Two key things make this clause very important – Business & Christian! The underlying principle throughout this talk is VISION.
A business is defined as “An organization or economic system where goods and services are exchanged for one another or for money. Every business requires some form of investment and enough customers to whom its output can be sold on a consistent basis in order to make a profit” by www.businessdictionary.com
What makes a business is that;
- There are Goods/Services to be sold or to be exchanged for something be it money, favor other goods & services.
- There is a form of investment either of time or money. These are the 2 types of investment, your business needs to succeed and everyone has at least 1 of these 2 to spare. If you don’t have time for your business and you don’t have money to get you that time in the form of employees, you are not likely to succeed.
- There are customers; people who believe in your business enough to give you their money or time in exchange for your product/service. Getting customers is the test of every business. Before you can be certified to be in business, you need customers!
- There is some form of profit. A business is only a business because the benefit of having it is more than the cost of doing it. A business that doesn’t make profit is not a successful business. Profit can be in form of money or satisfaction etc.
Needless to say for you to have a successful business; you need to have these 4 things going for you!
According to the Bible, a Christian is someone who responds to God’s calling, repents of his sins, is baptized, receives God’s Holy Spirit and lives as Jesus lived. “Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
4 key things define a Christian;
- After being born again; are your ways changed?
- Are you filled with and led by the Holy Spirit?
- Are you baptized in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit?
- Do you live for God and obey his word?
Section 1: STARTING A BUSINESS
Just like everything a Christian does; the involvement of prayer can’t be understated in starting a business. “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. – Psalm 127:1”
You should seek God’s face before you venture to start for;
- For wisdom (clarifying your why; to start a business or not?)
- For direction (which business to start?)
- For help (people, resources, time etc.)
There are so many business in the world and many are starting and dying per day. What makes a business stands out is if it started right. Isn’t it better to start a business using the greatest weapon that ever existed? In the place of prayer, you can know the mind of God about what business/ industry and not follow trends which can change or fade at any time.
The whole tenet of business or what makes a businessman is their ability to see opportunity where others can’t. A businessman is almost a prophet; a good businessman should be able to study trends and identify which business is dying and which is rising.
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. – Gen 1:2” In the midst of darkness and seeming impossibilities and emptiness; God saw into this darkness and knew a world could be made out of it. He created based on the vision he had in mind for the world. A businessman should never allow trends and current happenings dictate to him; this is why you see businessmen going into businesses that seem to have an unclear direction or that is laden by impossibilities.
A businessman is a visionary! Businessmen have the ability to foretell the future of industries based on their innovations & inventions. Steve Jobs is an example of this; he went into business when the telecommunications industry was still very young and almost non-existent. Bill Gates had the vision of a computer on every home when the idea of Personal Computers was a strange thought.
What is your business vision? What can you see?
I like to say that an idea is the most powerful thing in the world. Everything around began from an idea, a thought in someone’s head! How amazing is that? That everything you now see came from someone’s mind
What’s your idea?
A business is built on and around an idea. Ideas come from multiple sources; no one idea exists alone Click To Tweet. Read more on where ideas come from by clicking this link.
Not all ideas deserve to be built into businesses; imagine if all the ideas that pass through your head becomes businesses. To determine which idea to pursue; among other things you need to answer 2 important question;
- Is it viable? The viability of a business speaks to its ability to stay alive. So to assess your business viability, you need to ask yourself is “ Will this business still be alive in 5 years based on current trends?, Will something coming up in the next 3 years affect the life of this business?” You need to consider laws, standards that may affect your business,
- Is it feasible? Can you run this business efficiently with the current resources available to you? Is there a ready market for this business or would you have to create one? Are the raw materials needed for this product available and accessible to me at a reasonable price? What’s the competition like in this industry/market?
Your idea shouldn’t be centered or fixated on a specific product/service. You should be able to trim down to the core of your idea – what are you inherently providing to your customers. Nokia for example is in the communications business and they were originally a paper company; soon after they were able to perceive that paper communication was quickly going out of fashion and were able to switch to the phone making business as quickly as possible and remained relevant and in business. Your idea should be one that can take any life form as needed per time thus your idea shouldn’t be stuck or built around a product/service.
What Life form will your business take?
You are your No. 1 investor.
Many businessman fail in this area a lot. After coming up with a major idea, they lay still because they can’t find an investor. An idea is a seed and carries in itself the ability to become a tree of wealth! No one will invest in you if you don’t invest first in yourself. Click To Tweet Here are some ways to invest in your business today.
- Invest at least 1 hour per day
- Embrace the lean startup theory; use what is in your hands
- Look for alternatives to money e.g. if you need a particular service consider exchanging something you have with the person who has that service
- Ask for help from family & friends e.g. instead of purchasing packaging equipment, ask for help form your younger ones after school and you can pay them with food or airtime etc.
What is in your hands? Before anyone in the Bible got blessed, they were asked this question and were made to surrender it. The widow of Zarepath gave her last meal and the wife of the widow brought the little oil she had. God who gives ideas also gives the ability to turn them into a successful business. Look into your life now, am sure you will find something you have that can be transformed into something bigger. Before Joseph became the prime minister, he first served as the head of Portiphar’s home and there he learnt leadership, as he also did while in prison.
Section 2: RUNNING A BUSINESS
After putting all this in place and starting that business; how you run your business can make or break it.
There are 4 key factors that must be taken care of in order for you to run a successful business;
To run your business successfully; you need to understand yourself. I recommend that every entrepreneur undergoes a personality type test to determine what makes them act the way they do. You need to understand; (a) how you react in each situations, (b) what working conditions you prefer. You also need to understand where you are weak; what areas of your business do you flourish and flounder in. What can you handle confidently?
Humility is required in realizing that you aren’t strong in some areas but knowledge is power so that knowledge should propel you in determining whether to gain some skills in that area or employ someone to handle that area for you. Check yourself and gain knowledge in areas where it is needed.
The importance of time mastery can’t be overemphasized; always work with a schedule. Manage your time and make time for important business building activities such as research and product testing. Don’t forget to develop yourself in the area of your business.
A business cannot survive without customers. You must set up a system of continuously generating customers. This is achieved with a sound marketing plan. A good marketing plan details;
- Who you customer is
- Where your customer is
- What your customer wants
- How they can be reached they will buy from you.
A sound and well executed marketing plan will help with customer generation. Marketing costs time and money but is very useful in maintaining a constant flow of customers. Time must be set aside for continuous marketing regularly or you can detail someone to handle it.
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:8-12 ESV
The stakeholders to every business include employees, suppliers, competition, government and any single person or group with the ability to influence your business. Stakeholders can make or break your business. For effective stakeholder management, lets categorize your stakeholders into 4 categories;
- Need to be monitored – you need to keep yourself updated with their activities so as to prevent being blindsided. E.g. Government, competition, employees
- Need to be consulted – you need to consult with these people before making key decisions in your business. E.g. Board of Directors
- Need to be informed – you need to inform this people of your actions and plans. E.g. employees, general public, board of directors.
The place of stakeholders must not be underestimated.
For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the Excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
Money is crucial to your business and you want to do your best to not run out it. A business that runs well will produce money thus in business your focus should be in running your business and not after the money. Once a businessman starts chasing after money, he has lost sight of what’s most important in that business.
Your money must be properly managed; set up accurate money management systems no matter how small.
- Always have a budget and stick to it
- Keep a daily record of expenses and costs
- Keep a record of customers, how much they are to pay, how much they owe and how much they have paid already
- Pay bills promptly
- Borrow with wisdom and only when absolutely necessary
- Look for avenues where the money you have made can be multiplied and made to work for you.
There are system(s) including customer generation & retention systems, employee recruitment & retention systems, product/service development systems and a finance system; that the businessman needs to properly run his business. The absence of any of these systems would impair your ability to maintain a successful business.
Running a business isn’t child’s play and must be embarked upon with vision and oneness of mind and boldness. Starting a business is a call and a ministry and must be handled as one who will give account.
The grace of the Lord be with you!