Staying faithful sounds nice. But when your values are put to the test, it’s a completely different story. Henry shared about a time when his personal values, as well as the values of their business at Bandwidth.com, were put to the test and how they responded....
In our first year of business we had 22 employees and $64,000 in revenues. We were running out of money fast—we were strapped to say the least. Right in the midst of this time, an incredible deal came in to the company. The deal was for an OC3 circuit, which in internet lingo is a very big internet pipe, so closing this deal would result in a huge pay day. It was exactly what we needed at the time.
We had, and still have, a big rule in dealing with new customers—they couldn’t be from the adult entertainment business. This, of course, put us at a pretty distinct disadvantage because that group is by far the largest relative consumer of internet access of any industry, and that would’ve made them a lucrative client. If we had been able to do business with them we would have had far less financial stress in the early days.
With that in mind, the company buying the OC3 looked clean, the sales rep checked them out, and they passed muster. We were on our way to turning the financial corner. We closed the deal. There were lots of high fives. And then the problem...
In the provisioning of the circuit, we came to find out the corporation that bought the circuit was merely a holding company for other companies in the, you guessed it, adult entertainment business. The big dilemma for us wasn’t whether we would provision the circuit and get the pay day—we knew that our faith and our values would not allow that—but would we pay the sales rep a commission for a deal that we ultimately never delivered.
We decided to cancel the deal with the company and determined that the rep had done the requisite amount of diligence on the deal and paid him his commission. It was the lowest cash point in our business. But looking back it was also the very point from which our company turned around, becoming over the 5 years of 2003-2007 the 4th fastest growing privately held company in the country according to INC Magazine.
Now, this isn’t a story of how sticking with your values guarantees future success. Because it doesn’t. But it taught us that integrity—the aligning of your thoughts, words, and actions—is the only way to live. Compromising our values was a huge temptation, especially in light of all the financial stress, but it’s not the way God calls us to live.
Like this verse from 1 Samuel 26:22 says, “The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness.” This isn’t a monetary reward God is offering. It’s a promise that He will smile when He sees our faithfulness. And is there anything better than that?