Businesses: Why they rise and fall
Excerpts of a lecture delivered at the God’s Mercy Revival Ministries, Idimu, Lagos.
When you start a business, one of the first thing you have to deal with is your personality. If there is bareness in your hand, that business will die no matter the amount of funds you put into it. There are people who are just not fruitful. No matter what you give them to start a business; you can be sure that with time the business will die. That is one area I will love you to pray about before we begin to talk about why businesses rise and fall. If that area is settled, we can then move to other issues that affect business.
I believe strongly that one of the issues the church of God must address is the issue of poverty. And the way to address poverty is when people start creating wealth. It is sad that Nigeria is being regarded as the poverty headquarters of the world by global rating. Bill Gate also had predicted that Nigeria and Congo Democratic Republic will host the largest number of poor people by 2020.
If we don’t want this poverty tag to persists; we must wake up to address it. Like I said, the first way to address poverty is to begin to create wealth, start businesses and create jobs for people.
1 Thess 4v11: 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
Work is scriptural, business is scriptural. Paul encourages us to work with our own hands and to be focused. When God created the Garden of Eden, he asked Adam to work. He was asked to take care of the garden and to tend it. We must have something we are doing. God can only bless the work of our hands.
Ephesians 4v28: 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Here Paul tells the Ephesians that those who are stealing before either because of laziness or curse should stop. He encouraged them to work because they can get those things they need by doing their own work. The injunction of the Bible is for us to work.
2 Thess 3v11: 11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.
God hates loafers and busybodies. He hates those who just move from one end to the other doing nothing. The Lord hates those who are living at the mercy of others.
2 Thess3V7-8: 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.
Here Apostle Paul is talking about himself and his fellow labourers telling the Thessalonians that they should work.
When the Bible talks doing business, it is talking about your skill and the gift of God in your life. It is talking about the trade you learn. Everybody must have a trade or a skill. The question is: What were you trained to do? What did you learn? What kind of job are you doing? What is the ability of God that you have?
Thank God for white collar job. But the best form of business is the one you do for yourself. It is the training you got for yourself. It is important that people learn a trade. So many trades are now in short supply because people are just interested in quick money. They don’t want to learn a trade. People want to cut corners. Some are looking for things that can give them money without being creative. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers etc are now in short supply because those things seem not to guarantee quick money.
But the issue I want to address in this lecture is why businesses rise and fall. Some of us are using our skill and making money from them. But why do we experience rise and fall in our businesses. Or better still, why do businesses fail?
There was a brother that was into supply of oil to companies and organisations. It got to a point that the business grew so much that he was making it big. He built ten houses from the business. Today that business has closed down. The brother is now begging to eat. One will begin to wonder what happened along the line. Things got so bad for the brother that he sold all the ten houses. There are so many businesses that have closed down like that. A woman came to me who was importing cloths and was into big time cloth selling business. But in less than six months that she started the business failed. She went bankrupt.
What comes clear from these examples is that once you are meeting needs and providing solutions and getting fulfilled, you need to think through your business and ensure that such business outlives you.
Here are reasons why businesses fail from the Christian standpoint.
- Ungodly business
Whatever business you do as a believer that does not give glory to God will not last. When you do businesses that God is against there is no how that business will stand the test of time. As a Christian and somebody who knows Jesus, there are businesses that God is against. When you are into armed robbery or pen robbery, it is just a matter of time it will collapse. Any business that you do that causes pain and tears to others, God is against it. Any business you do that you do in disobedience to God, will not end well. Any business you do that promotes evil will not last. So you must ask yourself does the business I do cause people pain? Does it break homes? Is it a rallying point for crime and criminals? I remember a pastor who sent money from US and asked some people to help him build a guest house. He comes home once in two months. In one of his trips, he discovered that people were coming to sleep with women in the guest house. He told me he would close the business. I supported him. He had to sell the place. Businesses that help people to break God’s law will not last.
- Ignorance of spiritual laws
When you are ignorant of the spiritual dimension of the business. You did not pray, you did not seek God’s direction before going into the business; it will die. It does not matter how big the business is: if it is not in the will of God for your life it won’t last. The best way to even start a business is to start small and allow it to pass through the process of growth. But then before any believer embarks on business, it is imperative that we seek the face of God and allow God to give us direction. The business may look good and attractive. But God who knows the end from the beginning will not allow us go into it if he knows the end result of the business. So we need to seek the face of God.
- Foundation of lie
When you build your business on the foundation of deceit and lies it will not last. Any career that is bringing income for you and has foundation of fraud or lies will only last for a while. If you start a business from the proceeds of corruption, it is a matter of time, it will die. This also applies for church related business. If you violate this principle it will violate you. If these foundational lies have killed other businesses, your own can’t survive because a faulty foundation will give rise to a failing business.
- Demonic and cursed premises
The premises where you do your business is also important. A business that you locate in a demonic place will not last except you have been able to pray through the hold on the place. I heard the story of a lady who rented a shop in Oshodi and asked some brothers to come and pray and dedicate the place. The brothers obliged her and decided to hold a vigil in the shop. They did not tell their pastors. In the course of the vigil something hit all of them in the shop. In the morning they were searching for them. The search party knowing they went for vigil in the shop broke into the shop and found out that they had died and swollen up to ten times their size. The lady who owns the shop was the only survivor. She was still a bit conscious when she was rushed to the hospital. She spent a while in the hospital before she became okay and gave reports of what happened. That is what demonic environment can do in a church.
- Wrong staff and wrong associate
There are people you employ who are demon possessed. Some of them are occult people. There are occult people in banks especially who fight each other because of position. There are demonized staff, Idol worshipers and those who make covenant with occultic powers; Those who consult occult people to prosper their business will end in shame. That business will not survive.
- When you are stingy to God:
Pay tithe in the name of your business. That is when God will be able to bless the business. That toothpaste called Colgate was founded by a believer. He was paying 90 percent of his income to support missions and church based projects. One day he was called and told that fire had gutted the community where his factory was located and that the fire was almost closing up on his own factory. He was asked to run down to see what could be done. Firefighters were already on ground and tried to put out the fire but they were unable.
Rather than rush to the place he knelt down and prayed. He said God you are the one collecting higher percentage from the business. If fire erases the factor that means the 90 percent will be no more. He then went to sleep. He trusted that God would take over. As God would have it, the fire spared only his factory. but consumed all other factories around it.
- When you’re too rigid:
You don’t subject your business to improvement. When it comes to your business you are always doing it the same old way. There is a company called Kodak. It went bankrupt because they would not change. Today it has closed down. There are smaller cameras with high resolution that are now in the market. Post Office business is no longer like before. It has to be reinvented. People are now more into courier service. Printing business has evolved over the years. The days of plate have gone. When you refuse to change technology will change your business.
- Integrity and honesty
A soft drink company almost packed up some years ago. What saved it was that it bought another soft drink company to stay afloat. They did some form of promotion and they said the winner would get a brand new car. A young man won the promotion instead of giving him what they promised, they gave an old car. That caused a lot of media war. When people know you don’t have integrity your business will collapse. That is what kills insurance companies. When there is no integrity and honesty you look of loophole to deny people their rights when they make claims. A business that does not keep to its word will not last.
- Immorality with staff
There are people who have sexual relationship with people right in the office it will kill the business. God will leave that business. There are owner of companies who have sex with their secretaries. It is a matter of time such business will not last. Immorality is a form of pollution and it is capable of rendering a once thriving business to nothing.
- Staff welfare
When you don’t pay what you promised your staff and your staff are not happy. You deny staff their salary. Pay what you promise. The Bible says the sweat of your labourer must not go unrewarded. You also need to address the complains of your customers; You are missing it by not paying attention to your customers. There are suggestions they bring to you that you need to carry out. I remember the story of two engineers that were building a skyscraper and were at a loss where to put the staircase. They didn’t know what to do. A cleaner who overheard their discussion said to them; why not build it outside and build something round it. He then explained that if the staircase is outside, it will help fire fighters get to the place of fire easily when there is one. That was how outside staircase was invented.
- High overhead cost
When you do not move at your size. When your expenditure is more than income such business is heading for death. No matter big the business is, you need to keep investing part of your profit and you need to cut your cost as much as possible.
- Decreasing publicity and awareness.
When you no longer publicize what you are doing; it will go down. Why do you think Coca-Cola still advertises? Cadbury still advertises. There is a business axiom that says whatever you do and you are not advertising it, you are like a man winking in the dark. The more you advertise, you see new people coming. The social media has made it easy these days. Tell people about what you do and do campaigns in the media as much as possible. It will go a long way to help keep your business in the eyes of the public.
How to bring growth to your business
You must advertise. Show your face. Tell people what you do and seek for their patronage. They told Jesus to show himself. Show yourself.
See your business as a vision from God. Even if you are selling things sell it well. Dedicate that business to God from the onset. Seek God’s presence in your business. And ask him to help you follow godly principles. Pay something to God from that business to promote God’s business too. Practice holiness and godliness in your business.
Don’t sleep with your staff. That is so common today. Close the door of immoral acts among your staff. Do due diligence on anybody you want to employ. We once employed a lady and the moment we employed her everything stopped working in our organisation. We did not know. One of our students was the one whom God used to tell us that we had just employed a new staff. The moment the staff left, everything came back to normal. You can’t just employ somebody. Recognise the place and power of prayers in your business. Embrace technology in your business.
Pray that God will bless the work of your hand. Everything you touch will multiply.
Here is a prayer and a promise for you in Isaiah:65 v21:
They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22, No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.
23,They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.