AS A BUSINESS PERSON – Be firm!

I used to have a problem separating my emotions from my business. I still have that problem but I am learning to deal with it. Do you see the issue of charging friends and acquaintances? It has been a challenge. It’s not a crime to name your price, it’s not a crime to treat your friends and relatives as clients when they come knocking on your office door and asking for your services.

Many times, we lose out to our so-called friends because we are too soft to truly deal with them on business terms when it comes to business. Until you learn to draw the line, you may never be a successful businessman or woman. That they are friends or relatives isn’t enough reason to walk into your store, pick the stuffs they want and leave you with “what are friends for?”

When you aren’t firm, you are not likely to succeed in business. Don’t allow emotions to always have the entire control of you in every circumstance. In business, you don’t have brothers or friends, you just have clients. They are all clients and should be treated with the same approach that you should give a client.

When friends and family come asking for your services, render it to them with the same seriousness, commitment and price that you would have given to someone you are meeting for the first time. After all, businesses succeed from the initial start when family and friends patronize and support what you do. If you must treat certain people as family in your business, then all your clients should be treated like family. I think it was in this regard that Jesus said in Luke 1:21

“My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Jesus was talking about His business here!

The issue of being firm isn’t about being mean, it is about defining your business goals, defining your values and ethics and maintaining it even in the face of relatives and friends. This isn’t just applicable when you are selling, it is applicable when you are employing people.

It is not wrong to employ your relatives and friends but only employ them when they are qualified to fill those positions. Don’t compensate relationships with sensitive things like your business! And when you eventually have a friend or relative working for you, don’t treat them as friends in the office, treat them as employees! There should not be any special privilege or upper hand to be given to them just on the basis that they are your siblings or friends. At home, let them be your lovers, siblings and friends but in the workplace, let them be your employees, workmates or boss as the case may be.

When you are entering a contract or an agreement with relatives, friends or even your Pastor, treat it formally and never waive taking precautionary measures just because you are dealing with your Pastor. There should be agreements to sign, the business should remain business and relationships should remain relationships… It shouldn’t clash together!

Don’t employ a relative and entertain disloyalty just because they are your relatives. Truth is, your relatives and their approach to you matters a lot! When they are rebellious, they will influence other people in your team more easily than how you would influence them positively.

I write this again, it takes some level of firmness to do business. Stop using words like “I am giving you a discount simply because you are my friend” or “I will do it for free because you are my Church member!” See, you have at least, fifty Church members, are you going to give all of them your services for free? How do you survive then?

Another thing is, don’t feel bad when you give your business the time due to it. Let no man blackmail you emotionally with such deceit that you should be in Church meetings on Monday morning when you should be in your working place. It still takes a level of firmness to stick to things at its time. If Church activities should be fixed during work hours, be sure that it is not for you except you are jobless and you aren’t willing to have one. Even if you aren’t working for anybody, you should give your business it’s time.

God wants you to do business, being in Church activities round the clock doesn’t even suggest that you are serving God. Unfortunately, we have reduced service to such gimmicks as being in Church round the clock. The Bible says that whatever our hands find to do, we should do it with all diligence as though we are doing it for God.

You may be soft hearted, that’s fine but when you’ve got to take tough decisions like dismissing someone, increasing the price of your services or maintaining your stand in something, then go ahead and do it even when it doesn’t fit your description. Let no one blackmail you emotionally except you aren’t interested in succeeding in your business.

In everything you do, apply love but never be deceived into thinking that love is stupidity. Love can also be firm at times. You do business to make a profit and so, there should be no place for emotional excesses in business. When it’s your lover that came into your restaurant, let them pay for every service rendered to them and whether it is not in your nature to be firm, learn it… After all, it is not in anyone’s nature to fail. If you find yourself weak in this area, train yourself to be strong! Practice it until it becomes a part of you. To that firmness add some smile, good approach and understanding!

I hope this helps.

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