28 Years in Business

Candles by Joey Gannon, on Flickr

Ever thought about starting your own business? Here are some lessons I learned after 28 years in business, as I am now ready to close it. 

Today is my birthday

Blessed be the name of the Lord.  Today is my 70th birthday.  Wow, how time flies.  Twenty-eight years in business.

I thank God for every remembrance of the business to which God called me, but I find I no longer have the physical and mental energy to serve.  Just as God called me to start the business, He is now calling me to close it on April 1, 2015.

God gives and takes away

There was a man whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.  Job was one of the first characters I met in the Bible.  What a great role model.

When faced with the disaster of losing it all, Job declared…

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.

Blessed be the name of the LORD.” 

Job 1:21

I love the way Matt Redman says it in song . . .

Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

And blessed be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say, Lord
Blessed be Your name, Lord

God Gave Me Primus

I was on my way to the annual fall Chick-fil-A executive committee retreat.  It was the beginning of my fourth year on the team of a great company with great guys doing great things, but something was wrong.

God continued His calling for me to start “my own” executive search and consulting business.  I hesitated.  Leave the best company ever for possibly nothing?  I had no clients and no backers, except for maybe one –The One.  By the time I arrived at the retreat, I had decided to leave the company at the end of the year.

On April 1, 1987, I started my company at home in the bonus room over the garage.  My first client was Bernie Schramm, president of the William Cook Advertising Agency.  The plan was to grow the business and build an executive team who would buy the business.  Agency billings grew to more than $100 million with over 200 employees – the largest ad agency in Florida and one of the hottest shops in the country.  Bernie sold the business and retired.  Mission accomplished.  What a gift from God!

The business grew from just me to more, which required a corporate name.  What a blessing that God led me to the name Primus, from the Latin phrase “primus inter pares,” which means first among equals.  The company’s brochure began “Of all the equally important functions an organization must perform to reach its goals, the first of these is recruiting the right people for the leadership roles.”

The best part of my job was the people with whom I got to work.  God granted me wonderful teammates who joined me to serve more than 100 business, ministry and government organization executives and entrepreneurs.  The Lord also provided the opportunity to serve thousands of people through Crossroads Career ministry, supported in part by Primus.

Don’t get me wrong.  It was not all roses.  Some years were filled with thorns.  One year I suffered several months with absolutely zero business.  I fell to my knees, a great place for prayer and a deeper level of intimacy with God my Father and my Lord Jesus Christ.

So as you can tell, it has been a great ride up, down and all around.  Whether I was in a land of plenty or lost in the wilderness, God has been always faithful.

God Takes Away

By the way, I am not thinking retirement, but rather “re-hire-meant.”  I plan to continue helping people find jobs, careers and God’s calling through Crossroads Career Network.

Brian Ray has been writing, speaking and connecting people to Christ in the workplace for 45 years. Brian was one of three Co-Founders of Crossroads Career Services, Inc. See short video below about how it started. While continuing to volunteer and serve as a board member, he owns Primus Consulting that provides executive search advice, counsel and referrals to business, ministry and government organizations. Prior to his business and ministry work, he served the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain as VP for Human Resources and Administration. He has authored Christian resources including Mastery of Leadership, Crossroads Career Workbook, Real Success at Work, and New Job Jump Start. Brian and his wife Kristy live in the Charlotte, NC area.

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Comments 7

  1. I’m a can looking for a job in Christ where there’s no lifting. been thu out nurse homes,home health aid .want to or looking for something different.

  2. Congratulations! It’s been great to see God use you in mighty ways over the years, as well as having the honor to partner with you and Crossroads Career Network. Many continued blessings to you and Crossraods Career Network!

  3. What an inspiring story! We have an awesome God. I was laid off in October 2013 after 16 years with the firm. I’ve been looking for work for 1 1/2 years without success. Things are about to get really scary as I only have enough money for a couple more months of survival . I’ve turned it over to God. I don’t what else to do except keep praying and searching. I am attending a workshop at the The Heights Baptist Church on the 21st. God bless you with your next venture.

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