The Christian Entrepreneur: Dream, Plan, Execute, And Grow, by Brock Shinen
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Reading this book was a bit of an odd experience for me personally. Part of that springs from the fact that the author assumes a great deal about the seriousness of the reader’s goals in being an entrepreneur as well as their resources in doing so. This book is really aimed at someone who has a substantial amount of cash and a reasonably serious business plan for a specific business that they want to run. The author does not attempt to discuss why it is that someone may want to become an entrepreneur but instead talks to the reader as if they are already engaged in some serious plans about a specific business plan and that they are potential clients of his that he might work with as a legal adviser. There is serious legal advice included here as well as a tough-minded approach to Christian entrepreneurs about using such business efforts as a way of succeeding both on the merits of being businessmen as well as being Christians and living up to the obligations and expectations of both worlds. This is by no means an easy task, and the author is unsparing in his criticism of those who wish to claim that they are Christian entrepreneurs as a way of justifying worse business acumen than the heathen norm.
This book is a bit more than 200 pages long and it is divided into four parts (hinted at in the subtitle) as well as two appendices. The book begins with a prologue that opens with the disappointment that can often come from the problems with Christian businesses. After that the author discusses dreaming (I) with chapters on the making of a good idea (1) and the foundation that turns it into a viable business (2). After that comes a discussion of planning (II) that includes the business plan (3), budgeting for fiscal soundness (4), building the right team (5), and determining whether one wants to run a for-profit or not-for-profit concern (6). The next step is executing that plan (III), which includes chapters on engaging customers (7), and dealing with the legal landscape (8) of one’s business, as well as solving disputes (9), and negotiating (10). The last step is growing (IV), which includes chapters on values (11), growing pains (12), and dealing with being a Christian entrepreneur in a secular world (13). The book then contains an epilogue with ten commandments for the Christian entrepreneur, two appendices that contain a sample business plan (i) and sample budget worksheet (ii), as well as acknowledgements and some information about the author.
Ultimately, this author is seeking to provide a lane that instructs would-be or current entrepreneurs in how to adopt competitive business practices that focus on the quality of goods and services without being unscrupulous in nature or bringing shame upon one’s Christian reputation in a way that the contemporary church is ill-equipped to do since business instruction is such a rare part of Christian instruction. I would personally be interested in seeing how Christian entrepreneurs view this book’s advice, as it is likely that what I consider as being a bit tough-minded of an approach might be considered by them to be an obvious truism that is obvious to the point of near-cliche. And in looking at this book I really think that the author is viewing himself as delivering some perhaps harsh-sounding but obvious truths to those engaged in being in business, seeking to present various ways that people can deal with the resources necessary as well as the contrast between for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. This book certainly gives plenty of food for thought.