Recipe for Success

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Joshua commanding the sun to stand still

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Following a recipe in the kitchen usually leads to success. Using the right combination of ingredients, the correct measurements, the exact temperature and cooking time results in a delicious meal that everyone will enjoy. But consider for a moment what that meal would be like if you didn’t follow those instructions. I don’t know about you but the best way for me to make a delicious, successful meal is to follow the recipe that I’ve obtained from someone else. Someone who has tried it and succeeded. Someone who is more of an authority than I am. Those times when I’ve tried to do things on my own, I’ve created a mess.

 

Joshua 1:8 says. “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (NLT) Without God’s instructions, Joshua would have failed at leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. The first step was to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6). Next, he was to continually study God’s Word. Finally, he was to do everything that it said. As long as Joshua followed the directions, God promised him “prosperity and success”.

 

God’s recipe for success can work for us in business too. His idea of success has little to do with money or popularity. In the original Hebrew, “then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” means “then you will act wisely.” Just as God called Joshua to walk in wisdom, He wants us to “be careful how we live, not like fools, but like those who are wise.” (Eph. 5:15)

 

Acting wisely, making wise business decisions, will produce peace and comfort for you, your family, and your team members and is essential for business prosperity. If you would like to learn more about how you can transform your business using the Bible as your guide, email me at info@commonsensecfo.com.

 

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Operations Manual

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Sample mission statement

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Business trips, vacations, illness or injury, family issues. There are many reasons you might be absent from your business. Whatever the reason, having an operations manual will provide vital information and step-by-step guidance so business can continue without interruption. If you don’t have one, you should.

Begin your operations manual with your mission statement or a brief description of your goals and values. List the products and services you offer. Depending on how large your company is, you may want to create an organizational chart with titles, job descriptions, and employee names. Include complete contact information for key employees, vendors, clients, insurance companies, security, and IT support staff.

To be effective, your operations manual should have step-by-step documentation (best practices) for all business procedures, from unlocking the doors in the morning, to running reports, processing checks, recording sales, and turning the lights off at night. Spell out important policies, especially those applying to such matters as discounts, returns, refunds, and the like.

Once your manual is written, all the details pertinent to running your business will be in one place. Make cross-training your employees a priority. Plan to review and update your manual regularly. Not only will you be able to be absent from your business, it will also help your business run more smoothly and improve profitability.

Maintaining a complete and current operations manual is essential for business prosperity. If you would like to learn more about preparing and maintaining an operations manual, or if want to learn how a part-time, virtual CFO can help transform your business using the Bible as our guide, email me at info@commonsensecfo.com or call Kirk at 402-658-7340.

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A Radical Approach to Business Management

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GOD'S WORD
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That’s how Larry Burkett describes managing a business based on biblical principles. The Bible’s focus is more concerned with eternity than with profits where as most business schools focus on the bottom line.

In America the use of the Bible as a business text actually goes back hundreds of years. Business principles differed then too. Honesty, ethics, and moral values were taught in the classrooms of all major business schools. Professors placed strong emphasis on a company’s responsibility toward its employees, customers, and creditors. Prior to the twentieth century, business courses, and business schools themselves, were based on biblical principles. In reality, they were biblical schools that were training future business leaders.

What happened?

After the Civil War, the federal government assumed a stronger position in the private sector. After World War I, unions gained political power. Prior to the Great Depression, we had been an equity-funded nation. But that time caused a general lack of confidence in the stock market and after World War II, debt surpassed equity in business. Most companies found it cheaper and easier to borrow money than to raise it through equity funding. This debt funding has continued through today.

As Larry points out, the one principle that vividly stands out is that God’s people should be debt-free. Too much debt makes the business vulnerable to interest rate swings. According to one statistic, 60 percent of all American businesses are potentially unprofitable once the interest rates reach 15 percent. I have a feeling that threshold may have lowered since that study was completed. Our lack of fiscal discipline and our obsession with quick profits make U.S. Industry vulnerable.

God’s principles of business are not offered “cafeteria style.” In other words, you can’t simply pick and choose those you like and ignore those you don’t. God’s Word sets up a whole structure by which a business is to operate: a foundation. You can build a business without a sound foundation. But when the wind blows and waves come, it will collapse. God’s Word is the Rock upon which a business must be built. (1)

Do the biblical principles of business work? Yes, without question – over the long run. If you’re looking just for quick profits, don’t choose God’s way. However, if you desire long-term growth and stability, God’s way is the only way.

Business God’s way is essential for long-term growth and stability. If you would like to learn more about running your business God’s way, email me at info@commonsensecfo.com or call Kirk at 402-658-7340.
(1) “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25 (NKJV)

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Be a Good Steward

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In our capitalist society, it is inevitable that money will flow in mass quantities toward what we value. For a moment, consider the highest paid people in our country. Are actors and athletes really the most important people in our society? What does this say about where our hearts are today?

In Luke 16: 1-12, Jesus asks the listener to identify with the shrewd manager while our Heavenly Father is depicted by the rich man. I believe the importance of the analogy is that the manager owns none of the resources in question: the rich man owned it all and had placed it under the manager’s care. The manager had betrayed his position of trust by “wasting” the rich man’s possessions and, in verse 2, was called upon to “

give an account of his management.” The manager reacted by using his lame duck position to create some goodwill for himself using the rich man’s accounts receivable. Biblical scholars disagree as to whether the manager’s acts of discontinuing the accounts represented simple dishonesty or making amends for past overcharges or perhaps reversing greedy interest charges.

It is clear from verse 8 that the acts were “dishonest.” So why did the rich man commend these unscrupulous acts? I believe the answer lies in verse 9 where Jesus explains God’s economy and His expectations of our stewardship of His resources. Jesus told the listeners to “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” We will be called to give an account of our stewardship when we stand before our Heavenly Father. That is the day when our worldly wealth will be gone. When John D. Rockefeller’s accountant was asked how much Rockefeller had left behind when he died, he answered, “All of it.” And so it will be with us.

John D. Rockefeller 1885

God wants us to use the assets He has entrusted to us to invest in the kingdom of God and in others. Wasting His resources on our own temporal pursuits will not pass without an audit. Further, we read in verse 11 that if we are untrustworthy in trivial matters such as money, how can God bless us with “true riches” which are spiritual. I encourage you to find out what your Heavenly Master requires of you regarding the stewardship of His earthly resources and be faithful to His call. For only then can God trust you with the treasure that is His presence.

Some questions to meditate on:

  • How are God’s resources being wasted today (in the world and in your business)?
  • What has God called you to do with the assets (personal and business) He has entrusted to your care?

Being a good steward is essential for business prosperity. If you would like to discuss more about being a good steward with your business, or how a part-time, virtual CFO can help transform your business using the Bible as our guide, email me at info@commonsensecfo.com or call Kirk at 402-658-7340.

God created it all: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)

God owns it all: The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. Psalms 24:1 (NASB)

We are trustees of what He give us: Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NLT)

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Hiring Tips

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Having quality employees is essential for business prosperity. Here are 10 things to consider to improve the quality of your employees:

  1. Proper hiring creates a good team. A good team lowers turnover. Lower turnover equates to more profit. Consider both the cost of lost productivity and reduced team morale.
  2. Team members typically leave or are let go most often because they never should have been hired in the first place. This is really a character issue.
  3. Take your time when filling positions. It is better to find “the right” hire rather than “the best” hire.
  4. When you are posting a position, give enough information for candidates to rule you out without wasting your time.
  5. Word your posting in such a way as to attract the personality and character traits you want.
  6. Look for a team member with a combination of opportunistic motivation and philosophical motivation.
  7. Never sell a “Job”. Always have an “Opportunity” available – work that matters.
  8. Set short initial interviews that are no longer than 30 minutes. Listen for 20 minutes and talk for only 10. God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth – keep the listening to speaking ratio the same. Determine if the candidate is only looking for a paycheck. At this point, you’re weeding out those that are not a fit for your culture. Future interviews should be longer and more involved.
  9. If the candidate is preoccupied by benefits and compensation, you will never be able to do enough to keep them happy.
  10. The person hired properly will perform better, will not cause problems, and will be more likely to stay.

If you would like to learn about 12 Steps to a Proper Hire – that will lead you consistently to “the right hire”, or how a part-time, virtual CFO can help transform your business using the Bible as our guide, email me at commonsensecfo@yahoo.com or call Kirk at 402-658-7340.

Set Priorities for Use of Time

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Scripture doesn’t directly address the work week, but does seem to indicate that a six-day work week is not excessive. When you as a business owner or manager consistently adopts an excessively long work day that seldom provides for any relaxation or outside activities, you’re establishing an unwritten policy that the only way to get ahead is to work long hours. This puts your employees, and you, under great stress and eventually leads to decreased productivity. (1) This ultimately causes high turnover and necessitates higher salaries (increased costs) to entice new employees. Owners and business managers must understand that money is only a temporary motivator. A balance must be struck, for you and your employees, between Career, Financial, Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Family, and Social – your “Wheel of Life”. (2)

Business planning is essential for business prosperity. Businesses, like people, don’t plan to fail – they fail to plan. If you would like to learn more about business planning from a biblical perspective or how I can help transform your business using the Bible as our guide, email me at commonsensecfo@yahoo.com or call Kirk at 402-658-7340.

(1) Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds. Proverbs 27:23 (NLT)

(2) And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NKJV) (emphasis added)

Financial Priorities

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Basically, this comes down to who gets paid first when cash gets tight.  Here’s how I believe Scripture instructs us to prioritize:

  • Priority 1:  Pay Suppliers.  Without a doubt, those who provide materials on credit have the first right to any available income from a business. (1) Since they have provided the materials, they have already invested their time and money, and they hold the position of highest honor, financial speaking. (2) If you know something you are doing is wrong and persist in it, God will not listen.   (3)
  • Priority 2:  Pay Employees.  Once the creditors are paid, the next priority is to pay the employees what is due them.  This is contrary to common business practice. (4) More often than not, the owner or manager of a business can better afford to lose a paycheck than the employees can.
  • Priority 3:  Meet owner’s needs.  Once you are sure that the creditors have been paid and the employees have received their due compensation, then the owner or manager should pay their portion.  The critical decision in this and other matters becomes whether to obey God’s Word or to adopt the common practices of society

Business planning is essential for business prosperity.  Businesses, like people, don’t plan to fail – they fail to plan.  If you would like to learn more about business planning from a biblical perspective or how I can help transform your business using the Bible as our guide, email me at commonsensecfo@yahoo.com or call Kirk at 402-658-7340.

(1) The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. Proverbs 12:22 (NLT)

(2) Do not withhold good [payment] from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. Proverbs 3:27 (NKJV) (emphasis added)

(3) If I regard iniquity in my heart,The Lord will not hear. Psalms 66:18 (NKJV)

(4) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)

Business Planning

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Planning and goal setting are synonymous terms.  In order to do good planning you must first establish some realistic goals, both short-term and long-term, and in order to accomplish some realistic goals you must do some planning.  When considering business planning, begin by establishing the long-term goal or purpose for your business.  In reality there is one primary purpose for a Christian’s business:  to glorify God. (1)

In practice, glorifying God with your business functions like this:

  1. Fund the Gospel
  2. Meet Needs
  3. Be a Disciple
  4. Make a Profit

Once you’ve established the long-range goals for your business, the next step is to set specific, short-term operational goals.  We’ll break those down as follows:

  1. Setting Priorities for the Use of Money
  2. Financial Priorities
  3. Time Priorities
  4. Ethical Priorities

Business planning is essential for business prosperity.  Businesses, like people, don’t plan to fail – they fail to plan.  If you would like to learn more about business planning from a biblical perspective or how I can help transform your business using the Bible as our guide, email me at commonsensecfo@yahoo.com or call Kirk at 402-658-7340.

(1) Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31(NKJV)