Choosing the Right Christian Based Business Opportunity – The S in Your SHAPE

To choose the right Christian Based Business, the first thing you need to do is to Examine the “S” In Your S.H.A.P.E.

God is the creator of each and every one of us and He is the only one who can determine what our purpose in life is, and by extension, the kind of Christian based business He wants us to engage in, to fulfill our Kingdom purpose for Him. Any Christian based business that started with the considerations of the world as the foundation is a business out of the will of God. Kingdom people were clearly warned, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.(Romans 12:2)

God did not give us permission to take our cues in selecting our Christian business opportunity from the world. Rather, he wants us to seek His perfect Will in every area of our lives, which includes our businesses. Any reason for choosing a Christian based business that is not rooted in biblical precept is not a valid reason for a kingdom citizen to go into that business. Regardless of how good or logical our motivations might be for choosing a particular Christian business opportunity, if it is not rooted in the will of God as expressed in His Word, it is destined for a lot of pain and possible destruction. According to proverbs, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 16:25)

Jesus expects us to put the words he has taught us into practice, not only in our church lives, but in every area of our calling. As we previously examined, our area of calling includes whatever vocation or enterprise we choose to fulfill our kingdom mandate on earth. If we choose a Christian based business or pursue a Christian business opportunity without using the Word of God as the foundation of it, we are only building on sand and it is only a matter of time before the ‘winds’ and ‘rains’ of the business world will bring it crashing down.

The bible has given us very clear guidelines on how we are to determine the vocation or Christian based business of our choice. We have all being uniquely created by God for the specific assignment He has preordained for us to fulfill for Him here on earth.

In Ephesians 2:10, we are told:”we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” God told Jeremiah “before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”(Jeremiah 1:5)

From these passages, it is clear that God has a specific assignment, and by extension for each and every one of us. That being true, it also follows that for us to be in the Will of Our Creator, we must prayerfully search ourselves to discover the specific Christian business opportunity that God had in store for us when he created us. This involves doing an analysis of our S.H.A.P.E (i.e. Our Spiritual Gifts; Our Heart; Our Abilities; Our Personalities; and Our Experiences).

The combination of our SHAPE should give us clear directions about the type of Christian based business or Christian business opportunity that God wills for all Christians. This process involves going through each and every one of these components of our make- up in order to correctly and properly discern the will of God for us in our enterprise.

Today, we are going to examine the ‘S’ in our S.H.A.P.E.

The ‘S’ in your S.H.A.P.E as a Christian based business owner stands for the Spiritual gifts God gave to you as a Christian.

The bible listed many of the spiritual gifts that are available to the body of Christ. In CHAPTER 12:6-8 of his letter to the church in Rome, Paul wrote: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

Paul also mentioned other spiritual gifts in his letters to the churches in Corinth and in Ephesus. From the letters of the primary apostles like Peter and Paul, several gifts have been identified in the body of Christ. The list includes, among others, gifts of Service, Encouragement Wisdom, Knowledge, Discernment, Administration, Service, Mercy, Hospitality, Teaching, Evangelism, Pastoring, Apostle, and Love etc.

To choose the right Christian business opportunity that God pre-ordained for you and for you to be an effective Christian-based business owner, it is critical for us to identify the gifts we possess in our quest to determine the enterprise that God wills for us.

For instance, having the gift of Wisdom means that you have a better grasp of issues and possess insights into matters that you can impart into people in a very simple and understandable manner. People with the gift of wisdom have a knack for presenting solutions to otherwise intractable problems with ease. They provide workable and practical solutions to problems. People with this gift often excel in areas of Management, Business Consultancy, Advisory Services and Conflict Mediation.

Those with the spiritual gift of Knowledge and Understanding are very good in collecting, organizing, analyzing and presenting information that is the life-blood of any flourishing economy. People with this gift often excel in storing large amounts of information. to be made easily available when needed by others. for effective decision-making. People with these gifts will excel for God in enterprises like Teaching and Research.

Those with the gifts of Compassion and Mercy will often excel for God in businesses that concentrate on providing support and help for those in distress, crisis, and pain. People with these gifts are called to go into businesses and professions like Counselors, Nursing, Doctor, Caregivers, psychologists, physiotherapists etc.

Those with the gift of Hospitality naturally gravitate towards businesses that make people feel comfortable, accepted and taken care of. Those with this gift love to prepare meals for people, service people’s needs, and they often show great concern for peoples’ comfort and well-being. They are also great conversationalists. All things being equal, people with this gift will be more of a blessing to people in the areas of Restaurants, Hotel, Travel and Touring, Home Cleaning, Banquet Organizers etc.

Those with the gift of Faith have extraordinary ability to trust God for what cannot they cannot see, and to act on His promise regardless of the situation. People with this gift have a willingness to risk failure in pursuit of a God-given vision. They are those who excel in businesses that require high risks for high returns. They are not afraid to stake a claim on a transaction that does not look sure from the visible circumstances. People of faith persevere in businesses where profits may not be immediately visible. They do not just pack it in. They have big dreams and take big risks. While every Christian is called to have faith, the people with the special gift of Faith have the ability to believe that God will come through better than other Christians.

It should be noted that spiritual gifts alone do not determine where your God ordained enterprise lies. Rather, these spiritual gifts, when combined with the other aspects of your S.H.A.P.E. (i.e. your Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences) will help you to discover the business that God intended for us and not what society or family is trying to impose on you by default.

This is a 3-part article and you. Please look out for subsequent articles covering the other four aspects of your S.H.A.P.E. You can read all the 5 parts of this article series by visiting The Kingdomprenuer Blog.

To Your Success,

Startup Financing For Small Businesses

Startup financing for small business is necessary and hard to acquire.  Financing the startup of a business is a particular challenge during tough economic times, as small business startups need money when money for starting up is hard to find.  During these challenging economic times, it is difficult to obtain startup financing from traditional business financing sources; particularly for small businesses, which are considered a high risk for business failure.

However, fueled by a growing unemployment issue (caused by shrinking businesses and lay-offs), individuals are following their dreams and opening a small business.  If their business idea is perceived to be very strong and if they have a unique product or service with a good strategic plan, they might be able to get traditional business start up loans. If there is a perception of risk, those entrepreneurs need to find an alternative method of raising startup funds.

Traditional business financing includes commercial lending organizations, banks and government financial programs. These organizations provide loan products, operating lines of credit, equipment leasing and asset financing, and more. But, due to current global financial market conditions, it can be challenging to qualify for this startup financing (lending criteria has tightened as most traditional lending institutions want a high level of security and low risk) and it can also be challenging to get cash-strapped lending institutions to disperse business start up loans, asset financing, or operating funds promised.

One alternative to traditional financing is to see if you can interest an Angel investor in providing an investment in your business.  Angel investors typically charge higher interest rates and are in for a short term period; they want an exit strategy within a specified period of time (therefore they will want their money back, with interest, quickly). Angel investors are often interested in the high tech or biotech industries; or other high reward (and also high risk) industries.  To attract Angel investors, your business needs to have strong and fast growth potential, a talented management team, a compelling business plan, and well priced equity. Angel investors usually look for up to 50 percent equity in the business; this is really dependent on the business proposal and the investment amount.  You typically give up some control when you develop a relationship with an angel investor.

Another alternative is to find a strategic partner or to build a strategic alliance that allows your business to reduce its cash and/or startup financing needs. This also means a loss of control over the business; and partnerships can end up like marriages, in divorce.  Yet another alternative startup financing is bootstrapping.  Bootstrapping is financing a business startup or business growth through non-traditional methods. Bootstrapping is about raising funds (for example, to start a new business), without startup capital.  If you plan to startup a business that has a significant investment in capital equipment, consider asset financing.  Asset financing will provide a loan for equipment that you buy to operate your business.

For new business owners, that might mean working several jobs to raise cash.  Or revising your plan to start your business with less money, or fewer products or services.  Consider leasing furniture, computers, sharing office space and administration staff.  Make sure you carefully consider your cash flow needs and do a cash flow projection for at least a two-year period.  Cash flow management is a way of reducing startup financing needs; effectively manage your cash flow by managing receivables, payables, inventory, and short term debt (in other words, increase incoming cash and reduce outgoing cash). 

Some other non-traditional business financing methods might include:

  • use of credit cards;
  • second mortgages on the entrepreneur’s home;
  • equity loans, secured by personal assets; loans from key suppliers;
  • partial pre-payments or progress payments from large customers;
  • and/or loans from family, friends and associates.

For small business owners, obtaining the financing to startup your business or to keep it operating is usually a challenging experience. Before you borrow the money you need for startup, ensure that your business can support that level of debt and can repay on the lender’s debt schedule.  You need to have a strong business plan and be able to present a strong business case to your lenders.  

Financial lenders will assess your knowledge, your capability, and your business proposal. You will likely have to put up personal guarantees for the money you need; this means you have to have assets to back up your guarantees. Unfortunately, not all prospective business owners have the credit rating to qualify with their lending institutions. Business financing and business start up loans are serious endeavors.  You will owe a lot of money and if your business doesn’t succeed, your money and your lenders’ or investors’ money will be gone.

Applying the Secrets of the Obama Campaign Strategy to Your Business

On the 4th of November 2008, Barack Obama and his campaign team surprised America, and indeed the whole world, by recording the most improbable electoral victory in U.S. history as the first black person to be elected as the President of the United States. This is a phenomenon that even the most optimistic of people would not even have contemplated merely 5 previously.

In the November elections, Barack Obama rose from nowhere to take the political world by storm, despite the seemingly impossible odds, odds that would have discouraged many from even trying in first place. He had a lot of negatives going against him. He has a name that evokes terrorism in the hearts of America (Barack Hussein Obama). He is the son of a Kenyan immigrant. He is black. He was a freshman senator. He had no experience in government. He had very questionable friends and past associations (i.e. Ayers, Rev Wright). He started his campaign from a water logged basement with absolutely no funding. He had to go against one of the most powerful and influential political forces of our time – The Clinton Political Machine- during the primaries.

Yet, when all was said and done, in the span of less than four years after busting into national prominence, Barack Hussein Obama defied all odds to win a decisive victory in the American Presidential Elections. The campaign was not even close. He drubbed McCain in the cities and in the suburbs. He clobbered him among the whites and the blacks. He also beat him in some traditional Republican political strongholds like Indiana, north Carolina and Missouri. In fact, his victory swept away many prominent republican heavyweights in its wake, such as Elizabeth Dole, in what is being called the ‘Obama Tsunami’.

Now, what do all these have to do with you and your success in your Christian based business opportunity on the internet?

It means everything is possible. It means you can succeed beyond your own expectations in your Christian based business even if you don’t know anything about internet programming or business right now. It means that no matter how impossible the odds may look against you and your internet business opportunity, you can be a celebrated success within a very short time.

There are some timeless success secrets that you can learn from the Obama Campaign strategy that will help you achieve extraordinary success in your chosen Christian based business.

Secret #1: He Had A Compelling Vision And Big ‘WHY’ For His Campaign

From the get go, Barack Obama had a great vision of what he wants to do and where he wanted to take America. He had a big reason for getting into the political ring at the time he did. He had a compelling vision that kept him going even when things got very rough. His compelling vision eventually energized the youth and mesmerized the old. In short, he had a very strong ‘WHY’.

To succeed in your Christian based business, you will need a very strong ‘WHY’. You must have a very strong vision of why you are starting an internet based business and why you are choosing a particular internet business opportunity.

You must have a compelling reason for going into business as a Christian. Without it, you will not survive the rough waters of business. Internet based business opportunities are very competitive and you will need something very strong to keep you going when the inevitable problems come up.

As a new Christian based business entrepreneur on the internet, the multiple streams of income you expect from the business may not come as quickly as you first anticipated. You may suffer some initial financial losses. You may buy promising internet Christian business opportunities that will not live up to the hype. At some point in your journey to internet business success, you will be forced to ask yourself: ‘why am I doing this?’ It is your great vision or big ‘why’ that will keep you going in those dark times. If you don’t have one, it will be easy to pack it up and concede defeat when the going gets tough.

Statistics show that the greatest difference maker between quitters and winners, who have tried different Christian business opportunities, is vision and their reason ‘why’.

Barack Obama had a very strong ‘WHY’. He had a compelling vision that kept him going beyond setbacks in the New Hampshire primaries, and it helped him withstand Hilary Clinton’s last minute surge at the end of the primaries. Your vision and reason for going into a particular Christian based business will also keep you going when things get depressing and you will eventually reap your rewards of multiple streams of income from your internet business opportunity.

Secret #2: Obama Focused On One Central Issue At A Time

Obama was able to capture the imagination of the country from the get-go by focusing on ONLY one central theme at the outset: CHANGE. He did not try to sell different populist programs at the outset. He focused on the broad theme of ‘change’. He talked about ‘change we can believe in’. he talked about his ability, and the ability of Americans to make a change. He got a slogan that focused on his central theme and which formed a refrain to get people involved: ‘YES, WE CAN’.

Until very late in the game, Obama did not allow himself to be bogged down with the details of different issues (in fact his critics criticized him for not being very specific!). He just kept talking about change. Once he has owned the word and has gained the attention of the whole country with his message of CHANGE, he then started talking about some specific changes he would make. Even then, he did not give us too many specifics. He picked health care and ending the war in Iraq and talked about those until they became part of the consciousness of the people and identified with his campaign. Then, he started talking about tax cuts for the poor and tax hike for the rich.

Obama made a virtue of focusing on one central issue at a time and that made it very easy for him to sell his message to the people. To succeed in your Christian based business opportunity and eventually generate the multiple streams of internet income you have been dreaming about, you need to focus on ONLY one thing or business idea at a time. You will achieve christian business success quicker and faster by identifying one area of need on the internet and focusing on it to the exclusion of all other internet business opportunities.

It is a fact that while many successful Christian based business gurus create multiple streams of internet income over time with different Christian business opportunities, the fact is that most of them started out with one single product and mastered it before leveraging the success from that internet business opportunity into other streams of internet income.

In order to experience spectacular long term success on the internet as a Christian based businessperson on the internet, you must first focus on one Christian business opportunity at a time. Don’t be tempted to start with so many internet business opportunities at a time. Many internet business newbies got ‘buried’ on the world wide web because they started out with too many product offerings. They were not focused on one central opportunity at a time. They simply kept throwing money at different ‘juicy’ opportunities until they ran out of money and hope. Obama campaign strategy showed the power of focus and you should take that lesson to heart if you ever hope to see those multiple streams of income you have often heard about.

Secret #3: Obama Ran A Very Focused And Discipline Campaign

The discipline and focus of the Barack Obama campaign has become stuff of instant legend. Many political pundits and commentators applaud and commend on the amazing discipline and focus of the Barack Obama campaign machine. While John McCain and his team kept floundering and moving from one focus angle to another, Barack Obama stayed focused on his message and agenda.

Barack Obama ran a highly disciplined campaign that refused to be distracted by negative adverts, negative past associations, charges of distributionism or charges of socialism. He just kept on rolling and repeating his message of change. He used teleprompters every where he could to make sure he remained focus on repeating his message without errors. His single minded focus was not only mind-boggling but also chillingly effective.

To survive with your Christian based business opportunity, you will need to maintain a strong focus and discipline with your chosen Christian business opportunity. There are literally millions of opportunities out there. You will be flooded from the get-go with different Christian business opportunities that will create instant multiple streams of income and make you an internet millionaire overnight. Don’t be distracted by such offers! Even if true, it is never as easy as they always make it sound. You will still have to learn and dominate any new opportunity you sign up for before you see any of the promised multiple streams of internet income.

It will require all the discipline you have to remain focused on your particular Christian business opportunity until you achieve some success from it. Don’t be distracted when the success does not come quick. Don’t be distracted when you get confused about how to generate sales. Don’t be distracted by the new ‘hot’ opportunity from some smooth ‘snake oil’ peddling guru. You must choose your internet business opportunity very carefully and stick with until you see some success. That was a very key part of the Barack Obama campaign strategy and it should be a key part of your internet business strategy.

Regardless of what you might have been told by the gurus, there is no substitute for hard work and hustle if you ever hope to succeed with your internet based business. You are not likely to make major financial breakthrough by working online for only one hour a day on your computer. Don’t believe the hype that tells you can be a millionaire by working only one hour a day on your computer. The internet business community is a very serious, professional and competitive one. You will need to work it as a serious business, and with all seriousness, to generate any major income from it.

I hope you will reflect on these secrets of the Barack Obama stunning victory at the polls and learn how to apply those principles to make a success with your specific internet business opportunity.

See You At The Business Mountain Top!