Archive | April, 2010

Christian Business Myth: Christian Values Do Not Make for a Successful Business.

Christian Business Myth: Christian Values Do Not Make for a Successful Business.

Many Christian businessmen and women say, “I won’t be able to compete in the market place as secular businesses do not have the same constraints.” I hear this view from clients. I read about it on the internet. I have seen it espoused in surveys.

How Christian Values Make our Businesses More Competitive

Do you feel this way? The GOOD NEWS for Christian Small Business Owners is that following our faith in all of our business dealings, decisions, and directions would make us even more competitive. WHY?

* We would treat all of our customers, employees and vendors with respect, dignity, and integrity. (Proverbs 2:7)
* We would serve our customers, employees and vendors to the best of our ability. (Proverbs 22:29)
* We would make plans in advance to achieve the vision. (Proverbs 21:5) ( Proverbs 16:3)
* We would build our business on a strong foundation. (Matthew7:24-25)
* We would be excellent stewards of the company’s resources because we would know they aren’t ours anyway.
* We would persevere even in hard times. (2 Timothy 4:7) (Proverbs 17:7)(Phil 3:14)
* We would delegate effectively. (Exodus 18:18)
* We would hire qualified people with high character. (Proverbs 26.10)
* We would equip and train our organization. (Proverbs 9:9)
* We would be consistent and firm in our expectations and commitments. (Proverbs 29:18)
* We would hold everyone, including ourselves, accountable to Godly character, hard work, and consistently meeting expectations. (Proverbs 19:19) (John 15:2)
* We would lead with boldness and humility simultaneously. (Proverbs 18:12)
* We wouldn’t partner with thieves. “He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; he hears the oath but tells nothing.” Proverbs 29:24.
* As a leader, we wouldn’t be riddled with stress and anxiety. (Matthew 6:26)
* Our services and products would be of the highest quality. (John 15:2)

Do these actions seem uncompetitive? God created everything and He is way smarter than us. Whether it is in our relationships, our finances, or our business His ways are everlasting. Our competitors may use cheaper ingredients to increase their margins, build up their riches in storehouses, use force to get extra work from their employees, but these strategies won’t last. It will catch up with them. That is why it is so important to recognize the success of unethical businesses as a “house built on sand” and not get caught up with adhering to the world’s standards. Leave those not following Godly ways to the Lord and keep doing what we know is right.

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The Identity Crisis Plagues Entrepreneur Community

The Identity Crisis Plagues Entrepreneur Community

In the 1998 movie, The Truman Show, Jim Carry played a character who had no idea who he really was. He had no idea that his life was being recorded since his birth of entertainment purposes. He awoke from his identity crisis when someone told him who he truly was. This is similar to the identity crisis that the entrepreneur community is experiencing today.

Much of the problem is that entrepreneurs do not know who they are. Many of them lost their way, getting caught up with business activities, or they simply never knew their way in the first place. Typically when you ask entrepreneurs who they are or what they do (i.e how do you make an income?), they say that they are a owner of a business. As an example, they own a jewelry shop or they sell cars. But that is not what they really do or what really makes them money.

Business Owners are NOT Entrepreneurs

The entrepreneurs who fully understand who they are understand that they are not simply a business owner. Rather, when asked, the entrepreneur who understands who they are would respond that they make money. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But many people who say that they are entrepreneurs, aren’t really entrepreneurs; they are business owners or business managers. The fundamental purpose of the entrepreneur is to make money. Now, how that money is made will differ, but an entrepreneur is a person who makes money…not literally, but their actions result in a positive influx of cash.

An entrepreneur with this mindset has two identities. These identities are what establish them to be the “money makers”.

Marketing Should be Fun

The first and most important of the two identities is that above all else, an entrepreneur is a marketer. You may make and sell widgets, services, or information resources but if you don’t have customers, clients, or patients then you are dead in the water. You will have a lot of great products and services but no one to sell them to. I know that this is difficult for many entrepreneurs because they hate the concept of selling. They think of the used car salesman that sold them their first lemon and shiver with anger. But the reality of it all is that as you become an entrepreneur, you inherit the fact that you are also, or should also be, a marketer, an advertiser, and a salesperson. The beauty of it all is that you are an entrepreneur, so the concepts that you have regarding marketers, you don’t have to follow. You should follow effective marketing strategies but you don’t have to be that salesman that sold you your first clunker. Marketing should be fun. It should be an expression of who you are. If it is not, then you will always struggle with it.

“But Ralph, I just don’t like selling. I feel like I am forcing my product or service on potential clients.” So this brings me to my next identity. The business owner who has a skewed outlook on their offerings because they feel that when they market or sell their widget, they are forcing it on their potential clients. They are suffering from a major identity crisis. They see themselves and their offerings as a commodity instead of a necessity. Commodities come and go but necessities are constant. There is no better example of this than during a recession. The first things that cash-strapped people cut are the “nice-to-haves”. As an entrepreneur, if you identify your products and/or services as a necessity then your offerings won’t be the first to be chopped during the family budget meeting.

In order to identify your offerings as a necessity you have to first identify yourself (to yourself and your customers) as a problem solver.

Regardless of the industry, century, or location, the highest paid people are the ones who solve problems. Think about it. When you call a plumber, electrician, business consultant, graphic designer, or marketing guru, you are calling them to solve a problem. The highest paid ones solve problems well and provide a permanent solution to your current problem. As a business owner, regardless of your business, you should be a solution provider. If you sell jewelry you solve the problem for the husband who is looking for a romantic gift for his wife’s birthday. If you sell household cleaning products then you provide the solution of being more efficient and effective, saving your clients time (which, if I might add, is of immeasurable value).

Characteristics of an astute Entrepreneur

So, no need to visit your local psychiatrist to deal with identity crisis epidemic. You are an entrepreneur. You are a problem solver. You are a marketer. Identify yourself with the characteristics of an astute entrepreneur and you will see an increase in your business.

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