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TD Jakes on Pursuing Your Dreams of Starting a Business: 'You Need to Start Your Plan B While You're Still on Plan A'

Bishop Jakes took questions from small business owners at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival Money & Power Expo.
TD Jakes on Pursuing Your Dreams of Starting a Business: ‘You Need to Start Your Plan B While You’re Still on Plan A’
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

With his next book The Second Wind and new daily one-hour talk show, T.D. Jakes, coming out this fall Bishop TD Jakes has nothing but business on his mind. The beloved preacher and author spoke with small business owners at the Money & Power Expo at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival. One attendee wanted to know how she could grow a business she describes as “doing well.”

“If your business is in the early, formative stages, if it’s booming right now, that’s good but you want to expect it not to boom,” he said. “You ought to put enough money away so that if you hit a hard place, you don’t go bankrupt. Until you learn for sure what the market will bear and the pace of the business, err on the side of caution and put back, as much as possible, into your reserves.”

Bishop Jakes also advised against wearing the hats of both boss and worker bee. “If you’re doing all the work yourself, you won’t have time to plan your business. Exasperate social media. It’s free and it’s a good way to get your business out there. It’s good for you to be talking about you but it’s even better for your customers to be talking about you.”

Another attendee offered his personal scenario: he’s the owner of a bus company that transports students. The school that he works under contract with has fronted him the money for a certain number of vehicles but the buses are expensive and he would like to buy a few on his own but doesn’t have the capital. Jakes immediately took charge of the topic. “To me, it sounds like you’re wanting to be in control of your destiny,” he said.

“In order to have control of your own future and destiny, you should put together some investors,” he stated. “It isn’t always about credit and it isn’t always about going through traditional lending opportunities. Get a team of investors that’ll get behind you and create an opportunity. Your company is your business but your investors is your first line of credit. So you’re gonna pay your investors right off of the top and the rest of the profit comes to you. It’s a limited liability partnership.

“I believe with all of my heart that even those of us who have jobs, have a tendency to work that job until we run there and start a business. That’s a bad time to start a business, when you’re broke,” he said to much applause. “You need to start your Plan B while you’re still on your Plan A, when you get to B, you can control your future.”

Bishop Jakes’ new syndicated daily one-hour talk show, T.D. JAKES, will premiere September 12.

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