As a woman growing your business, relationship building is one foundational piece. Whether you are a solopreneur, corporation or non-profit, you have to establish relationships to move your business forward. Doing business God’s way is no different. In retrospect, God expects women to seek His blueprint on business practices.
I’d like to introduce my co-blogger for this piece, Ashley Lounds-Brooks, who is an author and business strategist. Along with me, she will share some of her wisdom in this post on how women of God should operate in business. In this post, we will share three key principles of establishing your business doing things His way.
View your professional relationships as covenants. Tonya’s words of wisdom: God never makes a mistake when He makes possible for the relationships we develop. The people we network with are for our development. In business, we have to change our point of view in how we see those relationships. For example, In my book Women on Purpose: Bible and Business, God addresses the covenant between Jacob and Esau. God views even our relationships as covenants. When we sign the dotted line to take on a project, job, marriage, etc., we have just entered a covenant. A relationship ties us for specific purposes. Covenants are more than just mere promises, they are guaranteed connections that last beyond the initial association. Have you ever thought about how a relationship that you established ten years ago could catapult you in your professional destiny ten years later? View your business relationships as seeds to nurture your purpose and destiny along the way, instead of mere occasions or acquaintances.
The relationships that we establish benefit in people getting to know not only about us, but actually know who we are, what we stand for, and our business ethics and principles. This goes a long way when you’re growing by leaps and bounds in your business and needing avenues to perform that growth.
Ashley’s words of wisdom: You should always be growing your following and in doing so that means establishing relationships with people. People do business with people that they like. No one can like you, if they don’t know you. Relationships can carry you a long way. You never know who people know. If you have a good relationship with someone, doors and opportunities can be opened for you.
Address complacency with a vengeance. Ashley’s words of wisdom: Complacency is friends with familiarity and comfortable. Complacency is defined as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc. I want to focus on the first part that states “often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like”. When we become complacent, we have a false sense of security. I’ve see this a lot in business. We get to what we think is “our arrival” and we celebrate. Which is great because you should celebrate your victories but you shouldn’t stay there. You should always be learning and finding ways to not only improve your business but improve yourself.
Tonya’s words of wisdom: Complacency can be a killer to your business. There are key tools that you need to destroy complacency. One tool is drive. Don’t be satisfied with just doing the norm. There are over 300,000 people who start businesses a MONTH! That may seem like an overwhelming number, but barely 1% of those actually sustain their business after the first year. Just starting the business can’t be enough. Stay attentive to your business by asking yourself these questions: What is your “why”? What is the reason you’re taking the leap into entrepreneurship? It is easy to become complacent in where you are out of fear to move into the unknown of your next level. I address complacency in Women on Purpose. Israel had become accustomed to the norm of their religion, in hopes that it would carry through in the favor of God. Their relationship with God was no longer driven by passion, but became an item on their religious to-do list. This leads to my next key tool, which is have passion. Just as Israel had lost their passion for their relationship with God, we tend to lose passion when it comes to building our businesses. We settle for whatever comes, taking the scraps of the industry, when God is leading us to go higher.
Operate your business with integrity. Ashley’s words of wisdom: Being integral (honest) is essential in the Christian walk and especially in business. You should want to be known as a person who can keep their word. If your word is no good, why should anyone trust you or what you may be offering? Matthew 7:16 tells us that we are known by our fruit. Let us be examples by living lives of integrity and truthfulness.
One of my business strategies that I teach women who want to start successful businesses from my Groomed for Excellency program, is to do things God's way, using Godly principles. God is the author of integrity, and who better to pattern starting and building a business?
Proverbs 10:9 says, whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes a crooked path will be found out. Simply put, if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember a lie. Have you ever meet someone that whenever they tell or story or give information something always seems off, or the facts change each time they tell the story? So now every time you hear them talking you doubt what they are saying is true. You don’t want to be the person, no one believes. Proverbs 18:6-7 states ‘Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating. The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.
Proverbs 22:1 states ‘A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.’ Having ‘goodness’ associated to your name is valuable, it provides you opportunities that money can’t buy. Being a woman of good character and integral has proceeded me so, that I have been given opportunities by just my name alone. It is a virtue that should be treasured and in due time provide with a reward that you couldn’t imagine.
In starting - or starting over - in business, use these key tools to serve as a foundation to build upon. They are not only essential, but they are tried and proven to yield a return beyond imagination. Seek to start, nurture, build and empower your business, God's way by God's principles.
Guest co-blogger: ASHLEY LOUNDS-BROOKS is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and the creator of the Live By Faith brand. She is an author and business strategist that specializes in helping millennial women start successful businesses using a 7 step system. She is the founder of a nonprofit organization C.L.A.S.S.I.C. (Christian Ladies Altogether Standing Against Social Injustice Corporation), owner of Christian apparel company 1st Kings Apparel and creator of the Live by Faith app and brand (www.livebyfaithbrand.com). Her ultimate goal is to be an example of living a fulfilling life while serving God.
Have you ever set goals to only have them sit idly in your planner, on your vision board, or in your phone, but are never reached? What hinders you from setting goals that are successful? What is the missing link in placing that checkmark of accomplishment next to your goals? In this blog, I’m going to share with you some tips that will motivate you to re-think and revamp your goals for the second quarter of the year.
Don’t feel defeated! Yes, it is already March, and you have only a few weeks to do the things that you set out to do in January, to only find yourself still trying to pull everything together from December. You are not alone, and often times when we’re goal setting, we are just calling out objectives that we either have no plans of really accomplishing or setting the bar way too high, that by mid-January, we’re already ready to give up and throw in the towel.
Set SMART Goals
I know you may have already heard of the SMART model, and it is a handy guide to building the objectives of what you’re trying to accomplish. Make sure you apply this model to help you. To dig a little deeper in using this model, let’s take a look at each component.
S – Be specific. Narrow down your goals. Broad topics will have you all over the place. Streamline what it is that you want to do to the bare basics.
M – Make sure it is measurable. The sure way to be defeated is to set your bar way too high way too soon. Be sure that it is something you can actually do right now and have the ability to measure the success rate of it.
A – Achievable. Is this something you can do right now? Or is it something that can actually wait down the road? Don’t kill your motivation before it gets started. Set goals that you can actually achieve. Small successes are better than setting high bars to never succeed.
R – Be realistic. Come on, now you know you’re 45 and you have a $400 budget; so there is no way you’re going to Aruba and hang glide. Set goals that are realistic, but will stretch your dreamcasting (I’ll blog about that later).
T – Set a timeline. If you’re in business, you understand the importance of time management and meeting deadlines. It is a real killer to have ideas floating in outer space somewhere that soon get lost and you never end up achieving them. Be clear about what you want to do, and when you plan to accomplish it. This teaches you accountability.
The Object of Your Affection
What is that one thing you want to do more than anything? What is that one object of your affection? Is it completing a business training? Is it writing that first book? Is it taking that leap of faith and creating that first webinar? What makes your heart leap and drives you to satisfaction with success?
That one “thing” is what your focus should be honed in on. It is what you’re going to invest your resources and sweat equity into. Don’t be afraid to be fanatical about what you’re affectionate about. This is where all of your creative juices are going to flow, because it’s what you desire to do the most. Your affection is going to open the floodgates to making it happen. The success rate of whatever plan you set in motion is going to be determined by your level of affection for it.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t be afraid of it. Take your goals by the horns and put all of your passion and planning into it. Plan with a heart to actually achieve it, instead of just dreaming about it. Success is what you make it to be. There is no one formula to success, only you determine that for yourself. Your level of motivation can be drowned or watered to nurture based on how well you plan for them. Be intentional and have fun!
And don't forget to get your freebie from me today. Your own Goal Builder Worksheet. Set.Plan.Goal!
God has given you a gift to write, and you're doing an excellent job at pecking away your passions, thoughts, and creativity. But how do you incorporate Him? How do you keep it real, without losing your audience or come off as "preachy"?
When God inspires you, He inspires the creativity. That's the wonderful thing about being a writer. Because He is in you, you are in Him. That means that whatever you write, allow Him to shape your writing. It may not necessarily come out in verbatim scripture form, but it shines just as bright.
Remember the Word of God is to draw us closer to Him. Examine your purpose (why) and your goal (what you want to achieve) in your writing. Align those two principles with what God's word says, and watch how He will inspire and impart scripture into both your "why" and your "what."
Being a Christian writer isn't about quoting scriptures throughout your work; it is about being an agent of change to Godly living. Something written on those pages has to be a part of a change that takes place in the reader's heart and mind that causes them to turn away from their fleshly desires, and want to know God even the more.
Fictional writing isn't just about entertaining, it is about making a difference such as: Encouragement, Motivation, or even bringing Repentance to your reader. What scriptures and examples of scriptures align with your "why" and your "what?" What difference does God want you to make in your writing for Him?
To incorporate God is to incorporate truth, which is to incorporate a chance to make a difference. To incorporate Him is to seek Him during the story plot stages, the manuscript development, the character analysis, and the climactic themes. Ask Him what is it that He wants you to tell your readers? Study to show your own self approved in being a storyteller for Him. As you incorporate Him in your own daily life, He will incorporate Himself in the life of your writing.
When becoming a writer, you get excited about creating the story, getting the finished product and making the money... But getting reviews may get pushed to the backburner of important things to do in marketing your book to the big bucks.
Below, I'm sharing a few ideas on how to get your book reviewed:
• Google is your bestie. Check out websites that do book reviews. There are some free, and some that charge, such as www.theindiereview.com, www.onlinebookclub.org, www.urbanreviewsonline.com, and for children's books: www.5minutesforbooks.com.
• Ask your family and friends. Create preview links with a PDF of a chapter reveal/sample or create a NOTES document on Facebook or on your website and invite people to read and leave a review. You can use these reviews for your EPK or media kits.
• Build relationships with other authors in your genre, and solicit them to do a reading of a reveal or manuscript to use their comments as reviews.
• Ask genre bloggers to host or introduce your book on their blog. This provides great exposure as well as helps you to develop or solidify your audience.
• Join sites such as Goodreads and post a synopsis of your book, and ask your friends to read it and generate activity and recognition to it.