Work Diligently for the Lord – Proverbs 12:24

Here’s something good for you today: “The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” (Prov. 12:24, Peterson)

This idea really speaks to the type of attitude a Christian business woman should have.   Being diligent means to stay the course that Christ has given you to follow, no matter what you encounter and at least until He gives you a new direction to take.  In planning your day, dedicate all of it to the Lord and keep your eyes on the prize that He has promised to you.

I know a lot of people who choose not to be diligent in their work.  Their attitudes are very different than the people who love to work, even when they are tired or not seeing immediate results from their efforts. The non-diligent are easily discouraged and need a lot of motivation from other people to keep going.  They often complain about their work and talk about being elsewhere.  If these people are trying to be entrepreneurs, they find it difficult to get going and succeed.  Being in business on your own takes a lot of diligence and without it, success will be hard to achieve.

On the other side, the diligent people get a real sense of peace from working hard. That peace brings the freedom that doing work with the Lord in mind promises.   Instead of seeing the negative, there is only the positive about what happens in the workday.   Customers get served with a smile.  Even tough times provide lessons that only make work easier on the next try.

Think about you attitude as you work.  Are you being diligent in all that you do?  Are you feeling the freedom that comes through working with that joy in your heart?  Have a great work day my sisters.

Get support to work diligently in your business by joining NACWIB.  For only an annual fee or low monthly investment, get access to a business planning workshop, a workshop on setting your business up on the Internet, WordPress videos and much more.  Each month, new support materials are added to help you have success in your business.  Click HERE to join NACWIB today.

Should Christian Business Women Hire a Marketing Consultant?

Depending on your business and how far along you are,  a marketing consultant may be important in helping your business to grow.   Christian business women are now starting to work with marketing consultants to assist with entrepreneurial firms,  large corporations or non-profits.  Marketing consultant have client businesses that span a whole range of different industries. Essentially, any company that’s focused on marketing, that cares about their brand or wants to bring in new customers could use the services of a marketing consultant. Knowing exactly which types of clients you’re targeting will help you attract and close more of those clients.

Here are some of the most common types of clients marketing consultants encounter.

Brand Oriented Companies

Brand oriented companies tend to be larger companies with larger marketing budgets. Their primary goal when they’re spending marketing dollars is to win mindshare and associate specific emotions with their brand.

In other words, they don’t expect to make a sale right away. Their primary concern isn’t response or sales, their primary concern is brand.

What the marketing consultant does:  In this context helps guide the business’ brand along and makes sure that every ad the company puts out adheres to the brand’s core message.

Response Based Companies

These are the polar opposite of brand oriented companies.  These companies don’t care about branding at all.  Their main objective is to turn a profit from every ad.  If they spend $10,000 on advertising, they expect $12,000 in revenue to come in. If they don’t make back their initial investment, the campaign was a failure.

What the marketing consultant does:  With these companies, a marketing consultant can help choose what kind of media the company advertises in (radio, mail, internet, TV, etc.) They can help direct the copy or the creatives to ensure they convert. They can also help pick specific publications or channels to advertise in.

Small Businesses

Marketing consultants can also specialize in helping small entrepreneurial businesses succeed. For example, a marketing consultant might help a local dentist figure out how to attract more clients from surrounding cities.

What the marketing consultant does:  Small businesses tend to expect very measurable results. You either get them more customers or you don’t.  If you succeed, many small business owners will be more than happy to refer you to other local business owners.

Service Providers

Service providers can include Software as a Service (SAS) providers, industry-specific consultants (e.g. software consultants), debt consolidation specialists and really any other company that provides a service. Many of these companies operate on the internet or operate on a nation-wide basis.

What the marketing consultant does:  Marketing consultants in these contexts tend to be tasked with establishing a pipeline. These companies don’t just want you to come up with one or two successful marketing campaigns. Instead, they want you to help them develop a repeatable system of generating clients on a regular basis.

You and a Marketing Consultant

If you decide to find someone to assist you with your marketing, your job will be to identify ways this professional can bring in more customers and convert more customers, then make sure their staff can actually execute on that plan consistently.  At least you now understand some of the more common kinds of clients you might encounter as a marketing consultant.  You can target everyone from very small businesses and solo-entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar corporations.  Being a Christian women in business mean understanding resources available to assist with making her business or organization as successful as possible.  Planing your business operations and understanding your growth patterns will help to know when hiring a marketing consultant is most important.

If you don’t have a plan for your business you might not know when to expect the type of growth the warrants a marketing consultant.  Every type of business including a small business and non-profit needs to develop a business plan.  You can work through a plan with the NACWIB business plan program that’s simple to understand and easy to complete.   Work through a business plan for your Internet based business or find a detailed business plan for your company or non-profit as a resource in the NACWIB membership area.

Becoming a Marketing Consultant

Christian business women might want to use a marketing consultant at some point to assist with getting the word out about their business.  In fact, some business women will become a marketing consultant as a part of their specialty service area.  If that’s your choice, you have many ways to enter into the marketing industry.

Marketing consultants come in many shapes and sizes so it’s essential that you know what kind of consultant you plan to be. That understanding will shape the way you brand yourself, the way you look for clients, and the way you work with clients.

Here are five common types of marketing consultants.

1: Entrepreneurial and Small Business Advisor

Some of your clients will be small businesses that have a physical location such as small restaurants, spas, hair salons, grocery stores and other small businesses.  Your duties will include helping to identify new ways to bring in customers and helps clients plan and execute marketing campaigns.

Common marketing tactics you might suggest include coupon mailers, coupon packs, newspaper advertising, cable TV advertising and joint ventures with other local businesses.

2: Client Acquisition

If this is your niche, you will work with individuals or organizations that deal with higher end clients. For example, investment advisors, lawyers, doctors and real estate agents.  The goal is to bring in more clients. In this realm, however, the tactics are quite different. Common tactics might include web advertising, PPC marketing, buying leads, and magazine or newspaper advertising.

3: Pay Per Click or SEO Consultant

In this area you will focus on the online aspect of marketing to help clients maximize their Pay per click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) returns.  Actually, markeitng consultants in this area usually specialize in either PPC or SEO but not both as these are very specialized skill sets. Clients can range from mom and pop stores to Fortune 500 companies.

4: Branding Advisor

If you work with brand marketing you will specialize in helping companies figure out their brand and core message.  You would help shape both the visual message as well as the intangible message.  A part of your job would be to help figure out things like logos, banners, posters and multimedia and help make sure that everything the company puts out adheres to a coherent message.

5: Social Media Consultant

As a Social media consultant you can help companies in a number of different ways.  You might  specialize in helping companies set up social media in the first place.  You help design Facebook covers and Twitter backgrounds, help register pages, help get a feed going and so on. They help take a company from no social media presence to having one.

Another focus might be to actually help run the social media campaigns.  You would take over the reins and post tweets, post status updates, run contests and create infographics.

Still another  specialty could be in crisis management.  With this specialty you will monitor the social media feeds and jump in to take care of things should negative press start spreading among the social sphere.

These are just five areas that are common in the marketing consultant industry.  You could find your specialty here or in one of many other new and useful areas that would be helpful to others in business.  Each area targets very different customers and uses very different skill sets. Make sure you know which category you fall into before you jump into the industry and you will be able to expect great success in this needed area of work.

Be Perfect – Is That Possible for the Woman of Faith?

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48(NASB). 

As if there wasn’t enough to worry about, I have to be perfect too.  This week was a tough one business wise and personally.  Maybe because of celebrating another birthday for my son which made me realize how time is ticking on for me.  Maybe it’s trying to find the perfect way to revise NACWIB to be more responsive to the needs of the members.  Maybe it’s just being tired from all the traveling I’ve done over the past two weeks. 

Whatever it is I asked the Lord to give me some direction. So He told me through prayer “Be perfect.”  You’d think a busy, trying to be professional Christian woman would get a break.  But God is a God of perfection. Therefore He doesn’t pull punches by giving us a day off from doing the right thing in every aspect of our lives.  And as women of faith we should all be thankful for that.

Here’s the deal.  In striving to revive the National Association of Christian Women in Business (NACWIB) it started to get a bit tough.  What do people really want?  What do I provide to be a real service to the members?  I was tossing and turning at night trying to figure this all out.  Then the problem became obvious.  I had gotten away from the focus I keep telling members to keep; keep the focus on God first and only. 

For some reason trying to go in a new direction with the Association made me feel unsure.  I tried to write posts to encourage you to keep moving forward in your business and I got stuck.  I wanted to tell you not to give up and I felt like a fake.  It felt too hard; I wanted to give up.  The easy thing to do would have been to keep writing as if nothing was wrong, like I had it all together.  Don’t I have to appear like I have it all together and tell the members how easy it is to keep going and never have a bad day?  The easy thing would have been to fake it till I made it.  But there’s a real problem with that when it comes to NACWIB. 

The questions I should have been keeping in the forefront included, what does God want for this organization? How would the Lord be glorified through the messages sent to the mailing list subscribers?  What would He do to benefit the membership at this particular time?  These were the type of questions that would begin the right shift for NACWIB – and for my life.  

I made a commitment long ago to create this Association to serve the Lord and be a blessing to you.  Therefore, I get stopped in my tracks when I’m not open and honest.  Sometimes, I really hate that.  I don’t feel “powerful” or like I’m in control the way I feel I’m supposed to be.  Instead of feeling like a powerful, empowered leader, I start to feel weak. But in that, I finally figure out how to gain real strength. 

In my weakness I remembered to call on the Lord to give me the topics to write about or to know the direction to move in.  I asked Him to show me how to do the work.  As I started pouring out my heart to Him last night He gave me the verse “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. 

I don’t know about you but this verse has always given me a double reaction.  First of all, I want to do the right thing before the Lord.  Secondly, I feel I’ll never be able to rise up to the task of being perfect according to what I thought this verse required.  So I tried to shake off the truth that this verse was given to me for this time. 

As you know, when God gives you something it’s going to stick for a long time.  Ignore it long enough and eventually the intensity start to fade a bit.  You might even be able to chase the thought to the back of your mind periodically.  But it will never go away for good.  I learned this a long time ago so I know to start praying about this instead of trying to fight it.  There are times when women of faith are required to face the hard commands if we like it or not and usually especially when we like it or not.  However, this is actually something God makes doable.

The Bible verse “be perfect” means to be complete, to reach a level of maturity in spiritual integrity that lets us exist in the world in a way that is a reflection of God.  God tells us to be set apart so we can be like Him.  Being exactly like God of course is impossible.  To reach the fullness of perfection will never happen as a human being.  Even the most powerful of the Biblical saints had their moments of frailty and outright sin.  Knowing that could actually provide a moment of relief.  But still a woman of faith can assess the grace to escape every temptation to overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

Today, finding and accessing that grace is a real task.  More than ever the opportunity to fall off the wagon in the pursuit of perfection is more possible than ever.  Temptations include the normal daily interactions between people, accessibility to social media outlets, negative television programming, excuses to be angry, old problems that are unforgiven,  things that are confusing and lead to wrong choices, and on and on and on.  Doubts creep in, worry stops by to spend the night, sin happens.  You feel stuck, unworthy, like a fake, and get flooded with a lack of confidence. 

But that doesn’t take away the responsibility from Christian business women to be perfect.  Believe me, I wish it did.  Some days I’m just like any other normal business woman.  Sometimes I just want to slack off or forget about pushing forward in making this Association better.  I want to sit back and just hope people find the website, sign up, and become a member without putting in the effort to show them why it’s important or how joining will make their life better.  But that’s falling short of trying to reach a higher level of spiritual integrity as a Christian woman and a woman of spiritual integrity.  

Like every woman of faith my choice needs to be to decide to embrace that demand as a blessing.  I will be perfect.  I will pursue the integrity of doing business not only as something for other people but as a blessing to the Lord.  By making Him the focus of my everyday thoughts and activities I continue to seek being perfect.  I pray that you will be blessed as a result.

Top Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Fail

Every year thousands of businesses launch. Every year thousands of businesses fail. In fact, business experts say that one in five businesses will fail within just a few years of launch. The actual numbers are probably quite a lot higher. You don’t want to fail. You want to succeed. When you know why entrepreneurs fail, you can properly prepare for success. Here are the top reasons why entrepreneurs fail.

#1 Lack of research – It’s vitally important to make sure there’s a market for your business before you launch. You have to research both demand and supply. Who is providing the same products or service? What problem are you solving for people? Who are your prospects?

The research phase of launching a business is one of the most critical. Without proper research into supply and demand, you’re not going to be able to position your business successfully. Very few businesses succeed without solid initial research.

If you’re unsure how to research your business idea, talk to an expert. Get help. Speak to other entrepreneurs you trust. You don’t have to share your idea with others, but rather learn how to research your idea.

#2 They don’t understand their market – This also relates to research but it’s a different kind of research. Before you launch your business, it’s vital that you know exactly who you’re marketing to. Why? Because you need to position your product or service to meet their needs. If you don’t understand their needs, you may miss out on profits.

#3 They don’t understand cash flow – Cash flow is essential to survival. Actually, poor cash management is perhaps the most common reason for business failure. Entrepreneurs must create a budget. They have to be realistic about how much they expect to earn. And they must have a tight rein on their expenses. In order to pay the bills, you need to have cash coming in on a regular basis. Cash flow is essential to survival.

#4 An inability to market – Not everyone is a marketing genius. It’s important to realize that marketing is essential to success. If you don’t have a solid marketing plan, your business will not thrive. In business, the old “if you build it they will come” mentality just doesn’t work. If you don’t like or understand marketing, then hire someone who does.

#5 No business plan – Many people believe that a business plan is only necessary if you’re seeking funding. This is not true. In order to achieve your goals, it’s important to plan how you’re going to succeed. Your business plan is your road map to success. Don’t skip this important step.

Take heart and think positively. While one in five businesses fail, the others succeed. Research, plan, and understand your market. Commit to marketing and manage your accounts with solid accounting and cash flow management. You’re destined for success!