Can a Christian really start a business in a godly way?
If you’re a Christian with a desire to start a business, you may be wondering how to go about it.
Now, before I go on, let me just say that whether you’re a Christian or not, there are certain steps you have to take to become an entrepreneur. What separates a Christian business owner from a non-Christian is how they approach and run their business, and the principles on which they build it on.
In this post, I am going to show you how to start a Christian business that can be successful and also glorify God.
So if you want to know how to start a business God’s way, settle in, let me give you some tips to help you achieve your dream.
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HOW TO START A BUSINESS AS A CHRISTIAN:PRACTICAL TIPS FOR WOMEN
1. USE THE BIBLE AS YOUR FOUNDATION
As a Christian, the word of God should be the foundation for everything you do.
If you’re thinking of starting a business, the Bible must be your foundation. Which means, understanding what biblical entrepreneurship is and using biblical business principles to run your business.
In Biblical Entrepreneurship: How to Run a Business God’s Way, you can learn a lot about what biblical entrepreneurship is, and how it’s different from secular or mainstream entrepreneurship. Go check out the post if you want to learn more.
So what does using the Bible as a foundation mean? It means, you have an understanding of what God says about starting a business, and you are willing to trust God with your business. The Bible has a lot to say about how to be a Christian business owner, so spend some time reading the Bible and familiarizing yourself with some of the principles of biblical entrepreneurship.
Some of my favorite scriptures for biblical entrepreneurship include:
“For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalms 50:10)
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7: 12)
“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? ” (Luke 14:28)
“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. “ (Deut. 8:18)
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” (Eccles. 9:10)
2. LISTEN TO GOD, NOT TO MEN
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
Part of laying a biblical foundation for your business is to listen to God and not to men. The way to do that is to first understand that you’re a steward of your business, and God is the owner. Once you can accept that you’re merely a steward, then your focus will be on pleasing God and not men.
Listening to God doesn’t mean you have to be foolish or make crazy decisions because you’re acting on “faith.” Listening to God means, bringing your Christian faith into your business. Making your faith and beliefs part and parcel of your business.
Sadly, many who profess to be Christians leave their faith behind when it comes to running their business. But, you can’t separate your Christian life from your work and still be a faithful steward. So think about this very seriously before you embark on this journey.
Are you committed to obeying God in your business? Are you willing to stick to biblical principles or are you going to compromise your faith to achieve success?
Trust me, you are going to be tested and will have lots of opportunities to ignore God in your business, but I hope you’ll stay faithful and always choose the Lord no matter how hard it may be, or how appealing the alternative is.
3. ALWAYS BE YOURSELF
Becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t require you to change or be anything other than yourself. Sure, you may have to learn some new skills and grow as a person if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. However, at the fundamental level, you should always remain true to yourself, and your convictions.
Starting a Christian business is an opportunity to grow in your faith, to live out the gospel and to reach more people for Christ. So use this opportunity wisely, and let it be a means for furthering God’s kingdom and minstering to everyone he may send your way.
4. FOCUS ON THE BASICS
Time and time again, I come across lots of women who want to be entrepreneurs, but the problem is, some of them have no clue how to achieve their dream! Many of them end up giving up on their dream because they lack a road map to get to where they want to go.
There are a lot of moving parts to starting a business, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can get overwhelming really fast.
So if you are thinking of giving up your dream to become a Christian business woman, you don’t have to, since I am going to break things down for you, so you can take one step at a time.
Well, let me say that there’s no way I can possibly cover everything that’s required to start a business, however, I am going to cover the basics, which should be enough to get you started.
BASICS OF STARTING A CHRISTIAN BUSINESS
1. CHOOSE A BUSINESS IDEA
The first step to becoming a Christian entrepreneur is to choose a profitable business idea. While you can’t guarantee that your idea will be profitable, it’s still better to do some research, and try to come up with an idea that’s likely to succeed.
Before I continue, let me address a few things.
Are there god-given business ideas, and should you pray for a business idea? There are going to be lots of different opinions on this, but this is how I approach this topic.
I believe God has blessed each one of us with different skills and strengths, so if you’re thinking of opening a Christian business, the best way to find a business idea is to look at your strenths and existing skills to find something you can parlay into a business.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with praying for a business idea since we are supposed to pray about everything anyway. My point is, if you really want to start a business, don’t spend a lot of time waiting for a god-given business idea when there are practical ways you can come up with one.
Of course, if you have lots of business ideas like most people tend to, you can seek God’s direction to help you narrow down your ideas, so you can pick the best one to pursue.
So the first step to starting a Christian business is to choose a good business idea, and a simple way to do it is to look at your existing skills, interests, hobbies, passions and strengths.
2. IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Okay, you have settled on a business idea and you’re ready to roll, the next thing you want to do is to identify your customers. This process is fairly simple and really shouldn’t take you a lot of time.
All you need to do is to decide whom you want to serve with your business. Those people are your target audience. For example, my target audience is Christian women entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs, and families who want to manage their finances using biblical principles.
Your target audience or potential customers can be: single moms, homeschool moms, wives of pastors or people who need help organizing their homes.
The reason why it’s important to know your customers is: it’s easier to tailor your marketing message and create a marketing strategy if you target a specific group of people. I am going to spare you all the talk about creating a customer avatar and all that good stuff, but it’s important to know your customers.
When you’re starting a business, you want to keep things as simple as possible. So all you need at this point is a general idea of your potential customers. You can always niche down further as you get more information.
So spend some time thinking about this before moving on to the next step.
3. CRAFT YOUR MISSION STATEMENT AND YOUR WHY
One of the reasons many Christian entrepreneurs struggle so much is because they have no idea why they are in business.
Every business needs a mission statement or a why. Your mission statement is your guide and your motivation. It’s really important to have a strong why before you launch your business.
What’s the purpose of your business? What are you hoping to achieve? What problem are you going to solve?
After years of doing this, I have discovered that my why is what keeps me going when things get really tough. Without a strong why or mission statement, you run the risk of quitting when things aren’t going the way you want them to.
Spend some time searching your heart before you write your mission statement and make sure you’re clear on your why.
Here are a few helpful articles about the importance of having a “why” in business.
4. VALIDATE YOUR IDEA
How do you start a Christian business that you know has a good chance of success?
One of the easiest ways to allay your fears and feel a bit more confident is to validate your business idea before you invest a lot of time and money.
Validating your idea beforehand is important to ensure that people actually want what you are offering, and are willing to pay a fair price for it. If people aren’t looking for what you are selling, it doesn’t matter how good or useful your product is, your business is never go to take off.
So, if possible, don’t skip this step. It’s good to know there’s a real need for your product or services.
The best way to validate your business idea is to ask for the sale, but this isn’t always possible. So some alternative ways to validate your idea include:
- Giving out your products to friends and family members (that are a part of your target audience), and potential customers , and asking for honest feedbacks.
- Researching forums or groups where your target audience hangs out to see if there’s a need for your product or service. Basically, you’re trying to find a gap in the market that your product can fill.
- Find out if similar products exist and who your competitors are. Sometimes, it’s good when there are people already doing what you want to do, because it means there’s a market for it. However, before you jump in, make sure you know how to position yourself so you can stand out from the competition.
There are other ways you can validate your idea including creating a minimum viable product to test the market, but you should be able to use one or more of these strategies to check if your idea has a good chance of succeeding.
5. CREATE YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP)
Not going to lie, when you’re starting a Christian business, it can be difficult to come up with a unique selling proposition. It’s easy for you to think of yourself as a jewellery shop owner or an online bookstore owner or a life coach, but, it’s important to go one step further when you’re defining yourself or your business.
That’s what creating your competitive advantage is all about. How do you plan to stand out from the competition? What are you going to offer that your competitors don’t? How is your product different and better than what is out there in the market?
Taking the time to create a unique selling proposition will serve you well as a new business owner trying to stand out from the competition.
Please note that your USP shouldn’t be about price alone. Offering something cheaper isn’t the only way to gain a competitive advantage, so don’t limit yourself to just that.
Here is another helpful article about Unique Selling Proposition. Check it out for some more tips and ideas.
6. HOW TO START A BUSINESS AS A CHRISTIAN: IDENTIFY YOUR ESSENTIAL STARTUP REQUIREMENTS
The Bible talks a lot about planning and counting the costs before undertaking any venture. This is even more applicable when you’re trying to start a business.
At this point, you know what kind of business you want to start, you’ve gone through the other steps and are confident you have a good idea. Now, you’re ready to launch.
To launch your business the right way, you should know what you need to get your business up and running. Far too often, a lot of new business owners spend a lot of money in the startup stage that they end up running out of money.
You don’t want to do that, that’s why it’s important to come up with a list of the most important and essential tools and resources you need. You want to stick to the barest minimum and leave the fancy stuff for when your business becomes profitable.
When I talk about your essential startup requirements, I am talking about things like licensing and insurance (if applicable), a website, supplies and materials to make your products, an office space or a website to market your business, office supplies and other essential tools and resources you need.
Focus on the things that are truly essential for whatever kind of business you’re starting. For example, an online business doesn’t need an office space but it needs a website.
Don’t forget things like your business structure, although most small business owners start off as sole proprietors. But, give some thought to this incase you want to change your business structure later.
Finally, don’t forget about the financial aspect of starting a business. How do you plan to fund your business? You don’t want to start a business you can’t finance, so think about that before you start spending money.
Final Thoughts on How to Start a Business as a Christian
Starting a business the Christian way might seem overwhelming, but remember you don’t have to do everything at a time, and taking the time to lay a proper foundation will save you from a lot of headache in the future.
If you’re really committed to opening a Christian business, know that while it requires a lot of work, it can be done. Don’t feel pressured to do everything within a short period of time, but remember to guard against procrastination and indolence.
Just start from wherever you are in the process and work your way from there. Have faith in God and believe in yourself.