Excerpted from The Good Book on Business by Dave Kahle
Daron has a business creating automated sales systems for the health and fitness industry. His 17-person business is completely virtual – everyone works out of their homes. He and Mario, his partner, got their first customer in 2002, and today serve 1600 locations in 15 countries.
It wasn’t easy. Mario was running the physical therapy for a hospital health care system, and Daron was running the health and fitness centers for that same system. They were both entrepreneurial types, and decided to go into business together,
Even though neither were technology people, the two decided to build what is essentially a technology business. They both wanted to create a business which reflected their faith and decided the company would tithe from the company’s revenues. They sold stock to their family and friends and launched. They acquired their first customer in 2002, a few more in 2003, and achieved their first big break in 2004.
One of their unique advantages is a patented 3-D avatar which visually shows someone their body’s potential for change. Based on an exercise and nutrition regime, the technology also predicts what those changes will be, and personally predicts the likelihood of getting diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer, and the specific reduction of those risks based on lifestyle changes.
Daron was raised in a Christian home and felt strongly that he wanted to honor God with his life. The business was a natural extension of that motivation. Daron reflects: “In business, if you are just doing it for the sake of a profit, there is no self-satisfaction, no higher purpose. It’s just another month to hit budget and hit goal – what is the meaning in all of that?”
Daron attributes his Truth@Work Christian Executive Roundtable Group for giving him insights into how to mold his operation into a God-honoring business.
“The group has given me more concrete ways to implement core values – it has given me a framework and a focus for reflecting my values.”
One example has to do with his attitude toward his employees: “I want every single employee to be better off for having been a part of my organization and knowing me, regardless of how long they are here. I want every employee to be able to say that this organization has positively impacted my life.”
Here’s an example. He had a difficult employee whose behavior was detrimental to the company. “I’m sure anyone else would have terminated him,” Daron says. But because he saw the organization as a means of impacting people for eternity, he prayed about it, talked it over with his roundtable group, and came to the conclusion that the employee had been emotionally wounded somewhere in his life. Instead of firing him, Daron drove the 3 ½ hours to his home and spent several hours with him. He first shared with the employee that he cared for him, shared his Biblical worldview with him, and then addressed the specific work issues that were problematic.
The outcome? The employee has made a dramatic improvement in all the problem areas, has become a much more effective employee, and Daron continues to pray for him.
Daron attributes his largest contract specifically to God’s doing. Here’s the story. He had been working on a large potential customer on and off for ten years and had gotten nowhere. Last year, he was attending a trade show in Chicago, and received an email from one of his customers, setting up a meeting with him and a representative of the potential customer. Four days later, Daron was in San Francisco, presenting to the company’s board. Within two weeks, he had a verbal commitment from the company to use his system. A few months later, he was in over 400 different locations for that company.
“They are a billion dollar company,” Daron says. “For them to move that quickly and completely with my little company is miraculous.”
Looking ahead, Daron is most excited about the potential to provide an opportunity to more people to work from home. “I’d love to have 1,000 moms and dads working for me who can invest in their family’s lives and not have to commute to work.”