Business Done Right

During my travels last week, I had the honor of meeting one of the most inspiring individual entrepreneurs I have ever talked with.  His name is Leonel Herrera, and he has thrived in an environment far more difficult than your everyday entrepreneur.  He has done so because of his strong principles, and the fact that he never waivers from them.  More about that in a minute.Leonel lives and operates his business from Pena Blanca, Honduras.  Pena Blanca is approximately one and a half hours south of San Pedro Sula, which is the most dangerous city in the world outside of a war zone, and is smack in the middle of a country plagued by drug trafficking and all of the criminal activity that comes along with it.  With only the equivalent of about $500.00 to his name, he opened a small hardware store, which in only ten years, he has grown to a power house in the region, employing over 165 people.  He is very successful, and has much to show for it.  However, his real success is his impact on the community and the region in which he lives, which results in a happiness and degree of hope that is absolutely infectious.

Leonel lives and operates his business from Pena Blanca, Honduras.  Pena Blanca is approximately one and a half hours south of San Pedro Sula, which is the most dangerous city in the world outside of a war zone, and is smack in the middle of a country plagued by drug trafficking and all of the criminal activity that comes along with it.  With only the equivalent of about $500.00 to his name, he opened a small hardware store, which in only ten years, he has grown to a power house in the region, employing over 165 people.  He is very successful, and has much to show for it.  However, his real success is his impact on the community and the region in which he lives, which results in a happiness and degree of hope that is absolutely infectious.

Leonel’s belief is that in order to be successful, you must have incredibly high standards, and you must be connected in community with your customers, your employees, and the surrounding community.  Everything he does fits within and is directed toward fulfilling his organizing goals and principles.  He employs people who would otherwise be on the streets with no homes, and he takes the time to teach them about budgeting and planning for the future.  He pays his employees fairly, and incentivizes their success by providing opportunities for career and income growth, while holding each of his employees accountable to a high moral standard.  He has a personal relationship with almost everyone in his community, and cannot pass through the city center without talking to and shaking hands with too many folks to count.  He is spearheading a plan to bring together all of the many communities surrounding Lago Yojoa, one of the single greatest natural resources in Honduras, to protect the lake, for the purposes of protecting employment opportunities, farming and the great potential for eco-tourism in the area.  Because of the time, effort and money he generously puts into caring for his community and its resources, he is richly blessed in friends, and has greatly profited.

We can all learn a lot from Leonel.  Doing business in a principled way leads to a type of long term success that absolutely includes wealth, as it should, but also includes personal fulfillment, the joy of better and firmly footed relationships, and provides customers and potential customers with the kind of trust that makes them want to do business with your company.

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