A Personal Note from Brian

Brian 2Good Morning, Small Business Revival Tribe!
I am excited about the next two weeks.  This week is Christmas and next week is the New Year.  Combined, these holidays make up a season of rest and relaxation that I am looking forward to.
We will be spending plenty of time with our immediate family and then making a trip to Pennsylvania to spend time with my extended family.
As I reflect on this past year, I am grateful.  Our family has, and continues to face, some significant challenges.  However, I am thankful that we can push the “Pause” button, focus on our family and friends, and celebrate the wonderful, life transforming, saving gift, we have received through Jesus.
Thank you so much for joining me this past year.  When I began this blog in August, I knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of Small Business owners, but I wasn’t even sure if I could write on a regular basis.  Your readership, support and encouragement has kept me going even when it was difficult.
I am excited about what is in store for BrianMininger.com and Small Business Revival in 2015.  Over the next two weeks I will not publish any new posts.  During these two weeks,  besides taking some time off with my family, I will be preparing for some big changes in the new year.
I believe these changes will help me better serve you, the small business owner.  And, I believe that together we will make significant strides to revive the small business and the small business owner in 2015.
Starting the first week of January I will begin sharing with you about the new changes that are coming.  I will give you a glimpse behind the scenes and reveal why I am making these changes.
I believe you will like the changes, but I want to hear from you.  As I roll things out in the new year, I will be asking for you feedback.  I am sure I won’t get everything perfect from the start.  However, with your help I am confident that together we can achieve great things.
Family 2Here’s one hint.  I will be launching out into a completely different medium. I believe this medium fits my skills and passions and allows this community to be more involved.
I hope you will come along for the journey.  Once again, thank you for you encouragement so far.
Together, I believe we can make 2015 a great year for Small Businesses… Including yours!
Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours!
-Brian
 
PS. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite community organization for the Give Back 2014 award

Are you Making a "New Year's resolution"?

INew Yeart’s about the time of year that people start thinking about the New Year. Traditionally people set these things called “New Year’s resolutions”.
What about you?  Do you set “New Year’s Resolutions”?  If you do, have you succeeded in the past with your resolutions?
The statistics on the success of these resolutions are grim. Personally, I don’t usually set New Year’s resolutions,
However, this year I’ve been thinking about the new year a little bit differently.  I have been wondering if maybe I should set some “New Year’s Resolutions”.  Over this past year, I have found myself developing new habits that I feel are key for healthy success.
The other day I sat down and wrote out the habits that I have begun in the last year.  I feel like these are important for me to achieve healthy success in 2015 and beyond.  Next, I will be setting goals to improve each of those habits in 2015.
Maybe this means I will be setting “New Year’s Resolutions.”  However, my goal is not to come out of the gates with a burst of energy in the new year that fades as time goes by.  My goal is to transform my life.
At age 38 I am “re-inventing myself” from an “expert” in building houses to being an expert in building healthy businesses, lives and families.  I have spent a lot of time soul searching over the last year. I truly believe this is God’s calling for me over the next season of life.  However, I will not achieve my destiny if I do not experience a transformation of my life.  I cannot move forward and stay the same.  To move forward I must grow.

[Tweet “Nothing of significance is achieved without personal growth!”]

They say it takes 30 days of regular action to establish a habit in our lives. Therefore, rather than setting a New Year’s resolution to do something for a whole year, I’m going to set a goal to do something for 30 days. Then, when the 30 days are up, I will have a habit that will carry throughout 2015 and beyond.
It is easy to come out the gate blazing, it is much harder to stay the course. It is the habits and the actions we take every day that make up our lives.  At the end of lives, our legacy will be composed much more of the habits we practiced, than the exciting new years resolutions we set and failed to keep.

What habits are key to your success?

What habits do you want to develop in the new year?

Why do you want to develop those habits?

Here are some of my habits that I want to develop in 2015.

Share yours in the comments. I will get it started by sharing my mine.

– Brian

My Prayer for Your Business Today

Photo Credit - Harley Pebley

Photo Credi – Harley Pebley


This morning as I sit at my computer to write, my goal is the same as it always is.  I want to empower, encourage and inspire small business owners, just like you.  I want to see the revival of you and your business in a way that blesses your life, your family and your community.

As I write these posts for you each week, I pray for you, your business and your family.  This morning I felt impressed to share that prayer with you.

Heavenly Father,
I pray that you would bless my readers and their businesses today.  
I pray that you would pour out your Spirit on them in abundance.
I pray that where they are discouraged they would be encouraged.
I pray that where they are fearful they would have courage
I pray that where they are weak they would gain strength
I pray that where they are uncertain they would find wisdom
I pray that where they have need they would receive help
I pray that where they are threatened they would find safety
I pray that any scarcity would be turned into abundance
More than anything I pray that you would bless them so that they can be a blessing to others.  I ask for an abundant blessing of wisdom, skill, relationships, finances, clients, influence, positive impact, connections, opportunities and vision.  AND, I pray that they would share out of the abundance they have received.
I pray that our lives, our families and our communities will be transformed for the better because of our positive impact.  May we do the things that matter, say “no” to the things that don’t and fulfill the destinies that you created us for.
We ask these things in Jesus name,
Amen


 
If this has been an encouragement to you, I ask that you “pay it forward” by praying this prayer for someone else. Running a small, local business is hard work and we need all the prayer we can get.
Finally, I have added a Prayer Request tab to my website.  If you need specific prayer for your business you can submit your request there.  It is completely confidential, but I promise that me and my family will pray for you.
Have a blessed day,
– Brian

Reflections on Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014So yesterday was Thanksgiving…
We had a wonderful time together here as a family.  Today we head to my parents home and tomorrow we are at Victoria’s.  I am so thankful for our many blessings.  There are things I long for that haven’t been yet been realized.  But, overall, I am extremely grateful.
These last few months have been a journey in “Gratitude.”  In some ways, I think this is the greatest lesson that God is teaching me right now.  Life still has it’s struggles, but I am overcoming the struggles with gratitude.
Gratitude changes perspective… As I was reading The Noticer last evening… he kept talking about “perspective.”  Perspective is how we view things.  Sometimes our perspective is crystal clear and we understand the truth, and other times our perspective is warped and we are missing all the blessings that we have.
I have come to the conclusion that gratitude is the only way to enjoy life, grow and fulfill my destiny.  Even if gratitude results in an overly optimistic view of reality, I am better off with gratitude than having a negative view of life.
On Wednesday in my blog post, I shared that the hidden secret of Thanksgiving is that it could transform your life.  I also challenged you to speak your gratitude.

Therefore, here is my thankfulness list in no particular order.  Some of these items are big some are small, but for all of them I am thankful.

  • My amazing wife who always speaks well of me in public
  • My four daughters who fill my life with love and laughter
  • My savior Jesus Christ who set me free from the bondage of sin so that I can fulfill my destiny
  • The opportunity to help others through coaching small business owners
  • The incredible opportunity that the web has opened up for ordinary people like me to get our message out
  • Trager Brother’s coffee that is great to drink and take care of the farmers
  • Our miracle foal, Amari, that was born and survived even when the vet thought she wouldn’t
  • Extended family that loves and encourages one another
  • Friends who have stuck with me through good times and bad
  • A warm home on a cold morning as I write this post
  • A garden that produced abundance and filled our pantry with canned goods
  • Material blessings that allow me to eliminate more that 50% of the clothes in my closet and still have more than enough
  • Strength and good health for me and my family
  • The accomplishing of a lifelong goal to write a book (first draft complete)
  • All of you, my readers, who have supported and encouraged me on this journey.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to participate in the revival of the small business and the revival of YOU, the small business owners.  I am looking forward to a great year as I get to see more and more lives, families and businesses transformed.  Thank you for supporting me here at the beginning.

What are you thankful for this year?

Share your “list” in the comments.  Together we will encourage each other.

 

  • Brian

5 Life Lessons I Learned From Johnnie Barr – A Tribute

Johnnie BarrYesterday, I received the shocking and sad news that my former business coach Johnnie Barr had passed away unexpectedly from surgery complications.  I am still in shock trying wrestle with the all of the questions.  Johnnie meant a lot to me and my family.  He stood by me and my family when my construction business failed 5 years ago.  I always knew I could call him and he would listen to me and encourage me… even after I was no longer able to pay him.
Johnnie was the one who showed me the positive impact that a business coach could have on someone’s life.  He is the one who inspired me to help and coach small business owners today.
Today, as I grieve, I also reflect on what I learned from Johnnie.  Here are some of the lessons I learned from Johnnie.  I share them as a tribute to him and as a way of passing on his legacy.

5 Life Lessons I learned from Johnnie Barr

  1. Relationships Matter – I am not sure if I have met anyone else who made more meaningful connections than Johnnie.  He really cared about people and it showed.  Whether it was at a business meeting or  a phone call, he always had time for people and really sought to listen.
  2. Enjoy Life – Johnnie enjoyed every day.  He had an energetic smile that was infectious.  He loved to laugh and have fun.  He could make the most mundane budget discussions enjoyable.
  3. Believe in People – Johnnie was a very optimistic man.  But more than that, he believed in people.  He believed in people that didn’t believe in themselves.  He gave hope and encouragement to those struggling and helped them get up and move forward.
  4. Keep Moving Forward – Difficult things happen…  Difficult things happened to me.  Johnnie always encouraged me to not give up and keep moving forward.  He helped me learn from the past, but not get stuck in it.
  5. Think Critically – Johnnie was very good at analyzing things.  He asked a lot of questions, sought out the facts, and used critical thinking to to determine best steps.  From him I learned to not rush into something without giving thought to my steps.

IMG_3100There are many other things I learned from Johnnie, such as how to calculate “revenue per man hour”, but these are the life lessons that mean the most to me.  I am thankful that I had the opportunity to share life with him and learn from his wisdom.
My heart is heavy this morning, but I am going to choose to apply what I learned from Johnnie.  I will connect with people, enjoy life and keep moving forward.  I also choose to pass on what I have learned to someone else.  Johnnie shared generously of his wisdom, and I desire to live the same way.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family this today.  You can find all the funeral arrangements at Coffman Funeral Home.

If you knew Johnnie, what have you learned from him?  

If not, who has made a significant impact on your life?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Do You Believe in Abundance? (Part 1)

Photo Credit - Alice Popkorn

Photo Credit – Alice Popkorn


(The Following is an excerpt from the book I am working on about creating a positive impact business)

The rising tide lifts all the boats – John F. Kennedy

How do you view the world in which you live and do business?  Your perspective on that world and the opportunities that it contains will determine how you respond to it.  AND, your response to it will determine the results you receive.
 


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#smallbiz #abundance”]If we want to make giving a cornerstone of our business philosophy and make a positive impact, then we must have an abundance mindset.[/inlinetweet]


However, many times the opposite belief, a scarcity mindset, rules in our heads.  We will never accomplish our destiny with a scarcity mindset.


Merriam-Webster defines scarcity as, “a very small supply: the state of being scarce.”


Scarcity is also seen in the economic principle that says that if you spend money on one thing you can’t spend it on something else.  You have a finite supply of money and therefore saying yes to one thing means saying know to something else.  While this is a good principle to live by for personal budgeting, it is a destructive way to approach business.
Ultimately, it is true that there is a finite limit to the money and resources in the world.  However, that limit is so great that it is of no consequence.  Therefore, we live in a world of abundance, and we need to approach life and business from that perspective.  For all practical purposes there is no limit to the opportunities we can seize, the relationships we can enjoy, or the money we can make.


Merriam-Webster defines abundance as, “a large amount of something: and abundant amount of something.”


See the difference?  The scarcity world view says that there is a small supply of the things that I need.  Therefore, I hoard and hold on tightly to what I have for fear that there might not be any more in the future.  This view strangles opportunities and destroys relationships.  It puts me in a defensive positon of protecting what I have rather than an offensive position of moving forward and creating more wealth.

People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me. The more principle-centered we become, the more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives.” –  Stephen R. Covey

What Holds You Back From Believing in Abundance?

Share your thoughts in the comments

-Brian

You Can Break loose and Take Action

What prevents you from taking action?  Nothing gets accomplished without action.  All of our grand ideas and plans, our dreams and visions, and even our values, fall the the wayside without action.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=”#successquote #smallbusiness”]”The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena” – Teddy Roosevelt[/inlinetweet]


 

Photo Credit - Celestine Chua

Photo Credit – Celestine Chua


I know this struggle all to well.  For years I have desired to accomplish the goal of writing a book.  However, I have never taken action until now.  My list of excuses was lengthy.

  • I am not a writer
  • I could never come up with that many words
  • I don’t know what to write about
  • I don’t have time
  • No one would buy it
  • It is just a waste of time
  • Successful authors are more talented than me
  • I don’t have anything of value to say
  • Everything has been said before

And the list went on and on…  Ultimately none of these excuses really held any water.  Every person who has ever written a book has faced them.  For me the big one was, “I am not a writer.”  Over the last two months I have been taking action to overcome this self limiting belief.  The only way to do that was to start writing and start telling people I was a writer.  This has been difficult, but I just passed two months of writing a blog post three times a week.  This is a huge accomplishment for me.
Along the way I learned something.  I actually enjoy writing.  It is not as difficult as I previously thought.  I just have to do it. I am excited to publicly share that I am working on my first book.  Therefore, I am now accountable to complete the project.
The title is still in process, but here is an excerpt from the introduction.


Small businesses are struggling.  Local businesses, particularly retail, struggle even more.  The pressure of big box stores and e-commerce have made a huge dent in the marketplace.  We all know the stories of local merchants, contractors, etc. closing up shop when the “big boys” come to town.  
How do small local businesses survive and thrive?  How do they carve out a unique place in the marketplace?  How do they leverage their uniqueness into success?  And, finally how do they turn success into significance and really make a difference.
The answer is Giving.  It is time for small business owners to realize that the answer to how they succeed and how they make the world a better place is the same thing.  In order to succeed they must give, and if they are successful then they have a responsibility to give back.  It is like a never ending cycle.  AND, the cycle starts with giving back, not success. 
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
That is what this book is about?  How do you create a business that gives you the lifestyle you really want and makes a significant positive impact?  I will show you how  5 simple values integrated into the core of your business can greatly increase your impact, success and personal satisfaction.  We will talk about some potential pit falls, and we will learn from those that are already doing this. 


 
I appreciate all the support and encouragement you have given me on this journey.  My desire is to help passionate but overworked small business owners lead and grow their businesses so they can increase their positive impact and gain the freedom to live the lifestyle they really want.  Writing this book is another step in the journey.

What is holding you back from taking action?  If I can do this I am sure that you can break loose and take action that moves your toward your goals

Share your thoughts in the comments below

  • Brian

When you have to Drop Back and Punt

The following is a post that I published over on our BlackberryCreekFarm.org page.  This is an update on our Farm that relates to some initiatives that I launched earlier this year.  Sometimes things change in our lives and direction.  Hopefully my story will inspire you to honestly face direction changes in your own life.

  • Brian

Photo Credit - Paul Dineen

Photo Credit – Paul Dineen


Do you ever have those moments in life where you have to “Drop back and Punt”?  Times when you have to change direction, stop moving forward with something, or admit you were wrong?  Sometimes circumstance dictate it, other times, you realize that maybe you moved forward prematurely.
How does it make you feel?  If you are like me, it doesn’t usually feel very good.  However, from my experience, it is often necessary.  Since I am one who is always pressing forward into new territory, I may be more prone than others to this experience.  Even though I have been through this before, I still don’t like it.  It is easy to feel embarrassed or feel like I failed. Admitting it may be the hardest part of all.
For me, this is one of those times where I am finding I need to drop back and punt. Early this spring I pushed forward with an expanded “Vision” and plan for our family farm to become a “Farm on a Mission.”  I shared this through our website, video, Facebook page, emails, and conversations with friends and family.  However, after a few months of working in this direction it has become clear to me that now is not the time for this vision to become reality.
There are a lot of reasons I reached this decision.  One of the main reasons for this decision is that I realized some key things; I do not have the experience, time, support base, and financial resources to accomplish this vision in order for it to be successful and sustaining for my family.   I feel that to continue forward at this time would put undue strain on me personally and our family, a strain that I do not believe is healthy or God honoring.
I have also come to the realization that I need to bring some additional focus to my life, family and career.  I am by nature a visionary and creator and it is easy for me to get into many worthwhile and good things.  However, over the last year God has been calling me to make changes to my life and learn to live within the healthy limits He has set for me.
Therefore, for that reason, and for the sake and health of myself and my family, I know that I need to bring a more solid focus to my career and activities.  This focus will be critical to my continued health and direction for my family.
As I said above, over the last year, God has been calling me to examine my life.  In the last few months I have prayed, journaled and shared with my friends and family what God has been speaking to my heart.  During this time the goal has been to determine what is really important to me, how I want to live the next stage of my life and how God would want to see me walk that out.
During this process, I realized that my desire has always been to help people.  That was the root of the vision for Blackberry Creek Farm and while it is a good vision, I now realize I need to focus these efforts in an area where I have greater experience than I do with farming at this time.  In realizing these things, after continued discernment and prayer, I feel I am to direct my efforts to my Coaching and Consulting business for Small Business owners and individuals who are looking to make a career change.  My desire remains the same as it did with the farm, in that I want to help people, especially those who find themselves in a place of needing to start over after loss or significant changes.  My heart is to “help launch ordinary people into their destiny” by utilizing the talents and skills I have developed and obtained from being a business owner and leader over the years.
My hope is that sharing this will help someone who is at one of those crossroads of life and needs to make a change.  Sometimes, the best decision is to “drop back and punt,” preparing to go on the offense at another time.
Thank you to all of the people who supported us in the vision of the farm.  We appreciate your grace and understanding that sometimes life causes us to have to stop and change directions.  We hope that we can continue to count you as friends as we journey this life together.

Have you every had to change direction? How did you make that change?

Share your thoughts in the comments below

My Journey

Don't give upI am a former bi-vocational pastor and contractor.  I was the President and founder of Home Innovations, a Design/Build remodeling firm based in Fishersville, Virginia. We provided design, construction, and fine furnishing services for the home. Beginning in 2010, I pastored a new Heartlink Network church plant in Nelson Co. Virginia called Riverbank.
For years my career and work has centered around construction.  I have always enjoyed working with my hands, but honestly I found my way to construction by default.  I had spent time in summer jobs (that paid better than fast food), church youth group mission projects, and one year serving with Habitat for Humanity, and family projects and learned some skills.  So when I got married, and I needed to provide for our family, I naturally went into construction because it was the only marketable skill that I had.  Through the years I moved from general laborer, to carpenter, and then from foreman to contractor / business owner.
Then in 2009, the business that I had founded and ran, Home Innovations, failed in bankruptcy.  It was one of the most difficult seasons of my life.  There were a lot of reasons for what happened, some outside of my control.  But, I was the one leading.  I was the one “at the helm when the ship went down.”  I was embarrassed, felt like a failure, and felt like I had let everybody down.  The affects were far reaching, hurting my employees, suppliers, friends and family.  For month’s I struggled with feelings of failure, worthlessness, and hopelessness.  Over the next few years I went through the slow process of healing and rebuilding my career and life.  Therefore, I have a special place in my heart for those who are trying to get back on their feet after a crisis event.  I know first hand how difficult those seasons of life can be.
Ever since I was young, I have sensed a call to pastor and help people.  I studied pastoral ministry at Liberty University and then received my Biblical Studies Certificate from Cornerstone Bible Institute.  My wife and I spent a few years in youth ministry until our twins were born and we shifted our focus to our young family.  In 2008 we started sensing a call to pastoral ministry again and began the process of relocating our family to Nelson County, VA .  Over the next 5 years we gave leadership to the establishment of the Riverbank church. During  this time, I also worked bi-vocationally as the Production Department Manager for Integrity Home Contracting in Charlottesville, VA.
In 2013-14 God led me on a journey to personal and relational health that resulted in me resigning from both Integrity Home Contracting and the Riverbank church.  During this season I worked as independent construction consultant and business consultant for construction companies.  I also took this time to rest, spend time with my family, and discern my direction and God given destiny.
As a result of this journey, I am launching this blog as the first step of encouraging ordinary people to fulfill their destinies through writing, coaching and speaking.

Introductions

Family 2If you are going to hang out around this blog… then I figured you should know a little bit about me.
I grew up in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  My youth was spent playing in the woods, building forts, playing baseball and participating in the the social circle of our church.
When I was a teenager, I had a life changing encounter with God at Highland Retreat Camp, and I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ.  It was the best decision I ever made.
I met my beautiful bride, Victoria, during my high school years at Eastern Mennonite HS in Harrisonburg, VA.  We are both pretty strong willed and had to “chill out” a little before we started dating after high school.  We were married shortly after in 1996.  We have four amazing daughters (Twins in the middle).  They are teenagers and learning to spread their wings.  I love this season of family life.
I enjoy working with my hands, being outdoors, carpentry projects, gardening and homesteading.  I believe in simple, sustainable living and taking care of the wonderful earth that has been entrusted to us.
I love sports and cheering on my favorite teams…. the Atlanta Braves, Liberty Flames Football, and UVA Cavaliers basketball.
And finally, after all these years in construction, I still like my pick-up truck and power tools.  And, I am most comfortable in my jeans and a baseball cap!
I will share more about my career path in an upcoming post.

  • Brian

So, Who are you?  Introduce yourself in the comment section below.