My husband and I have had a family business since the early nineties, enjoying the joys and challenges of self-employment. Several years ago, we incorporated our business, making it an umbrella for several businesses, including my new publishing company, Powerline Productions, that my friend, Laura and I are getting off the ground.
It seems that I am surrounded by people who have, or are starting, their own businesses!
Reasons for Starting Your Own Business
Reasons abound for starting your own business. What a blessing it would be to be your own boss and have a flexible schedule. You could plan your work hours around the children's school hours and family needs. There is potential to make more money, thus sowing more into the Kingdom of God. You also have the opportunity to cultivate your own leadership skills and impact employees and customers. There is so much to make starting your own business attractive, why doesn't everyone start their own business?
Here is a little reality check. If you are used to working nine to five, or some other forty hour a week job, starting a business will be a shock. Most business owners put in at least 70 to 80 hours a week, especially when they are getting their business off the ground. Many times, there is no profit (and thus, no paycheck) for two to three years. There are, of course, exceptions to this, but, for the most part, starting your own business is a huge undertaking, best begun with lots of prayer and clear direction from God.
"There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD," (Proverbs 21:30 NIV).
The most important reason to start your own business is that God calls you to start a business. His heart and plan is for you to be blessed so that you can be a blessing to those around you. If God's plan and destiny for your life includes starting your own business, it will impact the people around you for His glory. That doesn't mean that it has to be a ministry, but that you minister through it to your employees and customers. Don't even try to start a business that isn't God's will or plan for your life. If a business doesn't honor the Lord, it is not God's will.
"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed," (Proverbs 15:22 NIV).
Get counsel from trusted friends and family members before beginning your own business. What do they think? Write down their counsel and prayerfully consider it! It is good to talk to mature Christians, other business owners, and people who know the real you to get a broad range of counsel and insight.
Pitfalls to Owning Your Own Business
Before we talk about the character traits necessary to owning your own business, let's talk about three very big character flaws that cause problems for business owners. If you see yourself in these pitfalls, don't despair. The Lord can change and mature us in Him. Work on these areas and get them straightened out before you start your own business. I have seen these three things cause businesses to fail.
"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control," (Proverbs 25:28 NIV).
A business owner without self-control will not be able to run her business effectively. Self-government is simply the ability to run your own life well, control your emotions, manage your time, manage your money, maintain healthy relationships, and follow through with personal plans and goals.Without the ability to manage yourself, you will not be able to manage a business.
"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom," (Psalm 90:12 NIV).
Hard work is required to get a business off the ground. Hours and hours of work must be scheduled into your life without taking away from the priorities of family, church, and time with the Lord. If you cannot prioritize and schedule your life, when you start your business, you may let important things in your life fall through the cracks.
"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man," (Proverbs 3:3-4 NIV).
Bookkeeping, accounting, record keeping, and other administrative tasks have always bored me, but I realize their importance if a business is to succeed. You not only risk trouble with the IRS and other government agencies, but you can find yourself in trouble with customers, emplyees, and vendors if you are not careful. Cross every t and dot every i in your business! It is a matter of integrity. People should be able to trust you completely, down to every last administrative detail.
Next week, we will talk about the character traits of a good businesswoman and how to chose what kind of business to start.
Until then, be blessed with bright, beautiful days!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)