If you have been working hard this year on your business, the end of the year tends to be a measuring marker for most of us. We feel that whatever December 31 says measures the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Sometimes I think this is the reason that Jesus points us to eternity, not annual mile markers. If we are focused on a God vision, and building our business on our Christian values, then the direction is much more important than the snapshot in time.
Sounds great, but the bank requires year-end financials. And by the way, so does the IRS. And yes, it makes everyone warm and fuzzy that we employed people and supported families this year. We sleep better at night knowing that we didn’t cut corners in our business and lived up to our ethics.
But, does this create a successful sustainable business? Will this pay the bills?
What Creates a Successful Foundation?
The real purpose of building your business towards the vision God gave you, and creating a foundation based on your faith and values, is because this is success in itself. If you believe that the God who created the world is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful, then it seems logical that His will for your business is the best path for you.
In most cases, traditional success follows. Why? Because God is blessing you. No, I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel. It is actually a more mundane reasoning. I believe we also experience traditional success because:
- Good values = good business.
- God’s ways are meant to guide us in a healthier direction to navigate in this world.
- He is way smarter than we are and we need to trust Him.
It has worked for me so I am sure it will work for you too! Seriously. I started my own business and I did what most entrepreneurs do – I hung up a shingle one day and I was in business.
I was able to get enough clients to begin, through connections and referrals. I was profitable. And I stayed in this mode for a few years. I wasn’t making a ton of money and I wasn’t growing much, but I was in business and working.
Soon enough, my time was filled up. I was doing counseling and coaching and was on staff at my church. I would see anyone that I thought I could help. But I didn’t have a focus, any help, or any systems.
It was just me after all, I didn’t need to complicate things.
Then I had a God moment at a workshop. I was at a crossroads – ha, (and that was already the name of my business), and God said I needed to step back and look at my business the way that I was helping other people look at their businesses.
How I Found Purpose and Clarity
Imagine that! Through that process of reevaluating my own business, I created the PATH to Purpose and Clarity that I have shared with clients for years. It made perfect sense. Here is how I moved through the PATH:
- What is my God vision? I say God vision rather than my vision because if we seek Him, and pray and listen for His guidance and view of what our business can be, we always see it more clearly. We know it is a God vision when we move forward, and stress sheds off of us, and doors seem to open. God doesn’t promise us easy. We just feel lighter and more purposeful with each difficult step.
- What culture do I want to see in my business as it grows? Again, I was a team of one. But I was seeing clients all day long and I had some outsourced partners. I wanted to be faith-based. I don’t believe that all coaches and counselors that are Christians are required to brand themselves faith-based. I just felt called to this path. Maybe because I didn’t come to faith until I was in my mid-thirties and felt like I owed God more for my lost years! Defining the important aspects of your culture is essential to support your vision and to build the right team.
- What will the team look like when my vision is realized? I tend to be future-oriented. I have to envision further down the business path and work backwards. Once I figure out what the organization will look like 5-10 years along the journey, then I can go back and determine my first hire. I hear so many stories about bad first hires. As a matter of fact, this becomes one of the single biggest roadblocks to small business growth. A bad first few hires makes you feel like you can never hire a team to support your growth. You have to do it all yourself, which limits how big you can get. This is why knowing your vision and culture needs to be determined before you start hiring people. Your first hire will fit so much better and lead to momentum in building your team.
- Why do I need systems and processes when I am still doing most of the work? This is the BEST time to think through and establish systems and processes. Do you know how hard it is to put systems in place when you already have a bunch of employees used to doing things however they want? As a matter of fact, if you don’t have systems and processes in place, you have to hire a lot more people to support your growth. It is inefficient, time consuming, and more expensive to operate without them. And again, knowing the long-term vision helps you put in the systems and processes that will last past tomorrow.
- What marketing will help me get the word out? The most important step and foundational piece of any marketing plan is clearly defining your point of difference. Without a point of difference, why will someone choose you or your products? For your marketing plan to have traction, you must be able to communicate how you uniquely solve the target customer’s problems, pains, or needs. Without a point of difference and a unique marketing message that effectively communicates it, you are counting on the build it and they will come philosophy. And we know this is not a strategy to count on.
- How will I sell my services (or product)? More specifically for me was how to sell when you don’t like to sell? We all have our gifts and many people who go into business do it because they love and are gifted at “working in the business.” I liked coaching and counseling, not selling. But when you own your own business, you have to sell! It is important to think through early so that you can sell in a way that matches you as close as possible. My networking was Bible studies. That is where I was comfortable and wanted to be. I never sold my services in Bible studies. I just met lots of people and developed a deeper relationship with them. The referral process just happened naturally.
God made it clear to me that I was going to have a faith-based coaching and counseling center. We would be a place where people could come at almost any crossroad they encountered, personally or professionally. We want to join them on the journey. We can help in a lot of areas both in business and personally through counseling and life coaching. We have tons of helpful content for business and life. We pray with and for all of our clients. If we don’t have the expertise to help, we find a good referral. And we still keep them in our prayers. We want to be a place that people can keep coming back to over the years at the different crossroads in their life. We want to be a partner who knows them, knows their history, and we want to join them on their journey.
Developing Your Own Successful PATH
It started with a God vision. One I believe He had planned for me and I know He has one reserved for each of you.
Are you ready to seek your God vision? Do you have a strong foundation to embark on the journey? Are you ready to toss out the end of the year mile markers and focus on God’s eternal path?
This is an area we can help with. I put all of this process down on paper and developed it into a process. It is the PATH for Purpose and Clarity. To see where you are on the PATH, we invite you to take our FREE assessment. With this assessment comes a Guide that will help you begin to clarify the steps you may have missed on the PATH. And if that isn’t enough, we would be honored to join you on your journey and work with you personally to help you seek God’s plan for your life and business. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you would like to discuss how we may be able to work with you.