As of 2010, a Census from the Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) published a report stating that 99.7 % of all American businesses are small businesses. In addition, 49.2 % of the private sector workforce is employed by small businesses. Various Faith-Based polls reported that 70.6% of Americans polled claimed to be of the Christian faith. With that in mind, the likelihood of providing consultation to businesses that practice Christian principles could average around 35%. Why is this important? Because as management consultants we have a responsibility to be sensitive to the Christian culture and to align our business approach to their Christian Values and Beliefs.
So what makes each point of view different?
When it comes to Finance Managing money is black & white. The numbers are what they are. In my 17 years of experience, the most significant difference I have noticed between the two business views, in general, is how they manage their overdue Accounts Receivables. Overdue Accounts Receivables in traditional business are often a result of neglect and procrastination. As for Christian owned companies, most have allowed overdue Accounts Receivables to accumulate due to not wanting to create pressure on themselves and their customers. Christian business owners expect their customer to do the right thing and pay what is owed them. A continuation of this practice decreases working capital, prolongs the pain to collect, drives a negative working relationship and may contribute to increased business write-offs if not addressed appropriately.
Activities- When it comes to Operations, the processes are much the same for employees who are impacted by a change of any sort. The difference, however, is when it comes to customer service, traditional businesses utilize Best Practices, on the other hand, Christian owned companies tend to focus more on the guidance of Biblical principles.
People & Performance – When it comes to People & Performance this is where communications are equally important. Managing people and their performance requires fair but firm management. Tough conversations are always difficult for either side. As small to medium size business consultants, we are working with family-owned businesses. However, the difference is generally in the urgency to make a change. In my experience, Christian companies practice more patience and compassion with people vs. their traditional counterpart who tend to emphasize fixing a broken process, sometimes even if it means disposing of personnel.
Sales /Marketing- With sales and marketing, this will rely on the personnel themselves. Traditional Businesses in the past have allowed the practice of embellishment and the omitting of pertinent facts to acquire a sale. Historically, “Sales overlooked a multitude of sins.” This practice was universal in all types of businesses from small to large. We have witnessed in modern times a collapse in the housing market, pharmaceutical wrongdoings and failure to address safety concerns in the automotive industry. The use of these questionable policies is placing profits above principles. A Christian approach, in general, is to be more transparent and trustworthy.
*A General Understanding of Biblical Principles as Applied in Christian Owned Business:
• Trust God for results. Be accountable to God for results.
• Rely on God’s provision for profit.
• Give accountability to a small group of peers for key decisions.
• Regularly spoken witness of Jesus Christ’s influence in the company.
• Maintain biblical principles in decision making.
• Family comes before business.
• Be an excellent example.
• Reward people for good work.
• Be a part of a team.
• Work for the good of our clients, our staff, and our organization.
• Be trusted by fellow staff, clients, and vendors.
• Treat suppliers with respect and courtesy. Pay our bills on time.
• Make a positive contribution to protecting the environment.
• Share in the financial prosperity of the company.
• Recognize that each individual has an important contribution regardless of his/her experience.
• Depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit in decisions in the company.
• Confront differences with an individual before discussing matters with others.
• Will not discriminate in regard to race or color.
• Meet for prayer on a regular basis.
• Avoid incurring debt.
• Maintain high levels of quality control.
• Make periodic salary adjustments matched to changing needs.
• Allocate time to pray, think and reflect.
• Get input from wives and husbands on important family and business issues.
• Fellowship with staff and family shall be an integral part of a caring workplace.
Be sensitive when communicating with Christian Leaders. Be firm but fair. As a trusted advisor, understand how decisions were made, or how they will be made. Consider the culture and the values in which the Christian owned business operates. Then align and collaborate processes and policies into their practice.
*Establishing Operational Values for Your Business
Os Hillman • Entrepreneurship / in the workplace
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: