by Dr. Shelette Stewart
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)
How do you meet the needs of your market? What are the internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats impacting your business?
These questions are generally addressed in the section of your business plan called the situation analysis. This section is also sometimes referred to as the situation assessment, market analysis, competitive analysis, or industry outlook. It is the part of your business plan that includes your qualitative and quantitative research.
I have had the pleasure of conducting executive leadership programs for many teams around the country and one of my most requested sessions is on the topic of “Market Analysis: Principles and Tools for Driving Business Results” where I share Biblical insights, practical tools, real-life business cases to help leaders take their businesses to a Higher level of excellence.
Wall Street analysts, industry experts, business consultants, economic reports, market studies, information technology (IT) systems, and corporate decision-support models and systems serve as critical resources for business analysis and assessment. They are all valid and extremely useful for supporting our business plans and positioning our companies for success. But they are inferior to God.
They should be consulted as secondary resources that are to be leveraged after we have first consulted God for His divine insights into our careers and commercial endeavors.
Jesus reinforces the importance of this approach when He prays on our behalf to God:
I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth (John 17:15-17, NASB).
This means that you should not ignore the excellent resources and productive platforms and protocols of the business world, but you must realize that the truth of your current business situation must be revealed by God and your future business ventures must be sanctified by Him.
Remember, as His ambassadors, our goal is to transcend from basic information to divine revelation and transformation.
I encourage you to keep the following principles when focused on meeting market needs:
• God is the Supreme Analyst and Sovereign Forecaster (Numbers 13:1-2)
• God ordained seasons in business (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
• He may be doing a New Thing through you (Isaiah 43:19)
• You have no real competitors (Isaiah 14:27; James 4:2)
• The battle is not yours (2 Chronicles 20:15)
I go into much more detail in my book, Revelations in Business. But know that God desires for us to seek Him, pray, study, and obey His Word using spiritual discernment first and conventional data sources secondarily as we seek to meet market needs. By taking this approach, we are able to accurately evaluate and forecast our commercial endeavors because we are initiating the process by incorporating the perfect wisdom and guidance that come only from God.
As Christian business leaders, we have to remind ourselves that although the business world is ever-changing, God and His Word are not. He remains the same and serves as the one constant in our constantly changing lives. God declares: “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6; Exodus 3:14).
Not only does God remain steady and stable for us, but so does His Son. Scripture says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV). Because God and His Son do not change, we must continually seek their wisdom and direction in planning for imminent marketplace changes.
Dr. K. Shelette Stewart is an author, global speaker, consultant, and graduate of Harvard University with over 20 years of leadership experience with prominent organizations including Harvard Business School, The Coca-Cola Company, and BellSouth/AT&T. She is a Fulbright Foreign Specialist with a Doctorate in Business Administration and the founder and principal of Stewart Consulting, LLC, a strategic planning firm serving companies, non-profits, and higher education institutions. Dr. Stewart is the author of the award-winning book, Revelations in Business: Connecting Your Business Plan with God’s Purpose and Plan for Your Life© which has been formally endorsed by several industry leaders including Dan Cathy, Chairman and CEO of Chick-fil-A. Learn more: www.shelettestewart.com and follower her on LinkedIn.