Just Enough, Just in Time

By: Bill Dalgetty

Jim Ganther of Tampa, Florida started a new company, Mosaic Interactive, in late 2006 that supports the retail automobile business. The timing of this startup became a challenge when, a year later, the auto industry began to enter its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Earlier this year, I asked Jim, a longtime friend and Christian brother, if he had experienced God’s presence in getting the new company up and running. He said, “Like breathing oxygen, all the time. Starting any new venture entails risk. Living through the risk is where I most felt the Lord’s presence. The economic downturn both increased our risk and made the Lord’s hand more visible.” Jim then shared the following examples:

“There were two periods in getting Mosaic off the ground in which I had to go without pay. This is common for entrepreneurs and the reason they are often crabby! During the first ‘payroll drought’, I suddenly started getting royalty checks for a book I had co-authored four years earlier. Over the course of the year, the royalties totaled about $30,000 - just enough, just in time.

“The second payless period was most of 2009. This time, my senior management team skipped payroll with me voluntarily. They believed in me, in the company, and in what we were trying to accomplish. It was humbling and scary. Early in 2010, we thought that we were at the end of our respective ropes. Our executive team was in the conference room starting our meeting with prayer as usual. This was not just your perfunctory grace-before-meals kind of prayer. I was pouring out my heart to the Lord, pleading for the success of the company. Just as I got to ‘Amen’— and I mean I had not quite uttered the ‘-en’ — my cell phone rang. I saw it was a large dealer- ship group we had been pursuing for three years, so I excused myself and took the call.

“The caller informed me that his company intended to sign the contract we had put in front of them on one condition. He asked whether it would be OK if they paid us up front in full. Hmmm... yes! We got a check for $140,000 in short order - just enough, just in time.

“But wait — there’s more! Over the course of nine months, we negotiated a contract for the creation of a dealership loyalty program with a data processing company. Almost immediately after signing the contract, the company fired its president — the guy who had signed our contract. The new president decided that he didn’t want to pursue the deal, so we were informed that the con- tract was terminated.

“Lawyers have a word for this: ‘breach.’ Fast-forward to one evening in April. It is 10:00 p.m. and I am watching the Tampa Bay Rays beating the Chicago White Sox like a drum. My phone chirps. I have an email. It is from the general council of the breaching company, responding to our demand letter written two weeks earlier. Bottom line: they will pay Mosaic a total of $290,000 in consideration of their breach; just enough, just in time.

“Sometimes, following God’s will takes courage, even more than we think we have. There were many times when I thought we couldn’t make it; certainly we shouldn’t have made it. Somehow though, I remained optimistic. I believed. Optimism is really another name for hope, and hope does not fail us. I am here today because God is here. His presence sustains me and sustains us. He is in this marketplace because I am in it and he is in me.”