One of the foundational rules of good business says to “know your business.” Seems obvious, but it is amazing how many people who run businesses are clueless of:
- how much inventory they have
- what equipment is outdated
- whether they are profitable each month
- whether their customers are happy
Wise business men and women knows these things. If they are selling product, they must know if that product is good, up to date, and acceptable. If they deliver a service, they must know if it is being delivered on time, by skilled people, and with proper etiquette.
If a business owner ignores these things, the business will ultimately fail.
The greatest businessman who ever lived, King Solomon, has this to say:
“Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds. For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.” Proverbs 27:23
Most wealth in his day was measured in silver and gold and herds of animals. Back then, owning real estate was still in its infancy, and besides, most people lived an agrarian lifestyle. They often moved to wherever the land was most productive and could support their livestock. So anyone reading this proverb from the king would well understand his point.
The same wisdom applies today, and no less than it did thousands of years ago when it was written. The assets of one’s business may have changed, but the principle hasn’t. Understanding the condition of your business assets is key to good business.
Because nothing lasts forever. Horses and sheep get sick and grow old, and then they die. Equipment breaks down, and must be replaced. Technology gets outdated, and must be discarded or upgraded.
“…riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure…”
The point is this: just because you have a successful business today (whether it is service or products) DOES NOT mean you will have a successful business tomorrow. The quality of your products may go down, the need for them may disappear. Your stellar service team will eventually retire, or move to a competitor, or simply lose their edge.
Whatever the reason, nothing remains forever in this transient life.
It is something business people have to learn, and relearn, and relearn again, because all of us naturally get comfortable in the way things are today, and want ride on our success. And then we coast…downhill.
Solomon knew better. He knew how temporal everything was, and he lamented that reality, often. Life is transient. Business is transient. We have to regularly work to keep things up to date and accurate.
Even as the writer of Proverbs knew this painful reality, he also knew there was something eternal. Something that never grew old, and never had to be maintained. In fact, he referred to it all throughout his wisdom writings.
It is our relationship with God, our creator. He knew that there is nothing more important than how we relate to our Father, because we are eternal beings made in the image of God Himself. And to that end Solomon pointed all the messages of his wisdom: honor God and keep His commandments – it’s the one relationship which will last forever.