Guest Post: The Beauty of Your Own Business by Bolaji Olawoye

I would love to describe business as an art of selling excellent service to people.

The following characteristics are key:

  • It is an art;
  • It involves service;
  • It involves excellence;
  • It involves profit;
  • It involves an audience or a market – people

Let us expand on each:

1. A Successful business is not trying to exploit people or hustling for gain; but the graceful wielding of a skill, excellence and mastery in service offering, trade and relationship with people. Modern business expressions that bring out this excellent mindset are popularly termed ‘service’, ‘commerce’, ‘brand-recognition’, ‘human resource’ and ‘customer service’. Godly business people are not trying to make a living; they practice something they love doing and are good at for that matter.

“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings, He will not stand before unknown men.” Proverbs 22:29

They know what they have to offer (product and/or service), who to sell it to (niche market), how to sell it (sales, adverts and marketing), how to distinguish their offerings (branding) and how to maintain a good relationship with their customers (customer relationship and service).

2. Your business involves service – always remember that you are doing a service to someone or people. You should be meeting a need. This is an ingredient of constant patronage – the goal of customer service. It should give you (and your staff) joy to satisfy a customer so that he/she LEAVES HAPPY!

3. Excellence is a great distinguishing factor – the way you ‘do it’, whatever it is that you do! Many people may sell food, few ensure that it is ALWAYS fresh and hot, serve it in a nicer way and maybe even bring it to you. When you ‘do it’ in a more excellent way and ‘serve’ one person, making them happy, boom, you have a great asset in business – a loyal news-spreading, mobile-advertising customer.

4. Trading for Profit, for me, can be an exhilarating exercise. It is not usually selling for a high figure that brings the profit. Profit can be buying much lower than you are selling. The skill is how to buy low (minimize your expenditures, maximize your assets/resources) and sell at a very affordable rate. Making your products/service very affordable without compromising quality is a great way of serving the customer in an excellent manner.

5. Your business needs an audience – a market. Your market should have a niche – a set of people it targets, serves and that are well suited for it. The niche may be one or more age-groups, societal class, career type and so on. You should be able to define such markets and target it excellently. Your niche type helps and guides your advert/marketing schemes as wells as product and service pricing.

The beauty of a Godly business:

“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands that which is good, that he may have to give to him who has need” – Ephesians 4:28
“That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

A business is beautiful because of the following:

  1. You can mind your business.
  2. You have freedom in your finances and of your time.
  3. An opportunity to express the good works in your hands.
  4. People see your good works and glorify God.
  5. You can properly carry out your responsibilities to people outside; family, relatives, friends and other believers.

Building your dream Business – your wealth generating enterprise:
I do hope that you have a good understanding of what a business really is. Wealth responds to value; the value you create and make available to people. People do pay for what is of value to them, and more easily if they can afford it. To create a valuable product and/or service, you need skill or skilful hands. You may be gifted in wielding a God-given skill or in harnessing, amplifying and managing the skill in others.

Photo Credit: www.businesscareercenter.com;

Guest Post: Your Finances: Wetin Man Go Chop? by Bolaji Olawoye

By Bolaji Olawoye

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also”[1]

What God battles for is not the presence of, or the abundance of life’s necessities, but for your heart. What masters your heart masters your life – in its entirety!

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches)”[2]

Life is in this way: You either run with a purpose in heart and a vision in goal OR the tidal waves of the world will wash you along, dumping you in the trench of financial & social circumstances and you will continue trying to keep-up.

Why would Jesus call mammon (or riches) a potential master? It is simply because it has the power to become one! The (necessary) cares & worries of this world are potent enough to master a man’s heart.

According to Ecclesiastes 10:19, all the physical cares of the world are solved by one thing – money! Mammon is a master because you will continues to need it to satisfy ephemeral necessities until you learn the secrets of the Kingdom. The question is not whether we need money, we do! Neither is it how to get more money, as that might arouse greed and worry, leading to the trap of the devil. The concern usually is, “how we get those things that money answers?”

“…Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?”[3] or ‘Shall we not drive cars?’ or ‘Shall we not work?’ “For after all these things, the Gentiles (the unbelieving, the ungodly) seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Notwithstanding) … seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you!”[4]

The scriptures above (and their interpretations) reveal the balance Jesus strikes, between your needs and His provision for them. He reassures that God knows you need these things, but He does not want you to live life, seeking to lay hold of these necessities because He has His own means of making them available. What Jesus recommends is that you seek God’s Kingdom. In it you will find mastery over finances, and then you will not have to worship mammon. God’s kingdom is within you. It is the sphere of dominion of God’s nature, His power & His principles of life. You will find these things in the Bible and as the Holy Spirit leads you into all truth.

Live life, avoiding the snare of excessively accumulating money and material possessions for personal use!

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and to many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction & perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”[5]

Let me paint you a picture of what Jesus is saying, the way I understand it:

Most adults that are responsible for fending-for or taking care of themselves are daily in pursuit of riches, without even knowing it. If you are not a working-class adult, you might be used to collecting allowance from someone else as a typical youth. When you start working, you might start seeking after mammon unconsciously! Certain challenges arise; you need an accommodation – you need money; you need a car – you need money; you have a fiancé/fiancée – you need money; your parents deserve some spoiling – you need money; you need clothing, feeding, etc – you need money!

Fear and insecurity mounts and the accumulation of money and material wealth seems to be a necessary pursuit! At some point, some of the “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”[6] spiritual teaching start meaning less.

You then discover you need a good-paying job (or a change to one); you hustle a bit, God is merciful and you get one. However, there are usually two (2) types of jobs employees get. One that pays well with little time for other things in life OR the type that gives you ample time for other things but pays little.

For the well paying job, you wake up early, work till late, for at least 39 hours a week! You might be involved in some church work, at least so you do not loose the zeal for spiritual service. But perhaps you are serving someone else and spending less of your time digging into God, spending time with your family and bearing more fruit in the things that God has deposited into you.

For the not well paying job, some use the free time profitably in Kingdom service but with tight financial situations. Other less godly ones use the time to hustle and ‘breakthrough’.

If you get married and raise a family under these conditions, the situation most likely gets complicated. There is an increased demand for your time and money. Then you realise that you need more money to make ends meet. There might now be less time for paying attention to God’s voice or His word. This might continue for a long time. Life is continually spent trying to make ends meet; man must survive; your family must feed, kids must to go school’. Though there will be the good times, but life essentially becomes the pursuit of its necessities.

Everything is now a pursuit of money, because truly, “…money answers everything”[7]. However, you will never have fulfilment in it because you do not use life doing what you were built for, what you are talented in doing. What everybody is doing may seem necessary but it is certainly not God’s initial purpose and design.

However, it is always a nobler thing to walk in the fullness of God’s perfect purpose and design – to seek His Kingdom.

Seeking the Kingdom of God

God’s Kingdom is not some external religious structure:

“The Kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you”[8] It is the operation of a system that obtains in Heaven – God’s dwelling place, being manifested here on earth within adopted kingdom sons. It is a spiritual reality that is in our lives and over our affairs. It is not the denial of our existence on earth but living on earth within the spiritual sphere of heavenly principles. Seeking the kingdom is living a life subjected to- and manifesting the principles of God’s kingdom.[9]

Principles of the Kingdom of God

These are the principles by which Abraham lived: his faith relationship with God and his demonstration of earthly reign. Jacob prophesied, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law giver from between his feet.”[10] Paul taught, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…”[11] John declared, “And (Jesus) has made us kings and priests to His God and Father”[12]

Notice the lifestyle of Abraham: He was a great worshiper and friend of God and he reigned on earth. Christ is the Seed of Abraham[13] and so are we, living with the same principles that were passed to Judah by prophecy and down to Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. It is a Kingdom of kings and priests – of worship within and dominion without. You worship like a priest, you rule like a king. It is a kingdom of the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. It is a duo-principled kingdom of the nature and power of God. His nature is His Person – He is Love. His power is His Dominion, His Glory and His Creativity. A daily passion and walk in these principles is seeking after His kingdom.

Wherever you are placed in life, God must be able to manifest His love and His power to the world through you! Every God-inspired and God-provided employment, service or entrepreneurial endeavour that will allow you to fully live in the fullness of your natural gifting and spiritual calling will be truly seeking His Kingdom.

In addition to these, you will also need to find out what provisions God has made in His Word for your financial freedom and abundance.

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[1] Matthew 6:19-21; [2] Matthew 6:24; [3] Matthew 6:31; [4] Matthew 6:32-33 (with author’s emphasis & non-quotations); [5] 1 Timothy 6:9-10; [6] Matthew 6:33; [7] Ecclesiastes 10:19; [8] Luke 17:20-21; [9] I acknowledge some insight provided by the article (THE KINGDOM OF GOD by Jack W. Hayford) Spirit-Filled Life® Bible, © 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.; [10] Genesis 49:10; [11] 1 Peter 2:9; [12] Revelations 1:6 (with author’s emphasis); [13] Galatians 3:29

What to do when money comes suddenly By Gbenga Awomodu

“Quick riches are more dangerous than poverty” – Anonymous

Courtesy: iStockphoto.com

Luck is fleeting. Over the years, the luck syndrome has claimed many victims. Many of them lived long enough to tell their stories. Many others were not so fortunate. The shock was too much for them to bear and they were soon six feet deep. Is there really anything like luck? Does success ever come by chance? What do you do when money comes suddenly? How do you manage money and resources that come to you unexpectedly?

I can recall how, while I was a lot younger in elementary school even till the early years in the secondary school, I used to imagine being in affluence. I was not alone; so many kids would daydream about beautiful mansions with exotic cars. We would frequently talk about how we wished we were children of the popular millionaires and billionaires at that time. How it would be nice winning one of the promos being run by some companies in the manufacturing industry like Nigerian Breweries and Lever Brothers (now Unilever). I remember trekking several streets looking for crown caps of soft drinks as well as of alcoholic drinks. We would open the rubber covers underneath the caps hoping to win the promo gift items, especially the star prize(s). Occasionally, I won a few small gifts. I never won any of the big prizes in any of those promos!

True, some people have enjoyed many things in life by a stroke of luck. Some call it providence – there’s just one unseen force that seems to be directing their path in life. But some school of thought has tried to explain luck as preparation meeting with opportunity. When you win the lottery, you are lucky. However, the chances of winning the lottery many times are very slim, especially for the big prizes.  For a lot of people, winning the lottery is a dream come true. But for many lottery winners, the reality is more like a nightmare. “Winning the lottery isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be,” says Evelyn Adams, who won the New Jersey lottery not just once, but twice (1985, 1986), to the tune of $5.4 million. Today the money is all gone and Adams lives in a trailer. “I won the American dream but I lost it, too. It was a very hard fall. It’s called rock bottom,” says Adams. “Everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language — ‘No.’ I wish I had the chance to do it all over again. I’d be much smarter about it now,” says Adams, who also lost money at the slot machines in Atlantic City. “I was a big-time gambler,” admits Adams.

When money suddenly comes to you, what do you do with your lot? Firstly, what you do with your money and other resources depends on a lot of factors, including the plans you made for the money. When you do not plan beforehand, that financial breakthrough you have always expected and yearned for could catch you unawares and eventually become a financial breakdown for you. Generally, money tends to flow towards those who respect it and use it properly. If you yearn for financial increase, you need to treat money wisely and respectfully. Have wise, clearly-written-out plans for proper disbursement of funds at your disposal. This is because, when you do not plan your life and the use of your resources, other people will plan for you.

In properly managing a financial windfall, you also have to avoid lavish spending. Usually, ‘free money’ does not come all the time so you have got to be very frugal here! Ask yourself, how much do I earn monthly? Is this item I want to purchase necessary and urgent or it is just a luxury item? When you have just received a financial windfall, it is natural that you begin to remember the jewelry that your girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse really deserves; you remember the movies, how you have not been to the cinema lately; an expensive family vacation to the Bahamas that seemed to have eluded you all your life has now become a possibility; you remember that you have never owned a car in your life or that the car you bought two years ago is now outdated and needs a replacement – the latest Volkswagen model; you realize that you need a home of your own so you start shopping for a new home; your sibling and some older relatives suddenly remember that you exist and begin to call you for help in sorting out many of their financial challenges. You need to prioritise your spending and learn to say no to those expenses that are frankly not just worth it!

Depending on the size of your windfall, it may be very necessary that you get the services of a financial adviser. Endeavour to get sound financial advice from trusted sources. This point cannot be outstretched. You can consult trusted friends who have been very prudent and successful with managing funds in the past. Experience is very important in this matter. People with extensive experience in handling money can share their experiences on handling money with you. You can learn from the mistakes they have made in the past. A lottery winner may find it very helpful speaking with some past winners, those who have properly managed their fortune and those who have failed woefully. A student can find the results of timely advice from a senior friend or relative who has made a success out of business far reaching. You need to properly account for the disbursement of your windfall.

After you have come up with a proper and well revised plan, you need to carry out the plan accordingly. Granted, you may need to be a little flexible with the execution of the plan. Managing money requires a good measure of discipline. An internal resolve to keep looking at the big picture and not allow sentiments push you into compromising standards. How you manage the money at your disposal today has an input into your future – the bright financial future that you desire. Many have remained poor because they ate the seeds that they could have planted. Those seeds could have grown into a large plantation. The owners of those seeds could have become plantation owners today.

Man relishes sudden money!

Photo Credit: iStockphotos.com

As I bring this article to an end, remember the strands of advice in this piece. Determine in your heart never to eat up the seeds. When you eat up your seeds, you eat up the plantations that would have grown from the investment of those seeds. Take advantage of every opportunity that you have today; it may take a long while before another opportunity of this magnitude shows up again, if at all it does. Seek to be financially literate. Envisage an increase and have a blueprint for managing your resources. When money comes suddenly, channel it into your plans. Grab it and make the best use of the opportunity. Your life will never remain the same!

This article was first published in Power To Get Wealth (PTGW, Dec. 15, 2009 – Jan.15, 2010), a monthly business journal by Wisdom Publishing House Int’l, Lagos.