How to Have Belief in Business

There are three facets to belief. If you are a Christian business owner, you must take these three things seriously in order to truly be successful in business and in life. These are foundational to who we are as Christians and as entrepreneurs.

Belief comes from an old German word that means “to hold dear, esteem and trust.” There is a lot of power in belief if we understand the belief pyramid. The three kinds of belief for Christian business owners are: belief in God, believe in self and belief in business.

Belief in God

I was talking to a multi-millionaire this weekend. We started talking about faith and he shared a great concept with me. He said, “I don’t know how people do it without faith. They have nothing above them to keep them from being dishonest.” He went on to explain that when people don’t have some sort of faith, they can do whatever they want. In business, that could mean taking advantage of others and running a business with little or no ethics. (It happens!)

Starting with a foundation that there is a God and He is bigger than us helps us get perspective about our place in the universe. We are part of something God is doing here on earth, and because of that, we want to help people and honor God with all of our decisions.

Belief in self

After we have a strong foundation in God, we must have a strong belief in ourselves. This one may be harder for some of us depending on what kind of family we come from. See, if we have been told we are worthless or that we will never amount to anything, those seeds of doubt can still grow even when our business is successful.

We must look at the belief in God first and build who we are based on what He says about our lives. Think about it for a moment. You may have had someone in your life tell you that you are not good enough, but our value does not come from people. Our value comes from God.

God calls us His children. He sent Jesus to earth for us. He loves us even when we were stuck in stupidity and sin. That means the God of the universe, who created us and everything in it, says we are good enough. We should revel in the fact that we are more than good enough for this world.

Belief in business

I know a lot of articles that would start with the belief in business, but I have found that other two must be foundational to what we do as Christian entrepreneurs. We must have a strong belief in God, which tells us who we are in this world, which informs what we do for our business.

In business, we are here to help others. We find a product or service that can benefit another person and offer it to them at a valuable price. Business is that simple. Yet, at the core of what we do in business, we must think about how God wants to impact the world and how our lives touches others.

Putting our beliefs together

I have talked to many people who want to start a certain business ‘because it will make good money.’ They jump on the bandwagon only to find it is a lot harder than they think and since they are focused on the money, they are never fulfilled in their business. They jump from business to business never really finding their place in the world.

I don’t want that to happen to you. I want you to have a strong core belief that God wants you to be in business. I want you to see that God created you with a strong purpose in this world to touch lives. And, God, the creator of everything, gave you the blessings and opportunities to be in business for Him.

Taking action

Do a quick evaluation for your life.

Start with God. What is your core belief in God? Is it based on a strong knowledge of scripture? If so, keep it up. If not, jump into some biblical studies and dig into God’s word.

Check on self. What is your purpose? Do you really believe that God put you on earth for a purpose? He did! If you are having trouble with your identity find a good friend, pastor or counselor. Really dig into who you are and find the truth of who God created you to be.

Evaluate your business. Why did God put you in your business? How does God want you to impact the world and share His love through your business? If you are not sure, dig into scriptures, join a Christian entrepreneur group, or just talk to a solid Christian mentor in your life.

Conclusion

I could write thousands of words, but none of it means anything if we don’t take action on our beliefs. We must take action on our belief in God, self and business if we truly want to be successful. God has placed His hand on your life, I know because you are reading these words and I am praying for you. You are called to be in business and you did not find this article by accident.

Avoid Bad Business Partners

Many people try to establish a Business Partnership with somebody and they get taken advantage of and screwed over! People are too trusting and naive and believe that a friend or relative is not going to take advantage of them or harm them. But no one can be trusted in business. No one.

Be careful and alert and aware of everything that you see, experience, and hear from your potential business partner or business partner. Look for the red flags that warn that something is wrong and that you are about to be taken advantage of.

Know what steps to take to protect your financial interests and determine whether or not your business partner is a scammer! Know what to do to protect yourself and your financial interests. Establishing a Business Partnership is very serious and challenging.

I got scammed and screwed over by my Business Partner. Do not become someone’s financial victim. I got taken advantage of and betrayed by someone who I knew for most of my life! Imagine that. We were really good friends. I mean really awesome friends.

He used to be a true friend who would take me everywhere and invite me everywhere and defend me from everyone. He would lift up my self-esteem and lift my spirits. Then he betrayed me and turned on me. And I never saw it coming. Never.

I was deceived little by little. I was vulnerable because I fully trusted him due to our Best Friendship. He used that against me. It was a very secretive and subtle economic agenda. I will share with you what happened.

He proposed to me a Business Partnership with a Business Goal that was convincing and realistic and attainable. Everything made sense. So we started working on the Business Goal. But something subtle was always wrong: he would not meet up with me often to work on the Business Goal.

I spent countless hours researching the Business Industry and Business Plan we were working on by myself and he would only meet up with me sometimes. At first he would regularly work on the Business Objective with me and we would do the work together. Then he started coming to work on the Financial Goal less and less until he would only rarely show up to work with me.

Me being naive and ignorant and dumb I continued to research the business even though he did not show up and suddenly I had all the information I needed. The time had come when we needed to start putting money into the business. He refused to put in a single cent into the Business Goal.

I still did not want to see how things were because I was dealing with my Best Friend. But as months and months passed by and then two years went by and he still did not want to put any money into the business I realized everything. I came to terms with how things were. My Best friend had betrayed me!!!

I finally had to admit that my best friend and business partner turned on me. That did a lot of harm to me and my spirit. I decided to protect myself and ended my Business Partnership with him and sent him a “Notice of Business Partnership Termination” informing him that our financial partnership was over.

I at last also ended my friendship with him. I just did what I had to do.

© COPYRIGHT 2016

3 Pillars of a Successful Business Partnership

My first business venture was a partnership. Working with another person with similar dreams was the only way I was able to get started as a business owner. We coupled my general business skills and money, along with his expertise and time. We operated three units of a local pizza restaurant franchise throughout the 1990′s. I kept my day job, and my partner took care of the day-to-day operations of the business.

I’ve gone on to experience less rewarding partnerships, and fortunately, much more fruitful ones as well. I now understand more clearly why I prefer working in teams, and how I am typically more productive combining my skills and energy with my partners’. Starting with that first successful teaming, I have come to understand and appreciate that at the foundation of a strong business partnership are the three pillars of trust, respect and agreement.

1. Trust

Before there can be anything meaningful and lasting in a relationship, there must be a mutual level of trust. Trust, however, takes time to develop.

I have known David Begin, my current partner in various ventures, since 1991. We met when we both worked for a large software company, and have remained friends over the years. Our families have travelled together, and we have developed a close bond over time. When the opportunity first arose for us to partner on a business, we had already developed a deep trust at a personal level. This trust has been the basis of our business relationship. We rely on the fact, as good partners must, that we have each other’s interests in mind – we have each other’s backs in any situation. We try to consider what’s best for the other person, and what’s makes most sense for the business overall.

If you have the advantage of considering a partnership with someone with whom you have a long-term relationship, then trust should already be established. But what if you have recently met the person you are considering going into business with? How do you develop trust in a short period of time?

In my opinion and experience, it’s difficult if not impossible to rush the development of personal trust. There are, however, techniques we can use to accelerate the development of trust in a business environment. It requires careful and calculated observation, applied techniques, and lots of intuition.

In his book “The Trusted Advisor”, author David Maister explains that in business relationships you can quickly improve your “trust factor” by increasing credibility, reliability and intimacy while reducing self-orientation. The “trust factor” is a measure of trust, from the perspective of the other person with whom you are conducting business.

When it comes to measuring the evolving trust you have in a new partner, it’s applicable to consider those same factors. If the person is potentially trustworthy, they will likely demonstrate credibility (they tend to be accurate, complete, and don’t tend to exaggerate their knowledge), reliability (they follow through on their promises and are consistent in their actions and behavior), and intimacy (they are candid, genuine, and emotionally open). Low self-orientation (meaning that they are not always focused on themselves, they are good listeners, and don’t exhibit a need to always be right and win at all costs) is the other important clue to help you judge the character of your potential partners. It’s often most effective to watch for these indicators during the most casual of situations, like during a meal at a restaurant when the other person may reveal more of their true self.

Partnerships may not be a fit for people who do not like to seek advice from others, who do not prefer to share success or blame, and if they don’t see value in the opinions of others. As you are getting to know your potential partner, be sure to listen and observe carefully to identify these characteristics.

It’s also probably not a good idea to partner just for financial reasons. Overlooking a mismatch in personalities and vision in the short-term because that person has the money you need may eventually result in a negative relationship.

2. Respect

An effective business partnership also depends upon mutual respect. Ideally, your partners bring complimentary skills and abilities to the team. Combined with each partner’s perspective and experience, the group is considerably stronger and more effective than any one person could ever be by themselves. Team members must have a level of respect for each other, which fosters a positive and productive business environment.

Recognition and positive feedback are important for showing and feeling respect. We must take the time to recognize and appreciate the efforts and input that all partners bring to the collaboration. We all naturally want to be recognized and respected for our individual contributions, even if those contributions are never implemented. You demonstrate respect for your partner when you value or simply acknowledge their input, ideas and perspectives.

Of course, to gain respect, you must be worthy of being respected. Earning respect is in large part based on being a good person and partner (are you someone who looks for the best in others and who follows through on your promises and commitments to the team?) telling the truth and being transparent, and genuinely caring about your teammates. Respect the people you work with, and they should respect you in return.

3. Agreement

There can be complete trust and honest respect in a business relationship, but it can all come tumbling down with one seemingly simple misunderstanding. “I thought you were going to do this?” “No, I assumed that you would do that!”

During the honeymoon phase of the relationship, when we are caught up in the excitement of the new business, we may be quick to make assumptions and avoid difficult conversations. Dodging critical questions and assuming that things will always be great often leads to ruinous arguments later.

It’s critical that you clearly define upfront who will do what and how much time each partner will invest in the business. You also have to discuss and agree on many other points including the terms of a future buy-out – either because one of the partners wants out, or there is a death.

My business partner and I benefit from, and prefer, what we refer to as “active partnerships”. These are partnerships where all members are contributing fairly equally. It provides us the financial benefit of spreading the risk, but also sharing the burden and responsibility of building and growing our small businesses. It often makes sense to bring in investors, however, who are not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.

Legal written partnership agreements are a must for any partnership. This typically includes an Operating Agreement and a Buy-Sell Agreement which is drafted by an attorney. The legal agreement defines all of the parameters and terms of the business, including who is the Managing Member, what capital is contributed by each member, and what happens when a member of the partnership wants to exit or can no longer perform their duties.

We recommend that you start with a Memo of Understanding. This is simply an outline that documents most of the terms of the partnership. Then you consult with an attorney to finalize the details and create the legal Operating Agreement. The key is to discuss and agree upfront on the terms of the partnership, and avoid the misunderstandings and resentment that can otherwise develop later.

There are many reasons why partnering may make best sense for your business venture, including funding (one partner or a “silent partner” provides the money for start-up), expertise (one partner has the expertise in the industry or business you are starting), and the desire to build a company with friends and family (although we always caution that you be careful when partnering with your friends and family as it may end badly). If you are like me, you may simply prefer, and be significantly more productive, when you combine your efforts with a partner. Regardless of the reasons, always consider the three pillars of trust, respect and agreement upon which successful business partnerships are usually based.