Doing business in a way that matters, in a way that stands out is not really all that difficult.

Not if you think about it from the right perspective.

Sadly there are still so many hucksters and “anything-for-the-money” type marketers and sales people out there, that you don’t have to do all that much to stand apart.

It’s exactly what Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 1:12…

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

Did you catch those three qualities of a life/ministry well-lived?

Naturally, it applies to the way we are doing business too

1 Simplicity

 

  • Why do we tend toward complexity in our business ventures?
  • What is it that makes us think that good things have to be confusing?

Many companies are proving that’s not true, in their software interface and functionality (the blogsdna.com site gives a great example of this as it pertains to Android), or in their business models. (Check out the slideshare below to see an example of how to go about that.)

 

It’s vital because things need to be simple in order for people to understand them – and understanding is key.

  • Nobody is going to recognize that they need your service if you’re not able to clearly tell them what your service is.
  • They won’t be able to benefit from your snazzy software or product if you can’t simply show them how to use it.
  • Your users can’t pass your product/service along via word of mouth if it’s not simple enough for them to easily tell someone about it. And that’s vital. Just ask the folks over at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA… nice acronym).

Simplicity is powerful.

2 Sincerity

This is one of the main areas where we Christians should have a leg up on those huckster spammers and high-pressure sales guys.

Our culture has grown to be very sensitive to “in your face” tactics. We immediately feel a sense of insincerity in those approaches, and we don’t like it.

Why don’t we like it?

Because it’s the way marketing and sales has been done forever – and it’s broken.

  • It ignores the reality that we are people, human beings in need of relationship, not just stuff.
  • It communicates that the seller only cares about us so far as they are able to get their hand into our wallets or pocketbooks.

Sincerity is about:

  • No ulterior motives or hidden agendas
  • Speaking into situations instead of dancing around them
  • Placing the clients needs first, even if it means you can’t help them or get the sale

This truly sounds like an ideal context for Christ-followers to shine.

If you (like me) find yourself struggling with the sincerity piece at least at times, here’s some helpful thoughts about sincerity in sales from Judy Murdoch over at Company of Women.

3 the grace of God

While people who are not Christ-followers are able to do business with simplicity and sincerity, this one is distinctively Christian.

That’s not to say that God doesn’t extend his grace to those who are not of the faith. (Dr. Timothy Keller writes very powerfully on the issue of Common Grace – free download).

It’s to say this…

In my experience in life and business, the help of God’s grace is is more difficult to take advantage of than we immediately think.

It requires humility in large measure, which is not a trait we humans are good at applying – in any area.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).

For me, that requires:

  • Constant self-awareness, prompted by the Holy Spirit
  • Regular contemplation and evaluation of self and my relationship to others
  • Ongoing searching of the scriptures for my instruction and encouragement

That’s just my initial list. There’s tons more you can do to put yourself in the path of God’s grace. The folks over at Beliefnet have a great, simple post called “10 ways to receive God’s grace.” It’s worth checking out.

Doing business in a distinctively Christian way should always include these three: Simplicity, Sincerity, and by the Grace of God.

  • What would you add to the list?
  • What scriptures would you cite to instruct us further?