When looking at available books to review from Bethany House Publishers, I thought that Brock Shinen's new book, The Christian Entrepreneur: Dream, Plan, Execute, Grow, would be an interesting book to read and review. I also was hopeful that I would be able to pass it along to our teenage son who is hoping to start his own photography business. I found Shinen's book to be well organized and easy to read.
A Successful Business
Brock Shinen uses his experience as a lawyer and strategy consultant to present an "easy-to-use guide" that will help budding Christian entrepreneurs in starting their own business. Throughout the book, Shinen presents real world examples from his work as a legal expert and business coach to help bring his points to life for the reader. For example, in the paragraph on disputes, he shares his experience with a client who wanted a contract written and then explains disputes and how they can impact one's business.
The Christian Entrepreneur is a hardcover book of 219 pages that is divided into four parts (called steps) and includes a prologue, epilogue, and appendices with a sample business plan and sample budget worksheet. If an entrepreneur wanted to, they could skip around the book to read the parts that would directly apply to their business at the moment but I think reading it from start to finish would be a better way to fully garner all of Shinen's wisdom.
What Does The Christian Entrepreneur Cover?
There are four parts to the book: Dream, Plan, Execute, and Grow which address the different things to think about when building your new business as well as useful self-assessment tools. Each part contains stories and questions that help the reader really connect and think about their own ideas.
In the first part, Dream, readers are asked to reflect upon their ideas as well as think about whether or not their idea is a good one. There are several flow charts and questions to ask oneself to help with this process. There are also nine elements that are examined to help readers build a business with a strong foundation.
In the next part, Shinen discusses the five main parts of an effective business plan, the money needing during the life of the business, how and why one would build a team, and finally how to decide between building a for-profit or nonprofit business. He brings in personal experiences as well as wisdom from the Bible and a Christian standpoint.
"Unless God clearly instructs us to do something different, logic, experience, and wisdom should be the standard for financial decisions."
The chapters that are part of Step Three: Execute include discussion on customer service and engagement, an overview of the legal landscape that might impact your business, how to handle disputes, and finally a series of negotiation skills to work on. The Christian Entrepreneur offers advice based upon the Bible in regard to disputes. First Corinthians 6 states that we should not sue each other but even if entrepreneurs do everything in their power to avoid lawsuits, there are times when they are unavoidable and Shinen offers a few tips on how to keep eyes open.
What are the values of a Christian Entrepreneur? Ones' Christian value system should permeate "every professional decision" one makes. But while honesty is important, Proverbs reminds us that "A fool uttereth all his mind" (158). Shinen explains in this section that we do not need to have less success, less income, or less recognition just because we are Christian. The final part also explores if and when to grow ones' business. Do we need the fanciest phone or equipment? And finally how does one work in a secular world?
What Did I Think?
Even though I am not starting my own business, I found reading The Christian Entrepreneur to be a very interesting read. It was very easy to read and understand. I liked how the book was broken up into its four parts and then further subdivided into easy-to-manage chapters. I would highly recommend The Christian Entrepreneur to those who are seeking to start their own business or those who are looking to improve upon their own personal business. I think it would be a valuable book.