Honor Your Father’s Business
Soon after God got us through a season of being jobless, carless, homeless and pregnant, the Lord brought my wife and I on another crazy yet amazing ride. I had just opened up my strong’s bible program and was researching the passages in Malachi 4:5-6 and Ephesians 6:2, that Pastor Che Ahn at Harvest Rock preached on. Here is what those passages say:
“5 Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” Malachi 4: 5-6
“2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2
Brad with Mayor Hahn.
As I was meditating on those passages God began to bring to mind all the times I dishonored my Dad growing up or did not honor him. I began to be overwhelmed by those memories and had to go to a back room at the place I was working. I saw all the times my parents took us out to dinner and how I never said thank you. Also, I remembered the many vacations we went on and how I never really showed gratitude. Over and over the memories came in. I thought to myself “Lord you know that I did not know You back then and I was just a kid anyway.” I heard Him say “that matters not, my word is clear that you must honor your father and mother.” I had a great relationship with my mom growing but my dad and I’s relationship was one of conflict.
I heard the Lord nudge me to write a letter thanking my Dad for all the times he took us out to dinner, for all the vacations he took us on and thanking him for working so hard to provide for us as a family. I also asked him to forgive me for taking all of that for granted. This letter really blessed my Dad he gave me a call and was super thankful for the words and he did forgive me. Then I heard the Lord say, “Brad, I want you to honor your dad more practically by offering to help him at his workplace.”
That was too much, no way that was God. After all I had been called to Youth Ministry and although I was not a youth pastor at the time, I wanted to get back to a ministry I had served in for over 3 years. Clearly, youth ministry was the high call of God, right?
The high call of God is and was actually doing what He calls you to do in any given season and in this season I was called to offer to help my Dad and the company he started back in 1968. No one else in the family was interested and I had worked there right out of college. After graduating with a business degree he hired me right out of college as an Executive Assistant. However, we butted heads way too many times. So much so that I just had to leave because it was too stressful.
Now 10 years later my dad’s company had gone from $13M in sales to $1M. He had to file for bankruptcy in one corporation but kept the smaller one open. My dad wasn’t getting any younger and I knew no one else would take on his legacy. So reluctantly I called and offered to help. To my surprise my father was very encouraging and willing to hire me. But, he was also very free and said: “the most important thing was to do what made me happy, so as long as this is what you want I can use your help.”
So the journey began. That was back in 1996. I could probably write an entire book about all the amazing things God brought us through in that season but I will just talk the climax of it all. Two years after coming on board there were issues with another family company. One that my grandfather started back in 1928. My dad was a minority shareholder in this company which was located in Los Angeles. My dad’s company that he started was located in Berkeley. The Los Angels company was called Pervo Paint Company. It had been through a lot of turmoil over the years. Each family member that ran the company seemed to use it as a personal piggy bank. As a result it never grew past $1M in equity. Although it had sales of over $13M it remained flat equity wise. After a lot of negotiating we were able to get enough stock ownership to control the board of directors. We then put a non-family member in to run the company.
After a couple more years we were getting calls that things were not going well. Employees who had been there over 20 years were threatening to leave because the person running it was being very hard to work with. My dad asked me to go down there and discretely take a look. I did and found out that it was true we needed new leadership. The board decided to hire me take over as president. I was thankful, but also very leery of stepping into this big responsibility. Thankfully God gave me a dream confirming the call the run the company. When I got there I discovered a lot of bad business practices. I remember the first management meeting in my office. I had all the department heads there. Someone had really made an awful mistake that was extremely costly. I don’t even remember what it was. My reaction was to calmly find out how we could avoid this type of mistake in the future and put in place some measures to make it so. After the meeting one of the managers came up to me and asked why I didn’t get upset. He could not understand why I did not yell and freak out on the person who messed up. I was taken back by this, but I knew that had been the prior management style. I just said, “getting angry and yelling at the person would not solve anything, the goal was to solve the problem not humiliate the person.”
Another problem was they were cheating on formula’s. They thought they were doing us a favor, since it cut costs and saved money. On paper it did save us over $500k of gross profit. However, I wanted a company that honored God so I put a halt to all that. That year instead of losing the $500k in profits we got several surprise contracts and made up for over double that.
About three years into running the company things got really bad in the market. One of our main competitors was lowering prices when costs were going up and they were extending terms to customers well beyond the standard 60 days. They were also selling to customers who we put on credit hold because they were not paying there bills. This made it really hard to collect on those customers. We had an agreement between the three major players. We all set our accounts receivable information into a third party law firm who then put it all in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet did not reveal which accounts belong to who, but we could tell which ones were ours and therefore everyone knew who owed who what.
That began to pressure our credit line and we had to put in $800k into the company as shareholders in order to keep the bank happy. We all took out loans on our homes. It was a big deal. Things looked really bad and we started to think about an exit plan. The other competitor had just come into the territory putting a plant in Bakersfield. They were good about holding the terms and being smart about pricing. I had a good relationship with the owner of that company. He was very honoring of me and likewise I really respected him. He ended up buying out the bad competitor at the end of that year. To our surprise all the customers who were with the company that got bought out came to us. What looked like the end turned out to be the beginning of our biggest growth spurt. The next year we double in sales.
By the year following that one we had tripled in sales from when I took over. Wow God is good. Although things were going well all of my dad’s retirement was dependent upon how well the company did. It seemed like the best solution for him was to sell the company so he could have plenty of liquid funds to retire on, instead of relying on a company that was now in a volatile market hit by the real estate scandal. So we started that process. In two years we ended up selling the company for a ridiculous multiple on EBITA. The sale provided my dad with more than enough money to retire on. Along with that, it also provided for myself, my brothers and my mom. I got a prophetic word back in 1994 about being a Joseph to my family. The many exploits God brought to pass from the time I chose to start to work for him to the sale of that company totally fulfilled that word. It is really amazing how answering the call of God to honor your parents can end up making such a huge difference. I shouldn’t be surprised the bible does say it is the only commandment with a promise. That promise is “so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”