Everything I Learned About Business I Learned from God
As I look at how I run my business, I can trace most of my business beliefs and practices to certain verses in the Bible.
That’s why I say, everything I learned about business I learned from God. Who knew God was such a good business man?
Here are some key Biblical principals that drive my behavior and how I run my business.
“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” (Prov 22:29)
One of my overriding beliefs is that if you are good at what you do, you will be noticed.
Now, I realize there a hundreds of stories of good products that “died on the vine” for lack of good marketing. But these are products, not people.
If a person is genuinely skilled at his work, then people will take notice and hire him. Marketing will only enhance this word-of-mouth effect.
So one of the first lessons I learned about business was to practice my skill and always strive to be better.
“Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” (Ecc 11:6)
The truth is, none of us can really know for sure what will succeed and what will fail. We can, of course, make educated guesses based on past results.
But, as you know, past results are no guarantee of future performance.
And so my approach to business has been to have at least two things going at once — and preferably more like three or four or five things.
Some might say I’m not focused enough. And I’m sure there’s some truth to that. But there’s also something to be said for “failing fast” — working on multiple projects at once, dropping the losers, and riding the winners.
“A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” (Prov 19:11)
Whether you have clients or customers or both, there will come a time when you are wronged.
- Maybe a client doesn’t pay up and stops responding to your phone calls and emails.
- Maybe a “serial refunder” buys your info product, fully intending to ask for a refund.
- Maybe a client tries to guilt you into doing more for him than you originally agreed to.
- Maybe a customer makes false assumptions and slanders you in a public forum.
Whatever the case may be, this stuff is eventually going to happen. And when it does, you can’t take it personally.
Give your clients and customers the benefit of the doubt. Be slow to anger. Overlook the transgression. Consider forgiving the person for whatever he or she did.
I have found this approach to go a long way in business. Not to mention, I sleep better at night.
On Exceeding Expectations
“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matt 5:41)
In the Roman Empire, a soldier could force a citizen to carry his gear for a mile. The citizen had no say in the matter; he had to obey.
Naturally, the citizens resented this. They would get angry.
But then this dude Jesus came along and basically said, “Hey, if you’re forced to go one mile, don’t do only what’s required of you. Go two miles.”
That was pretty radical advice then, and it’s radical advice today.
So one of my business philosophies is to always give more than I’ve agreed to give. I will agree to one thing in principal and deliver more in practice.
“Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.” (Ecc 11:1)
To me, business is not so much about the “survival of the fittest” (which is “me-focused”) — it is about serving your fellow man (which is “people-focused”).
And part of serving people is doing kind things for others when they don’t expect it — and without expectation of them doing something for you in return.
In other words, throw ROI out the window. Because God, who sees all things, will reward you sooner or later.
So I try do something nice for somebody every day. Even if it’s something small and relatively insignificant: sending a thank-you note, submitting somebody else’s article to a social network, giving a referral to another service provider, etc.
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? […] Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ […] But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt 6:26,31,33)
One of the hardest things for me to comprehend is that I’m not in control of how much I earn. Certainly, God uses my effort as an instrument in the process of earning an income. But ultimately God is in control.
Really it comes down to this:
- Do you write your paycheck?
- Or does God write your paycheck?
For me, I know without a doubt that God writes my paycheck. So I don’t worry about where my income is going to come from. God’s already worked out the details.
God brings me the clients He wants me to work with. And He brings them according to His timing — not mine.
This doesn’t mean I sit around and do nothing while I wait on God to provide. God has given man work as part of his lot in life. Furthermore, “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thess 3:10)
And so I work. I just recognize that God is the One who blesses my work (or not). He truly is Jehovah-Jireh, which means “The Lord will provide.”
“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” (Prov 16:3)
There are many good Bible-believing people who continue to ask God to bless them while they persist in doing wrong. This is foolishness.
You can’t expect God to bless your business while you are in rebellion to Him — even though God causes the rain to fall on the both the just and the unjust. (Matt 5:45)
But commit your works to the Lord — in other words, seek to obey God and do His will — and your plans will be established.
And so, for me, I seek to know what God’s will is for my life so that I can commit my works to Him.
I know that if I seek God and do my best to follow Him (imperfect though I am) that God will steer me in the right direction.
I have found that most people draw their business philosophies from one source or another. Some popular texts are The Prince by Machiavelli, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, etc.
The problem with these texts is that they are written from a human perspective where man is god. And so the business philosophies they contain are resting on a weak foundation.
I choose to base my business philosophies on the Bible. It is, in my opinion, the only foundation worth building on.
I know my approach may be unorthodox, but it has worked well for me. It may even be an approach you’ll want to try for yourself.
-Ryan M. Healy
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