Because ‘getting wisdom and understanding’ (Proverbs 4:5) will set you on a surer road to prospering.
Being the owner of a business carries a lot of responsibility involving tough decisions.
That’s why I’ve listed ten of my favourite proverbs, from the Bible’s book of Proverbs.
If you take advice from proverbs like these, you will increase the chances of growing and sustain your business.
That is without a doubt.
Thank God, He’s given us this wonderful little book of Proverbs in the Bible. It’s here to help ground us in the tough day to day reality of living good lives for Him.
Bible and business proverb #1: test your business idea or new offering.
Prepare your work outside, get everything ready for you in the field; and after that build your house. Proverbs 24:7.
Getting ready to start your business means doing your research ‘in the field.’
Market research is essential to ensure you know as much about your customers, sector or niche as you can.
Assumptions based on your gut feeling are highly risky. ‘Build it and they will come’ is the worst advice.
Researching and understanding as much as you can about the market you’re providing to will save yourself problems in the future.
Bible and business proverb #2: be proactive to find opportunities.
The timid become destitute but the aggressive gain riches. Proverbs 11:16b.
You can’t be shy in business.
You have to get out there and make it happen. And that means keeping an eye out for opportunities and customers.
Because the only way people will buy from you is if you make yourself known in the marketplace.
But there are lots of ways you can do this. It could be through social media, trade fairs, market stalls or referrals to name just a few.
Creating a good network is also essential to support your own internal business development.
You can skill swap with other business owners to make sure your own needs are covered.
So don’t be reticent. You’ll be surprised just how helpful people can be. Especially if there’s mutual benefit.
Bible and business proverb #3: your brand is who you are.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favour is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1.
A good name and good will are priceless. And that’s why building a strong brand is a must do.
Even if you’re a small fish in a giant lake.
Your brand is a proxy for your business. It represents what you stand for wherever people meet it.
Your brand is also the promise to your customers. So it must be genuine and consistent.
People will love brands or hate them for exactly these reasons.
So a big warning here: if the brand isn’t true to the values the business trades on then it loses value and customers.
And that means the business will soon suffer.
‘A good name is to be chosen rather than riches’. So build your brand and your reputation and the rewards will eventually come.
Bible and business proverb #4: word of mouth marketing is key.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth— a stranger, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27.2.
Trust is a key factor for any business and It’s very important when starting out. It’s the primary way to can retain customers and attract new ones.
One effective marketing tactic is the age old tried and tested ‘word of mouth’ method.
If you do an amazing job and exceed your customers’ expectations then there’s every chance more business will come through recommendations.
Everybody likes to tell others about the place product or service they’ve discovered.
If you deliver consistently you’ll grow a loyal base that will share their experiences with others.
What’s more, don’t neglect the power of a good customer testimonial. Especially those written by your target customer. It will resonate with new prospects.
Bible and business proverb #5: employ the right people
Like vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, so are the lazy to their employers. Proverbs 10:26.
I’ve met too many business owners dragged down by the impact of a bad employee. It drains energy and focus.
Employing the right person is a challenge and it’s too easy to get wrong.
Some things to consider are carrying strong values in your business that you employ people with.
Do seriously consider employing someone with a different skill set to you. It will balance your weak points.
And good attitude is essential. You can do a lot with someone who has the right attitude if not all the exact skills you need. So long as they’re capable of developing.
Otherwise, you’re stuck with the unpleasantness of vinegar and smoke. And with that, I feel your pain.
Bible and business proverb #6: incentivise yourself and your team.
The appetite of workers works for them; their hunger urges them on. Proverbs 16:26.
Having an end goal for your business will help you stay focused and deliver results.
Even better if you can tie this in with your employees and reward them when key milestones are reached.
So don’t underestimate the power of incentivising to motivate your team (or yourself).
The funny thing is people are motivated by quite different things.
For some, it’s to own a share in the business. Yet for others, the title is all important.
Be mindful of their motivation and harness it.
As the proverb says, go with their ‘appetite’. That way none of you will go hungry.
Bible and business proverb #7: be prudent with your finances.
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Proverbs 22:7.
So you have the most amazing business idea in the world. All you need is a nice big loan to get you started. Because you need to invest a lot to make a lot.
Wherever possible, keep your start-up costs as low as possible.
One approach is the lean startup methodology. It’s a tried and tested way of testing if there’s any market appetite for your idea. It also helps to minimise risk and sustain overheads.
The last thing you want is a failed enterprise and an unhappy bank manager or investor banging on your door.
Then you really will become ‘the slave to the lender’.
Bible and business proverb #8: know the cash position of your business.
Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds; Proverbs 27:23.
Not having enough cash reserve in the business is a big reason for small businesses failing.
That’s why it’s essential to be on top of your finances at all times.
A way to do this is to have up to date management accounts. It’s a way to keep on top of the money coming in and going out.
Take some time to get this right. It could save your business by giving you warning of problems ahead.
In other words, ‘know the condition of your flocks’. Because there are always wolves at the door.
Bible and business proverb #9: find your work-life balance.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to desist. Proverbs 23:4.
Running your own business will test you in ways you can’t anticipate. You will have good days and bad days.
That’s why it’s essential to keep a perspective on what it is you’re doing and why.
Don’t let the passion die out of your business but at the same time know that there’s more to life than this.
Take time out to rest, refresh and take strength from loved ones and friends who support you.
Because at the end of the day they are the most important thing you have.
Bible and business proverb #10: don’t rest on success.
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1.
There aren’t many opportunities to put your feet up when running a business.
Today’s world is constantly changing and so is the marketplace. That always creates new opportunities but also advantages for competitors.
That’s why you shouldn’t assume all will be as it has been. Being humble is recognising there’s no guarantee you will be in the same place as you are today.
And that means future proofing your business as best as you can to new trends and changes.
Complacency unfortunately costs.
Remember who you’re working for.
Lastly, do everything for the Lord. Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3.
In whatever we do we shouldn’t forget where our higher focus is. It is for His glory. He provides everything, even business opportunities, and the wise advice we find in the Bible’s book of Proverbs.
Jeremy – Not Only Sundays (About Us).
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