capital for these entrepreneurs.
Second, these entrepreneurs do most of the initial work themselves from cleaning facilities to door to door sales. The remaining work’s done by unpaid staff, family and friends – the easiest people to love and the hardest to hold accountable.
Finally the service they’re providing has a highly emotional and intangible quality making it hard to measure success, show progress and know if what they’re doing is making a difference.
So why would an entrepreneur start-up such a challenging business? Because of the payoff, the return on investment is eternal, it’s forever. The rewards are personal, deep and significant. Finally it’s a calling. No one does it if they’re not called. And only those called survive the start-up phase.
Who’re these great entrepreneurs? They’re church planters. They’re men and women who have taken the challenge to start churches that will reach and make a difference in the lives of people and expand Christ’s Kingdom.
For example we heard from and prayed for a man whose starting the first evangelical Christian church for Chaldeans in the world. Think it about, an entire ethnic group that doesn’t have one evangelical church and this man’s been working and praying for 30 years to start such a church.
So needless to say we walked out of lunch with new respect for the commitment and talent of these men and women. And we also wondered why the greatest entrepreneurs in the world haven’t yet made the cover of Inc. magazine.