Lessons in building a successful business

Business lessons from entrepreneurs

Start Small and Dream Big

Five Talents helps families start small businesses. Many of these businesses begin with an investment of as little as $10 or $20. As a wise entrepreneur shared with us recently, “The important thing is not how much we have. The important [thing] is what we are doing with what we have."

Look within and look around. What resources, talents, and opportunities has God given you? As you begin in business, start with what you have and work towards what you’d like to see.

One of the surprising things that participants in our programs learn is that their dreams are valid. If you are going to get into business, it makes sense to do something that you enjoy. Be sure to align your interests, talents, and resources with the right opportunities. Start small and dream big!

The important thing is not how much we have. The important [thing] is what we are doing with what we have.”
— Rosa, Bolivia

Know Your Neighbors

Above: Monica’s Gas Station continues to grow and serve her community.

Above: Monica’s Gas Station continues to grow and serve her community.

Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with a product or service without first considering its users. When Five Talents conducts training on business development, we ask participants to first look around at the needs and opportunities in their communities. What do their neighbors want?

Business is about more than finances; it’s about relationships. When building a business, choose an approach that will bless your community. In secular terms we call this marketing.

Five Talents entrepreneurs are encouraged to talk to potential customers, test their ideas, and research what’s available. In surveying her local town, Monica realized that there were no gas stations. After starting with just a jerry can, Monica now operates two pumps and serves hundreds of vehicles each week. She understood her market and now serves her neighbors well. (Read Monica’s story here).

Plan for Success

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”
— Proverbs 21:5

If you’re interested in succeeding in business, a good place to start is with a strong business plan. Most entrepreneurs say that learning how to prepare a business plan revolutionized their approach to business. Business plans define operations and costs to start and run a business, but they also take into account potential customers and competitors, sales strategies, and financial projections.

An entrepreneur shares her secrets for successful business

Building a successful business in the developing world

Manage Growth Wisely

Starting a business is one thing; growing it is another. In the USA more than 50% of businesses fail within the first five years. But successful entrepreneurs often keep trying, starting two or three businesses until they succeed. And applying the tips that Five Talents teaches can make a big difference. Participants in Five Talents programs gain tools and access to mentors and resources to build businesses that can grow.

Here are eight steps from Five Talents trainers on how to manage growth:

  1. Separate personal and business funds.

  2. Set up strong systems for accounting.

  3. Monitor and evaluate business progress.

  4. Continually build customer relationships.

  5. Use low-interest loans to invest in controlled growth.

  6. Maintain and improve quality of products and services.

  7. Ensure sufficient cash flow to run your business.

  8. Invest in products or services that bring higher returns.

Let Your Business Be a Blessing

Prayer is my foundation as a business woman. Because of my faith, I have become honest and as a consequence, I am loved by clients, thus my business is going very well.”
— Genevieve, Burundi

Success in business is about more than finances. Business transactions are ultimately about quality of relationships. When we understand that business exists to be a blessing, it transforms our approach.

Five Talents helps entrepreneurs embrace the importance of honesty, integrity, fairness, trustworthiness, and what it means to build a business to bless one’s community. Ultimately, “the purpose of business is to glorify God and to reflect God’s character in the world.”