Motivations & Manner of Business

Length: 4-minute read

As Pastor Tan Seow How shares in his previous articles (check it out here and here too), being a Christian in business boils down to two main things—motivations (heart) and manner (actions).

We’re thrilled to hear how you’ve been inspired by The Pastor & Businessman Series to start or run your business in a way that manifests both the Cross and the King—that’s great! That’s what we want for all Heart of God Church Christians in business! But now it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. Where and how do you go about doing that?

Well, we’ve got you covered. Here are 3 practical principles Pastor How shared during the launch of The Pastor & Businessman Series that will definitely help you.

PRINCIPLE #1

Set Your Customer Base Outside Church

Here’s the truth—if your business strategy or model only works on people in Heart of God Church, you probably need to relook its viability and robustness. 

Let’s face it. People in Heart of God Church, especially your friends, are very nice. They are very encouraging. They won’t want to hurt your feelings. They will find only good things to say about your product or service. Because they are your friends, they are already positively biased.

Doing business outside of church may not be as straightforward. The typical customer may not be as easy to please. So if you want to be a real entrepreneur, your business has to be able to withstand real market forces. 

And most importantly, while it can be tempting to think of people in church as an easy target, we should prioritise relationships over revenue. Don’t make use of relationships in church to build your business. Don’t see church as a hunting ground for sales. As Pastor How puts it, “We make money for the church, not from the church.”
If you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, does that mean I can’t ask my friends in church to support my business at all?”
That’s a great question, and it brings us to Principle #2.

PRINCIPLE #2

Serve People, Solve Problems

Can you sell to church people? Yes—IF your heart and motivations are right. 

Here’s the key—don’t just sell products. Serve people and solve problems.

If your business provides a product or service that meets a real need, solves an existing problem or satisfies a pre-existing want, then it’s okay to sell to a fellow churchmate. But if your church friends are buying from you just to support you, be nice to you or because they are feeling pressured by you, then it’s wrong.

This is the counterbalance to Principle #1. It’s not that you can’t have any customers from church at all. But it has to be natural and organic. In other words, don’t come to church to “target” people. Nevertheless, there is also no need to be apologetic about what you do. In fact, if someone in church is going to purchase the product / service anyway, they might as well get it from a church friend who has that business—hopefully that translates to a higher level of service and trust. 

If you really distill business down to its purest form, it is the meeting of two individuals—a customer who has a want / need / problem, and a seller who has the ability to meet the need, supply the want or solve the problem. That is a win-win. And the outcome is a financial transaction. 

So, should you sell to people in church?
If you are meeting a need, yes. 
If you are supplying a want, yes
If you are solving a problem, yes. 
If they would buy the product / service even if it wasn’t from you, go ahead. 
And if you can do it cheaper, better or faster—why not? 

At this point, it’s also worth pointing out that if you are buying from your church friends, don’t be so cheap that you abuse your access. Pay the full price. Don’t hustle them. Never use your Christian “status” as an excuse to take advantage of others or be a cheapskate. Prioritizing relationship over revenue works both ways. 

PRINCIPLE #3

Support Young People

For everything said so far, there is only one exception—it does not apply to youths taking their first steps as mini-entrepreneurs. 

As a church, we want to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in the young people. We have seen how this bolsters creativity, teaches them to save and budget (a miracle in itself!) and develops business skills they can use in the future. Take a look at some of our inspiring mini entrepreneurs right here.

So if you are a youth making your foray into entrepreneurial endeavors, please continue to sell your cookies, cupcakes, cards, notebooks, slime (yes that is a thing) or whatever creative idea you come up with.

To the rest of Heart of God Church, even if what the youths sell is completely unnecessary to you, let’s support them. 

In summary,
If a 14-year-old sells you slime, buy from them. 
But if a 40-year-old sells you slime, run. 

Slime sold by a budding 14-year-old HOGC entrepreneur.

Slime sold by a budding 14-year-old HOGC entrepreneur. Slime is a gooey, sticky substance originally used to teach kids science principles but has become a cultural phenomenon in recent years.

With both the right motivations and manner in place, it’s time for you to go and build a business that manifests both the Cross and the King. The world needs more entrepreneurs who operate with optimism guided by the fear of God as well as faith escorted by wisdom, so what are you waiting for? It’s time to go for it!

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