Christians starting businesses for the glory of God.

How to Choose a Business Model that Supports Your Goals

Thank you for the positive feedback to our last video. In the video, we discussed how you can easily take your current monthly budget and turn it into a profit goal for the business you want to start. Once you hit that profit goal for your business, you have the freedom to leave your job whenever you want.

Our vision at ThirdPath is:

To see a movement of thousands of Christians starting businesses together all over the world to love millions of people all to the glory and praise of Jesus.

We believe that business glorifies God. We believe one of the most powerful ways to love others is in and through business. We believe that you can glorify God and love others by starting a business.

We can take you from employee to entrepreneur.

Again, there’s no question that you could do more work that you enjoy and feel led by God to do if you worked for yourself. If you didn’t believe that there is more freedom as an entrepreneur, you probably wouldn’t have thought about quitting your job and starting a business so many times. I’m here to tell you that there is more freedom. Maybe freedom isn’t your reason for wanting to start a business. That’s ok too!

There are many different good reasons to start a business.

Here are a few:

  • Get out of debt.
  • Spend more time with your family.
  • Express your creativity,
  • Do work you enjoy.
  • Pay for college.
  • Travel more.

Maybe you’re a missionary tired of or struggling with support-raising. That’s a good reason too! If you have a good reason, we can help you.

I’m an entrepreneur, and I have more freedom with my time and life than I ever did as an employee. I get to work from wherever I want with no set working hours. I get to choose who I work with. I also get to spend a lot of time with my family, and we are planning to begin travelling more. And I’m building my businesses to help me get out of debt from student loans.

I love my work! I want to help you love your work too and use business to achieve your goals all while glorifying God and loving others.

Remember that I’m able to do what I’m doing in large part because the business model that I chose is aligned with my goals of freedom from specific work times and location, which means more time for family and travel, and have low startup costs which keep me from growing my debt.

 

Let’s look at some of the goals you have in your life to determine business models that support those goals.

You can choose a business model for your business that is NOT aligned with your goals, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

 

Most business models can be generally categorized as brick-and-mortar (physical presence) or e-commerce (online). You can have hybrids of course. Example: Target. They have brick-and-mortar stores, but also sell products online through e-commerce.

Some different business models that fall under these broad categories are freemium, subscription, direct sales, franchise.

Freemium is where a company gives away a basic-level service for free to establish a relationship with the hope of turning them into a paying customer. Think Skype and Spotify.

Subscription is where you subscribe to a service with typically a monthly payment plan. Think utilities, phone, and Netflix.

Direct sales is selling directly to customers. This model cuts out retail stores, distributors, etc. You get more profit and have a closer relationship with your customers by eliminating these “middle-men”.

Franchise is where you purchase someone else’s already established and proven business model and brand. Think McDonald’s and Subway. Fast food is where this model has really flourished. It’s definitely expanded to many other industries though. This is by no means an exhaustive list of business models. It’s merely a few common ones to get you used to identifying business models you see and thinking about what would work well for you.

 

Let’s talk about some of your goals now.

Do you want to be your own boss? Easy. Most models except the franchise model will allow you to do this.

Do you want to work from home? Brick-and-mortar is out of the question then.

Do you want to get out of debt? Online is likely a good option because of the low startup capital required.

Are you still in college? Brick-and-mortar would definitely be tough.

Do you want to create jobs for others? Most business models do this, but some inherently require more people than others. Manufacturing and retail for example require quite a few people compared with an online business. But don’t think that online businesses don’t create jobs. Look at Amazon! They employ over 154,000 people.

Do you want to travel? Brick-and-mortar would be difficult.

Do you have a specific people group or location that you feel like God is calling you to love and serve? Brick-and-mortar is probably your best option. You still may want to start an online business first if you’ve never started a business before. This could look like sourcing a certain type of product and then selling it online at first. Once you’re ready and you have some startup capital, you could start a simple manufacturing facility producing that product. You’ve used your online presence to acquire customers and gain some of the market, so you’ll now be creating jobs for people in the community where you locate the facility. If you do this correctly, your profits will go up as well because you now have control over the manufacturing process.

Starting a business can be difficult, but the reward is worth it.

You may think this all sounds complicated, but it’s really not. Just look at your goals and talk through them with your friends and family. Think about it! Can you imagine what achieving your goals will feel like? What’s the worst thing that could happen if try to start a business and fail? You lose time. You lose money. But you won’t regret not trying. You will also find yourself being forced to trust God with things you may not have had to before. No matter what you’ll learn, experience things, and grow in ways that you wouldn’t have. I want to see a movement of thousands of Christians starting businesses together all over the world to love millions of people all to the glory and praise of Jesus. I believe that YOU can glorify God and love others by starting a business. I think that Christians ought to be the biggest risk-taking entrepreneurs that exist. We literally have everything in Christ and nothing to lose. I’m not saying we should be unwise or irresponsible. But I do think that we go all in for God’s glory and loving others with our business ventures. The worst that could happen is we lose all of the ultimately nothing that we have. We can’t and won’t lose Christ.

 

Jesus is worthy of our startups and the world needs them.

 

Remember to resist the temptation to start with an idea or even a specific industry. Try to think more in terms of business model first. This will make choosing an industry and target market easier. You can choose to serve a market that you’re not at all gifted to or interested in, but again we wouldn’t recommend it. We’ll cover these topics in our next video.

 

Please leave us a comment on our blog, Facebook or Twitter. If this was helpful, please share it with a missionary you know, someone who hates their job, or someone else that would be interested. We want as many people starting businesses to love others for the glory of God as we can get.

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2 Comments

  1. Andrew on August 8, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Hey Elijah, do you define brick and mortar as actually having a facility/place of business? Or does it more entail the necessity of being present to perform the business? Does this overlap with direct sales some?

    • Elijah on August 8, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your questions!

      Brick and mortar would be where the business interacts with its customers in a face to face office or store. For example, a bakery would be a brick and mortar business. Amazon, even though they have facilities, would not be a brick and mortar business because they interact with their customers online. Brick and mortar doesn’t have anything technically to do with you needing to be present to perform the business. You could in theory start a brick and mortar business and have someone else run the daily operations. I would almost always suggest doing strong testing online with potential customers before starting a brick and mortar business of any kind because they’re inherently more risky and have higher startup costs (facility, inventory, possibly employees, furniture, etc). I think someone really needs to understand their market and potential customers before diving in. I love small businesses that are brick and mortar, but I hate to see them struggling or dying because they didn’t test out their assumptions with the market first.

      Does that help? Do you have any other questions Andrew?

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