Henagan Says Biblical Principles Can Be Key to Success in Business
Is business just about business? Retired billboard company owner Hank Henagan says the
best way to be successful in business is to place your values at the core of your business. “Following the business principles found in the Bible will lead to success and happiness,” Henagan told the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge last Tuesday. Henagan, who is now the Marketplace Minister at Bethany Church.
Henagan, who has taught Dave Ramsay’s Financial Peace University, says one of the first steps is getting out of debt. In the mid-1990’s, Hank Henagan was a successful small businessman. After a career at Lamar Advertising, he had started his own billboard company, which served the suburban parishes surrounding Baton Rouge. But Henagan soon realized that he had built a house of cards, because it was all based on debt — more than $700,000 in debt that would be almost impossible to repay.
Last Tuesday, Henagan told members of the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge what he did next.
Henagan’s accountant said he needed a plan. “I realized that what the Bible says is correct. In Proverbs 22:7, it says, ‘The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the servant to the lender.’ I didn’t want to be my banker’s servant anymore.” So he drove to Atlanta and attended a seminar by Larry Burkett called Business by the Book.
Burkett told him exactly what his pastor, Larry Stockstill, had said, “Let no debt remain outstanding except to love one another.”
“I developed a plan to get out of debt in eight years. I sold half my business and took a job to earn extra income. We sold our 4,000 square foot home and moved into a 600 square foot home. Our time in that little house was the best time of our lives,” he said. A few years later, he was debt-free.
“The Book says, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all things will be added to you as well,’” he said.
“It also says, ‘Lean not on your own understanding.’”
“Today 60 percent of all businesses are so dependent on borrowed money that a slight increase in interest rates would make them unprofitable.”
Henagan said the Bible is filled with instructions for business owners and that if a person follows those, he will be successful.
He said the Bible establishes six “basic minimums” that every business should meet:
• Reflect Christ in your business. Luke 16:10 says that if you are faithful in little things, you will be trusted with larger things.
• Be accountable. Establish real checks and balances. Especially be accountable to your spouse. But don’t be “unequally” yoked with a non-believer.
• Provide a quality product at a fair price.
• Honor your creditors. If you cannot pay, that is one thing. “But do not withhold from creditors that which is due when it is in your power to do it.”
• Treat employees fairly and never show favoritism.
• Treat customers fairly.
Henagan warns business owners not to allow themselves to be in “business bondage.” He said, “This is over-dedication to your work. You can’t serve God and Mammon.” Henagan said these are signs of business bondage:
• Having an air of superiority. This is wrong
• Overwork. “God grants sleep to the ones He loves.”
• Excessive use of credit and preoccupation with debt-related problems.
• A Get-Rich-Quick mentality. This is epitomized by getting involved in things you don’t know anything about, risking money, and hasty decisions.
John D. Rockefeller said the formula for financial success is simple: Tithe 10 percent, save 10 percent, and live on 80 percent.
Henagan told members of the Chamber EBR, “Winston Churchill said we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
“Remember this: If I take the attitude that the business is not mine but God’s and that I am simply His caretaker, I can have unlimited success.”
Henagan is associate pastor at Bethany Church and heads the Marketplace Ministry, which holds a luncheon for businessmen every Wednesday at Bethany’s south campus. He can be reached at 293-2100.
Membership in the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge is open to business owners in East Baton Rouge Parish. The Chamber EBR holds a business luncheon on the 4th Tuesday of each month at Café Américain on Jefferson Hwy. For more information, go to www.ChamberEBR.com.