As an entrepreneur the greatest asset that you have is your reputation. The second most valuable asset that you have is your relationships. Your network will either help launch you and your business into a new stratosphere or it will keep you middling in mediocrity. The type of people you associate with on a regular basis are a good indicator of your long-term destination, whether that be success or failure.
So let's look at three critical relationships that will propel you to maximize your time, talents, and treasures as a Christian entrepreneur...
"Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory." ~ Proverbs 11:14
"So don't go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers." ~ Proverbs 24:6
If you're always the smartest person in the room you need to find some other rooms to hang out in. Don't be too prideful to take advice from those who are more knowledgeable or wise than you are. Surround yourself with experts in areas of your strengths and weaknesses. Allow those who have traveled the road before you help you to avoid the dangers that could delay or derail your destiny. Humble entrepreneurs are wise entrepreneurs when they recognize the value that others bring to their life and business. Take advantage of the wisdom in people God has placed in your life, and if you don't easily see it seek it outside of your comfort zone.
"When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited... But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests." ~ Luke 25: 8, 10
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you" ~ 1 Peter 5:6
Every Christian entrepreneur needs a "street team" of people who are singing your praises and recommending your solutions. It's great to toot your own horn, but it's even more effective to have an orchestra of raving fans playing your symphony. There is no better marketing than a satisfied customer. There also no better introduction than someone who can recommend you based on your character. But remember my opening statement... if you don't have a stellar reputation it will be hard to gather people who will stand with you in times of adversity.
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
"Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ." ~ Galatians 6:2
Even though you are in business for yourself you shouldn't be in business by yourself. If you want your business to grow, you must learn to sell your strengths and buy or barter your weaknesses. You will be in a much more strategic position as a business when you are able to find other people and businesses that complement your core competencies. Many entrepreneurs fail because they lack the willingness to get help and end up trying to do everything themselves. God told Adam it wasn't good for him to be alone, because he would not have been able to fulfill the mandate that He gave him to be fruit and multiply. Likewise, you won't be as fruitful or fulfilled in your business without employing the assistance of those who were assigned by God to help you flourish.
You may be a solopreneur, but entrepreneurship is not a solo sport. Even Jesus understood the importance of relationships. He had a close relationship with twelve men, but an even more intimate relationship with only three. If Jesus did it, it behooves us to follow his example. Find your advisers, advocates, and assistants so that you can fulfill your purpose and potential in your Kingdom business.
What are your thoughts? How do you determine who you allow into your inner circle of relationships? Add your comments below.
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Amos Johnson Jr.
Brotha Online Magazine
Business as Mission
The High Calling