Defining and Achieving Success in a Home Business
How do you define success in a home business?
How do you define success in a home business? Do you define it by how much money you make? Do you define it by whether you are able to live your life any way you like? Before you can determine if you are successful or not, you need to know what yardstick you are using to measure success.
For a Christian businesswoman, I believe that success is measured by how well you are using your God-given gifts and talents to glorify God. God calls us to use our talents to the maximum so that, on Christ’s return, He will be able to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). Alister McGrath, in an article about one’s calling, says that for John Calvin:
The idea of a calling or vocation is first and foremost about being called by God, to serve Him within his world. Work was thus seen as an activity by which Christians could deepen their faith, leading it on to new qualities of commitment to God. Activity within the world, motivated, informed, and sanctioned by Christian faith, was the supreme means by which the believer could demonstrate his or her commitment and thankfulness to God. To do anything for God, and to do it well, was the fundamental hallmark of authentic Christian faith. Diligence and dedication in one’s everyday life are, Calvin thought, a proper response to God.
So how do we measure this kind of success in a home business? Qualities that come to mind are honesty, justice, excellence. To be fair, to play by the rules, to do an honest day’s work, to treat customers the way you would want to be treated – these are ways that we can live out our Christian witness in the world. To paraphrase John Houseman in the well-known Smith Barney commercial, we should make money the old fashioned way – we should earn it. Our businesses should build economic peace and bring valuable goods and services to our customers.
Someone once said that integrity is a long walk in the right direction. That long walk is made up of many, many small steps – steps in which we face constant temptation to wander and stray off course. In business terms, we may be tempted to avoid keeping a promise by slipping through a loophole, to fail to refund money on a defective product, to negotiate a deal to our own advantage at the expense of the common good. But to act with integrity is to be single-minded in following God’s will, and to trust Him to bless the steps we take as expressions of our desire to please Him.