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Top 7 Business Ideas You Can Learn From Church <> If you look at the church closely you will realize that the whole operation and activities of the church has the resemblance of a business organization, although it is not a business. Hence if as an entrepreneur or business person you take time to study these operations and activities with the intent of using them in your business, you will be doing yourself and your business a lot of good. I’ll be using some case studies in this article, including RCCG, Living Faith Church, Dunamis, COZA, and Christ Embassy, etc. Now let’s take a look at some of these lessons.
Every entrepreneur and business starts with a mission. The mission guides the overall operations of the business. Now when you look at the church, all churches have their missions. These missions are usually in two folds – the first is the sole mission or purpose of preaching the Gospel, and the second is the specific mission of the founding pastor.
For instance, Dunamis will tell you that “they exist for the restoration of human destinies and dignities”. They then go further to say “no matter how battered or shattered your life is, God will gather it together at Dunamis”. This is their core mandate or mission. The mission of COZA is “to raise the take-over generation which have been called to re-establish God’s kingdom on earth”. The mission is to raise men and women who would take over in every sector and sphere of life, and as a result of this lots of entrepreneurs find their place in COZA.
The importance of mission to any organisation or business cannot be overemphasized. In fact one of the first things you learn in any business school is the importance of having a mission and craft it into a statement (mission statement).
The mission is very necessary for strategic direction; it defines the business, products or services, and the customers. Your business’ mission defines what your business is and why it exist. Take a look at Facebook’s mission “to give people the power to share and make the world more connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them”.
There is no business without a mission. So, in conclusion, the question I’ll ask you is what is your business’ mission? This is probably the hinge that holds a business.
- Team building
Having a team is one of the most important considerations for any business or organisation. In fact one of the things investors look out for in startups is the team behind the idea. They don’t just invest in the business, but also invest in the team – the team fuels their investment decisions. Many investors would rather invest in a good team with an average idea than in a great idea without a team. The church has been able to succeed due to its ability to build teams that will carry the pioneer’s mission forward. Even Jesus Christ who is the head of the church, had a team while he was on earth – he had disciples who followed him and believed in his mission. The mission of Christ was carried forward by his team until people later called them “Christians” because they behaved like Christ. No organisation can succeed without a team.
A good product with a poor team will eventually fail in the market because the team will run the business down, but an average product with a great team will find its place in the market. My advice to you is never to run solo. I looked at startups that have become great businesses today and understood the power of teams.
Most successful startups had partners. Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google; Facebook had Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes; Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor started Jumia; iROKO TV has Jason Njoku and Bastian Gotter. Who do you have?
One thing that affects many entrepreneurs in Nigeria is the thought of being the Chief Controlling Officer by having the controlling stake in the startup. But while they are focused on majority stake, a competitor is bringing up the same thing into the market. I tell people that I’d rather own 1 percent of a very successful company than own the controlling stake in a business that exist only in my diary. So, don’t sacrifice team at the altar of equity. less could mean more at times.
Marketing is the core of every business. It is the lifeblood of every business. The church is not a business yet it has a very aggressive marketing strategy and plan. Marketing is a communication between a business and its customers with the goal of selling its products and/or service. A major aspect of marketing is the communication of the value of an organization’s product or service. The church understands this and does it very well.
The church’s product is the Gospel and it is able to communicate this product and its value to unbelievers and even believers through evangelism, church programmes, tracks and flyers, etc. These tools help them to reach and communicate with the people.
Being an entrepreneur or a business person is not about siting in an office and drinking tea. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves and step out into the field to play the game.
For your business to be successful you must find a way to reach out and communicate with potential customers. It is the customers that sustain the business. Get out of that office and enter the field. And while marketing you must go out with marketing communication tools the same way churches do; most times churches go for evangelism with tracks and flyers.
These are communication tools that contain information about the church and what they stand for. Do same for your business; go out with your brochure, catalogue, flyer, and business card, etc.
The church has been very successful at building brands. Branding is the process of creating a unique name and image for a product in the customers’ mind, with a consistent theme. Branding is aimed at establishing a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
An effective brand strategy gives a business an edge in a competitive market. The name, logo, slogan, design scheme, colours, etc. are all associated with brands and branding.
Branding helps your business to be recognized by customers and creates an identity in their minds. Branding tools must be consistent, you can’t be changing your company’s logo every month and expect to build an identity. Everything must be consistent – from the logo to the colours, slogan, etc.
Although it is possible to re-brand (changing identity), but it is rather cheaper to maintain a successful brand than trying to build a new identity.
Churches are very successful at this – they’ve been able to build unique identities. These identities have imprinted images in the minds of their followers. Their logos and slogans are easily recognizable, and their colours are consistent.
A member of Dunamis doesn’t need to think much to identity the logo of the church with the fire, bible and globe; a winner can easily identify the church’s logo of a Globe and red fire; a redeemer can never miss the green write-up in a circle with a white dove in a blue background; the love-shaped Globe with the inscription Love world is easily recognized by members and even nonmembers of Christ Embassy. That’s branding.
You also must do same for your business. Have an identity that differentiates you from others and be consistent with it. Dunamis Church took the matter of branding to another level by ensuring almost all its branch buildings use the same colour of roof – blue. You need to take your branding serious. Why do you think Zenith bank went to the extent of ensuring their buildings have the same design and colours? It’s about branding. And don’t say your business is too small to brand; in fact that’s enough reason to brand so that you can create an image and identity in the minds of your target customers. You get lost in the market when you don’t brand.
An effective brand strategy leads to brand loyalty or what I call ‘brand hook’. I’ve realized that members of some churches find it hard attending church programmes in other churches.
Most times it’s not like they have anything against those churches, but it’s just that they’ve become hooked to their church, hence missing one service is just too much for them. That’s the power of branding.
- Lead Management
When you meet a potential customer who doesn’t make the buy decision at that time what do you do? You follow up on them until you are able to convert them fully from leads into customers, and then to loyal or repeat customers. Let’s see how it’s done in the church. In the church, after the message an altar call is made for those who want to give their lives to Christ. After they are led to say the prayer of salvation and prayed for by the pastor, they are then taken aside by the counselors and given a form to fill, containing their names and contacts.
This information enables the counselors to follow up on the new converts through phone calls and possibly physical visits. After much follow-ups, the new convert probably goes through the membership class of the church and becomes a full member and probably a worker in the church. Can you see the processes?
In your business you must learn to follow-up on leads. Just the same way the new converts (in your own case, prospects) are followed up until they are established in the Church, you also must ensure you convert your leads into paying customers. This means that you must always ensure you have a system of collecting the contacts of leads.
When you or your staff go out for marketing, ensure you collect a phone number of a contact person and follow-up on them.
This one is hot. It’s the core of most big churches, but some churches have taken the matter to another level. A case study is COZA (Commonwealth of Zion Assembly). Excellence is probably at the center of COZA. I was privileged to attend a number of services in COZA, Abuja and I must say that that church has built excellence into its organisational culture. From the premises, to the decor, the well-dressed ushers welcoming you to church and thanking you for coming after the service, the well suited protocol officers, the sound system in the church and the coordination of the service all exudes excellence.
Excellence is one factor that differentiates brands from commodities. When you see a Mercedes Benz car what comes to mind is excellent engineering and quality. That image positions it well in the market and gives it a competitive advantage. You can’t say you want to build a brand and yet be mediocre in your operations and service delivery.
To build a successful business and brand you must inculcate excellence into your organisational culture.
You can’t just package your proposals anyhow. What does your business card look like? No doubt, Excellence cost money but mediocrity is expensive. I’ve had to reprint proposals at some point because of some very little errors that many people would have overlooked. Excellence in itself is a marketing tool. It’s better not to do it at all than to do it anyhow.
In Dunamis they will tell you that God is an excellent God so it’s an abomination for you his product to be mediocre in your operations and activities. Excellence makes marketing easy.
Another very critical lesson to learn from the church is publicity. If you have the best product and nobody knows about it, then you are just wasting your time. You must blow your trumpet. One of the most effective strategies of the church is publicity. They don’t play with it. When a church is planning for a programme, they spend money publicizing it on various media – radio, TV, cable, digital media, flyers, and billboards, etc. These media help create visibility for the church.
When COZA came into Abuja, they spent lots of money raising billboards across the city (and they still do). This helped to create visibility, and with visibility comes patronage.
Business is about visibility. The more visible you are the more patronage you can get, and the more patronage you get, the more your revenue and profitability. Even established brands continue to create visibility through adverts, just to remind us that they are still around. The internet and digital media has even made it easy for businesses to create visibility.
So, don’t hide your business; create a business page on Facebook, have an account for your business on Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms. For instance, a fashion designer who ignores the power of social media (especially Instagram and Facebook) to create visibility for his or her products is missing a lot.
The popular and award winning comedienne, Emmanuella and her promoter Mark Angel used the power of social media, especially YouTube to create visibility for their product. When Jumia launched their service in 2012 they carried out an aggressive visibility creation strategy, TECNO mobile did it, Globacom did it, and Konga did it with the Infinix Zero campaign. Coca Cola did it and is still doing it so, why shouldn’t you?
Put your business there in the faces of customers and potential customers.
So in conclusion, whenever you are in church, be also open to learn things that can be used to grow your business. In addition to the spiritual benefits enjoyed as a result of spending time in God’s presence, a lot can also be gotten from the church to address every area of life including business.
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