If you’re a young Christian entrepreneur, business owner or meaningfully working towards starting something on your own, these six pointers may prove helpful in growing a business that has a godly foundation, invests in people and builds for eternity.
1. Answer this: Who has God called you to be and what has He called you to do?
If you’ve been in business for a bit now, you’d know that while the bottom line matters – but true meaning happens when profits align with purpose. If your business is turning a comfortable profit, yet you still don’t feel fulfilled within, this question is a great starting point. Who has God called you to be, before a business owner?
If you’re a budding entrepreneur looking for your big break, knowing your values will keep you from making rash decisions or compromising who you are. Knowing who God has called you to be will help you define, too, what he has called you to do. And knowing your why is critical to any successful business.
2. Embrace stewardship and surrender. The business you own or manage belongs to God.
Are you weighed down by an endless stream of thoughts each night? Did we make enough this month to cover overhead? Is my staff planning to quit? Who’ll pick up her workload? Next month is full of public holidays; should I pay triple to stay open or shut my doors for a few days?
All of these questions are good, and necessary. But if they are eating you up on the inside and solutions are hard to come by, it’s a warning bell that perhaps you have taken the reins from the Entrepreneur, God Himself. As His children, we are but stewards of all that He has placed in our hands.
There is much freedom to be found when you can trust God to lead you in managing His business. Surrender your business daily to the Lord, seek His wisdom, do not compromise on Godly values and stay faithful (leads us to #3).
3. Stay faithful in the little, even when it’s inconvenient and difficult
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” – Luke 16:10
God’s economy works very differently from the world’s. In His economy, He prizes obedience and faithfulness. Are we being faithful in the way we spread our resources, build our team and deliver goods or services, no matter the circumstances or season?
What this looks like practically is to stay the course even through disappointment and discouragement. If you know who God has called you to be, what He has called you to do and that ultimately, this business you own or manage belongs to Him, you’ll know that no matter what you’re going through, the storm will pass.
4. Build for social impact right from the start
Many of us want to make a difference, but you don’t have to wait till the books are balanced before thinking about CSR or giving back to the community. As Christians, we are commanded to love the poor and vulnerable, and nowhere in the Bible does it say to wait until we have plenty. So, how could it work?
A nifty way is to integrate social impact into your business model, right from the beginning. That means budgeting, strategising and setting goals with your intended impact in mind. And yes, there will be trade-offs, but this pivots us back to #2: staying faithful to His Word and commandments, wherever God has placed us.
5. Stay accountable, to God and others
Business can at times seem like a dog eat dog world, especially, but only if you’re running on the world’s economy. In God’s economy, faithfulness, integrity and excellence are rewarded. He sees your effort to honour God and others, whether staff or competitor, and will honour you. Here are three questions to ask yourself when faced with any key business decision:
- Does this solution honour God?
- Does this solution honour others, including my competitors?
- Have I done a check for issues of control and self-idolatry?
These self-check questions can help you decide on a solution that will bring glory to God whilst honouring those around you. Remember, ultimately the success of your business is in His hands.
5. Invest in your people
This is a Biblical truth that rings loud and clear. God loves people, and He has called us to as well (1 John 4:7). As business owners, you have the immense privilege of directly imparting into your staff’s lives. Beyond their career journey or contribution as an employee, you have the opportunity every day to help them realise their full potential, to journey with them through life and be part of their growth.
Yes, working with people takes up time. It’s not easy, and you’re bound to get disappointed. But, by loving God and loving people, you are honouring the Creator of your life and Owner of your business. When you choose to prioritise people over profits, you’ll find it easier to galvanise your team towards success.
These pointers are taken from Faithour’s interview with Rachel Ongkili, a lawyer, pastor and owner of several businesses involved in agriculture, hospitality and media production. Read the full interview here.