I was recently approached with a need and opportunity to carry out a significant upgrade to our business facility. While the long term results are positive, the significant upgrade comes with a significant price tag. Assuming the need was real and the funds available, what would you expect my answer to be?
Well, if you have made any of these types of decisions yourself, you are probably saying that you do not yet have enough information to make a solid decision, right? I would agree, so let me fill in some of the blanks.
First, the Details
The upgrade in question is the replacement of the entire lighting system for our display lots. With our group of automobile dealerships, we have a display area that contains 600-700 vehicles at any given time. The lighting system that currently covers this area is aged and inefficient. We also have frequent issues with malfunctioning timers and security lights.
The need is real, but at the same time our current lighting system IS working. We are not in a situation where we are being forced to make a decision. We could continue on this path for the foreseeable future if necessary.
As for the cost of the upgrade, it is over six figures, which represents a significant investment for a business our size. Regardless of our method of payment, this investment and its associated depreciation will increase our expenses for a period.
Reaching a Decision
What would you say if I told you at this point that I declined to complete the upgrade due to the immediate costs involved?
Those of you with any knowledge of the costs and energy savings associated with LED lighting systems would probably say that I made a poor decision. You are probably aware that my utility expense would likely be cut in half from the moment the new lights came on. You would probably encourage me to take the time to look out further into the future and compare long-term costs between the two systems, right?
If this was your thought, you are correct. When looking at this lighting system upgrade from a 30 day perspective, it makes no sense at all. The numbers do not even come close to adding up. When you extend your perspective to one or two years, the numbers get closer, but the current system is still cheaper.
When you finally look even further, expanding your perspective to 3-5 years and looking for long term results, this lighting system upgrade begins to make sense. For this reason, I actually did make the decision to move forward and upgrade the system. I did this because it is common sense in business to take a longer view when making decisions.
How Far Ahead are You Looking?
If this is the case, then why is it so difficult sometimes for us to see things from an eternal perspective? Why do we so often make business decisions from a short-term perspective, refusing to use our business as a platform for ministry due to the short-term costs?
If it made sense to ignore the 30 day picture and instead focus on the long term results between the two lighting systems, why would anyone do the opposite when it comes to your faith and business? Why would anyone focus on the fear of short-term financial loss or lawsuit or whatever else keeps them from integrating their faith into the business?
When it comes to our faith in this world, we are told to maintain an eternal perspective. We are told that this earth is not our home, but that we are strangers here. The Bible says that we are to focus on God’s promises for our eternal safety and be willing to accept loss here and now.
We make these decisions every day in our business dealings. These decisions seem easy in context, right? So why is it so tough to consider long term results and make the same kinds of decisions regarding our faith in God?
Focus on Long Term Results
My hope and desire is to see Christian business owners everywhere begin to look at their businesses from an eternal perspective, using them as tools to point others toward an eternity with God. I believe God wants us to stop looking at them with eyes focused only on the 30 day results, instead making decisions that bring significant eternal results.
Pray today that God would open your eyes to how you can expand your perspective. Ask Him to show you how to begin leveraging your business for these eternal returns.
Are you already viewing your business from an eternal perspective?
How do you make decisions like this when it comes to cost & benefits over 100 years?
Do you struggle with some of the shorter term costs of integrating your faith into your business?