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How to Run Your Business by the Book

  • Whitney Hopler Contributing Writer
  • Published Oct 08, 2009
How to Run Your Business by the Book

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Dave Anderson's new book, How to Run Your Business by the Book: A Biblical Blueprint to Bless Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2009). 

The best guidebook for business is the most well-read book of all time: The Bible.  If you own a business, the wealth of wisdom in the Bible's pages can help you make all kinds of decisions, from hiring and training the right people to managing your company's money.

Here's how you can run your business according to biblical principles:

Become a strong leader.  Pray for the ability to think and act more like Jesus so you can grow into a stronger leader. Prepare yourself for your next leadership position before you're in that position; honor the leaders and authority figures above you; confess your mistakes and repent when you fall short; create clear vision, values, and performance expectations for your company; hold yourself and the people who work for you accountable to deliver results; and serve others regularly.

Maximize your time.  Focus most of your time on the tasks that you can do best and accomplish in the least amount of time.  Identify your priorities and base your schedule on them.  Don't let trivial tasks consume too much of your attention; focus on what's most important.  Whenever you need to add something to your "to-do" list, take something off the list to make room for the new task.  Trust God in every part of your life and tell Him that you want to use your time to fulfill His purposes for you.  He will guide you to use your time well.  Don't waste your time comparing yourself to others who have different talents.  Instead, develop and use the unique talents that God has given you.

Overcome pride.  Pride is a particularly dangerous sin because it not only separates you from God, it causes you to attack God by attempting to dethrone Him in your life and enthroning yourself as your own god.  Ask God to help you cultivate humility, which will bring you both peace and success.  Recognize that you're a sinner just all other people and are not superior to anyone else.  Don't always insist on having your own way just because you own the business.  Seek out and be open to biblical instruction, reproof, rebuke, and constructive criticism.  Submit to authority.  Learn from others and accept help from them whenever you need it.

Build solid character.  Never tell "white lies" or ask the people who work for you to do so. Tell the truth even when it's not easy, cheap, popular, or convenient.  Follow through on your commitments even if they become more costly, inconvenient, or time-consuming than you'd estimated.  Always do more than just enough to get a job done; put forth the extra effort necessary to do an excellent job.  Don't give others false impressions, such as by omitting facts that reveal reality or offering excuses to disguise reality.  Let go of grudges against people who hurt or offend you; forgive and reconcile right away.

Develop strong people skills.  Genuinely care about people.  Value working with people more than doing paperwork.  Learn how to be efficient with things but effective with people.  Listen more than you speak.  Ask the right questions to engage others in good conversations.  Don't keep score with people; serve them to express your love for God rather than because you're expecting something in return.  Don't judge people or try to debate them into Christianity.  Instead, love them and humbly tell them how your own relationship with Jesus has changed your life for the better.  Control your attitudes and emotions to make them positive rather than negative.  Look for ways to meet others' needs.  Speak respectfully to people and well of them.  Invest in your employees' development by giving them the resources they need to be successful.  Care enough to confront them when they're off track.  Pray for them regularly.

Create work-life balance.  Build mental balance into your life by learning new information and developing new skills.  Build emotional balance by constantly investing in your relationships.  Build physical balance by getting enough sleep and exercise regularly and eating a healthy diet.  Build spiritual balance by celebrating disciplines like prayer, Bible study, scripture meditation, and participating in church worship services.

Manage your money well.  Remember that all the money you and your company have comes from God.  Give generously as God leads you.  Avoid unnecessary debt and pay existing debt off as soon as possible.  Don't concern yourself with the prosperity of dishonest people; keep doing what's right yourself and trust God to judge everyone fairly.  Pay all the taxes you owe to the government.  Don't enter into business partnerships with nonbelievers.

Build strong teams.  Hire people prayerfully and strategically to choose the right people.  Define your company's vision, core values, and performance expectations.  Establish a culture that promotes accountability.  Develop an inner circle of people with the highest upward potential in your business and delegate work to them, encourage them, and hold them accountable for results.

October 9, 2009

Adapted from How to Run Your Business by the Book: A Biblical Blueprint to Bless Your Business by Dave Anderson, copyright 2009 by The Dave Anderson Corporation.  Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, N.J.,

Dave Anderson is President of Dave Anderson's Learn to Lead and has given more than 1,000 leadership presentations in 13 countries. He is the author of If You Don't Make Waves, You'll Drown; Up Your Business!; How to Deal with Difficult Customers; and the TKO business series, all from Wiley. He and his wife Rhonda are cofounders of The Matthew 25.35 Foundation, which helps feed, educate, and house destitute people throughout the world. For more information, visit