Published On: Mon, May 6th, 2019


By Rick Boxx

Have you heard about the warning against “putting all your eggs in one basket”? This applies for much of life, especially the business world. Whether it means one large customer at a for-profit company, or a single major donor for supporting a not-for-profit entity, when your revenue comes significantly from one source, your organization flirts with danger. Real trouble can arise if anything goes wrong with that relationship.

Sometimes small businesses open with one primary account. Things go well – sales are high and cash is flowing steadily – until one day, for whatever reason, that single account is lost. Suddenly the stream of revenue that had seemed so dependable is lost and everyone is scrambling to survive.

Another pitfall of having too much dependence upon one customer is the influence they might have. Whenever your revenue becomes overly reliant upon a single customer or donor, you can find yourself feeling pressured to make unhealthy business concessions. It can be flattering to have one source that invests so heavily into the work you are doing. However, that can present the temptation to make decisions focused on accommodating that source, rather than remaining faithful to your mission – especially if it could jeopardize that key relationship.

What is the solution? The answer is fairly simple: Diversification. My experience and experts would confirm this, is that it is best to seek to limit any one customer at 15 percent or less of your total revenue. It may be hard to say “no,” especially when the potential for a very significant revenue stream is presented. But making a determination to “spread the wealth” by cultivating a wider variety of resources may be better than adverse consequences that could result from losing a single customer that comprises a majority of your business.

This is another example of the great, timeless wisdom we can find in the Bible. King Solomon addressed this particular issue when he advised, “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth”(Ecclesiastes 11:2). Another translation states it this way: “But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.”

There are other reasons for diversifying our work – as well as our finances. One is the desire, as God’s ambassadors, to have a broader impact in our communities, our cities, and even around the world. The psalmist writes about “the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands…. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever…” (Psalm 112:1,8-9).

This passage talks specifically about seeking to meet the needs of people who are disadvantaged, but the principle holds true. We can serve more effectively – and be used by God in more fruitful ways – when we diversify the use of our time, energy and resources.

Which brings to mind Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. It speaks of three individuals entrusted with their master’s resources while he was gone. Two of the servants wisely invested the money and gave their master a substantial return. The third simply hid what had been entrusted to him, and when the master returned home, he had no increase to offer. If we are to grow – as businesses, as well as in service to God – we need to diversify, and grow stronger in the process.

Copyright 2019, Unconventional Business Network Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments emails, His latest book, Unconventional Business,provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

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