Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Lord is Not Slow in Keeping His Promise

It's axiomatic: If you run a business, you hate to waste time.

I used to go crazy every time I got stuck in line at the post office or ran into a traffic jam. "I can't deal with this!" a voice would scream in my head. "I've got work to do!"

But here's a verse from Peter's second letter, in the New Testament, that helped me build my business while stuck doing things I otherwise would have hated:

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness." 2 Peter 3:9

Let me explain ...

Whenever I run into unexpected "slowness," like a long checkout line at Target, I pray something this: God, thank you for helping me use this extra time to find a valuable new idea!

That idea may come quickly. Or a few days later. But a new idea to build my business always comes, because a prayer of thanksgiving like this is always answered (at least in my experience).

Here are two recent examples of "slowness" that helped my business ...

1) Two days ago, I twice tried to wash my car ... and failed.

At left is a photo of my (still) dirty car.

The first time, an accident closed the bridge across the highway to the car wash. The police turned me away, so I drove home.

After dinner, I drove back, only to arrive one minute past closing time. No joy!

As I turned the car around, I said, "OK, God. You don't want me washing this thing today. What new ideas can I come up with on the way home?"

The answer was this: Instead of reading the newspaper, I should spent 30 minutes adding new keywords to the ads in my Yahoo Search account. Which I did.

And guess what? Those keywords are on track to produce about $300 in revenue for the month -- $3,600 for the year. That's about a 15,000% ROI on a $25 car wash.

2) Back in March, I "fat fingered" a button on the ATM and withdrew $20 from the wrong account. Stupid! Now I had to enter that transaction later in Quicken, and withdraw another $20 from the right account.

So I decided to use the extra $20 to invest in something to build my business.

But what? The answer didn't come that day, so I put the $20 bill on my desk.

A few days later, the idea hit me: Buy a Rolodex file, to manage the hundreds of business cards I had accumulated over the years. A few minutes later, I bought one on Ebay for less than $20.

And that Rolodex (shown at left) has helped me add at least 20 new people to my network, because I flip through it almost every day to review the names and make mental connections. Adding new contacts to my Rolodex is as exciting now as adding new baseball cards to my collection was when I was 12.

Before, when those contacts existed solely in my cell phone, I profited far less from them. And I never would have bought that Rolodex if I hadn't decided to make productive use of a "wasted" ATM transaction.

Question: How can you use your next bit of unexpected down time to build your business?

By the way, the full text from Peter's second letter is this:

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
God is patient with you. Be patient with yourself and with any situation that looks like a waste of time. With the right attitude -- and prayer -- you can profit from it.

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