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Today, as I was speaking with a friend, it came to me.

It pays to be honest

I have been trying to figure out, for a while, how to fund the ministry and bless church members in Kenya.  However, corruption is so rampant, it seems that everywhere I looked someone is  stealing.  Some people rob just because they are evil, but I believe most people steal just because they see no alternative.  Frankly, if your child is hungry, you will do almost anything to feed them.

Consequently, when everyone is trying to rob from everyone else, no one wins.  It is almost like the Devil is trying to crush the goodness out of people through their poverty.  Satan says, “yes you can eat, but only after you sin.”


We are kids of the king


The Earth is God’s and everything that it contains.  God made it so He owns it.  Therefore we, as children of the Most High, are heirs to our Father’s vast riches.  Moreover, if we behave ourselves in a manner worthy of His blessing we shall have all we need to live and prosper.

In our churches we have a saying that we live by and it is, “Listen, Hear, and Obey On Time.”  Meaning, we listen for God’s voice, then hear what He says, and do what He says, when He says to do it.  Today, I want to add another saying to our church and that is “Honesty Pays”.  Meaning, that if we work hard and smart, and deal honestly, we will see financial reward.

Here is how it works.  In Africa, there exists different prices from commodities in different regions.  For instance, right now potatoes in Kampala Uganda are 5000 shillings while potatoes in Kisumu Kenya are 15,000 shillings.  Between places not more than 250 kilometers apart there exists a 10,000 shilling difference in the price of this commodity.  All that needs to happen is for that vegetable to be bought, transported, and sold.


It’s a question of honesty


The problem is, “how do you do that in such a corrupt place?”  In our church based cooperative business model, what you do is develop relationships with people from different churches within our movement.  If you have a church in Kampala Uganda you find someone to work with there who will buy and ship your potatoes.  If you have a church in Kisumu you find someone to receive and sell your potatoes.  What you do is provide the capital and make the transaction through Mpesa.

When you do this, the person is Uganda makes money and the person in Kisumu makes money.  You make money by setting up and managing the trade.  Everyone wins.

In order for this to work you must make it “honesty pay.”   This means that the people must understand that it is in their best interests to act with honesty so that they will continue to be able to participate in the business.  In other words, they must believe that they will make more money, and better money, by not stealing.


It’s in your best interest to be honest


We must use people’s sense of self-interest to help them break the belief that they can’t get ahead by being honest.  Not everyone will be candidates for such ventures but I believe that enough people can be found who genuinely want to work hard and be prosperous that this idea can work.

This model can work person to person, or it can work seller to broker to seller. In the first instance, a person in one church sells a commodity, such as beans, to another person in another church who sells beans. All that there must be is sufficient price difference between their areas to warrant the transaction. When that condition exists, and there is an honesty between them both can made money.



Sometimes, though, it’s best compartmentalize the process. In this instance, the person in Uganda cannot have direct access to the person in Kisumu. Otherwise, there will be a tendency for people to want go it alone without the brokers knowledge and expertise. Therefore, in this instance it is best to only allow people from either side to deal directly with you in the middle. Many times, people not realize that it takes a lot of management skills to fund such ventures and make money from them successfully. If they jump ship, and try to go it alone, they may wreck the whole process


This can work anywhere


This type of arrangement can work on almost any commodity where there are geographic price differences. However, understand that the more perishable the item is the riskier the venture. Therefore, we recommend that commodities such as grains or legumes or manufactured goods be bought and sold since they can keep a long while until prices are optimal for sale. Other commonalities such a fish, fruits, vegetables can be sold too but there is less room for error since they can go bad quickly

Essentially, this is trade among business people in churches. That is why I call it church based cooperative business. This is geared to exploit price differences between geographic areas where we have churches established. We mandate that 10% of the profit of such ventures be given to the local churches so that the work of God, may prosper.


Honesty can be a big advantage


In a place where hardly no one is honest, honesty becomes a precious commodity and an advantage to those who practice it. In New York, Jewish diamond merchants handle millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds every day and it is all done on trust. To work within their business empire, you must be trust worthy. Any violation of that trust and you lose access to a very lucrative business. Likewise, we can use trust and honesty to our advantage to. While others must lose money to untrustworthy people they deal with, our brothers and sisters watch out for us and make sure they give us the best. In turn we give them a good price and treat them well too. This becomes our business advantage.

We believe in starting small and building slowly. Do not risk a lot of capital at first. Build the system and the business relationship first. Only risk a small about of capital on a venture until you are sure it works well and you can trust both ends of the transaction. After it is proven profitable, scale up slowing, paying attention to every part as you do. Put in place ways to limit your loss should something go wrong so that one mistake, or one dishonest person, does not sink you.


Re-invest your profit to grow your business


One particularly important point to make here is that you must not spend everything you make. Keep at least half of what you make to re-invest and grow your business. Do not assume that if things go well at first that they will always go well. Keep at least half aside so that you can weather times that things go wrong. A wise farmer always keeps back enough seed to replant next season. A wise business man or woman always keeps back enough to make their business grow too.

In conclusion, if you do such a business you must personally meet the people and set up the transactions yourself. Do not trust others to do it for you. Always go to the source and do not use other people to buy your commodity. Go to the farmer that digs the potatoes. If you want to sell fish, go to the lake and deal directly with the fishermen. Always get as close to the source as you can safely get to get the best price and the best quality. Never let anyone come between you and the source if you can possibly help it.


Slow and steady wins the race


Finally, go slow.  Going fast in business in order to make a killing is a sure-fire way to lose everything.  Take the long view and be satisfied to make money over the long-term.  Seems that everyone wants to be get rich fast, but what they don’t understand is that if you get rich quickly, but do not have the skills and knowledge to keep those riches, you can lose them fast.  When you build slowly you develop the skills to keep your wealth and use it responsibly.

God bless,

Michael King


Never Quit, Never Give Up