What If Starbucks Marketed Like The Church?

My friends (FYI, they are not yet aware of our friendship…lol!) at Inside Work posted this video from Beyond Relevance. I could not resist posting it here. It certainly gets you thinking. It made me consider the church and the way we try to reach out to people in our immediate community and beyond. As a business woman it really makes me question how I am perceived by potential clients. Could i possibly be coming across as trying too hard? Check it out!


What fruit is that?

I walked into a health food store I visit ever so often this morning. When I got to the checkout it was the same guy that had served me several times before. I am always so taken by the way he deals with all visitors to the store. He is always very pleasant to everyone which is probably why he is extremely popular amongst the regular customers. He advises clients about products with such keen interest genuineness and goes well out of his way to ensure that customers are satisfied. He is not the store manager or owner but he always has a happy and helpful countenance and personifies the phrase service with a smile. During a brief chat with him this morning about how well he deals with everyone that comes into the store, I hardly allowed him to complete his final sentence before I interrupted him with my repetition of the words “I knew it”. It turned out that he is a Christian, living his beliefs and ministering by his actions.

This made me take stock of my business practices. What do my clients say about me? As business owners are we able to provide more than a service or product? Do we leave positive lasting impressions in the minds of potential and existing clients? Is it all about the money or are we affecting lives by causing people to wonder why we are the way we are or do the things we do? Do we set good examples? Do we cause people to doubt our integrity? Are we marketplace ministers? Good fruit or bad fruit, what are you producing?

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. - Matthew 7:16-17 (King James Version)


Spotlight: Amber Vlangas

For my first feature interview, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amber Vlangas Owner/Principal Consultant of A.Vlangas Consulting, a management and development consulting firm for non-profit organizations. Amber is a Christian mom of three beautiful children; 11 year old Timothy, 8 year old Deborah, and 3 year old Lilliana. She has been married to a wonderful Navy Musician, Christopher for 12 years.

CBW: When and why did you start your business?
AV: I started my business earlier this year, after spending years working in the areas of management, marketing and development for nonprofit organizations. I had been taking freelance consulting jobs on the side for some time, but finally felt led to break out on my own.

CBW: What obstacle(s) did you face in getting started? How did you overcome it/them?
AV: I think the biggest obstacle that I faced starting out was transitioning from a stable paycheck to contract work. Having a background in marketing and management made startup easier, but it is always scary making a big change. I overcame this obstacle through faith. God always came through, giving me the wisdom and strength that I needed to move things forward.

CBW: We sometimes loose sight of God's ability to give us all that we need to bless us. Do you have specific habits that help you stay focused?
AV: The truth is that having faith is hard-especially when we do not understand God's time table or methods. We need to try to differentiate wants from needs. There were times for me that were harder than others, financially and otherwise. I found myself giving concerns to God and then taking them back, trying to do it on my own. Keeping a prayer journal has become invaluable to me. It is a place that I can write down not only my concerns but also the things that I am thankful for. It is fun to look back in the journal and realize how good God has been. It truly helps me understand that he will not forsake me. The history, coupled the reading of scripture, refreshes my spirit and helps me stay focused moving forward.

CBW: What is your favourite scripture?
AV: That is a very hard question, as there are so many that I hold dear! Galations 5:1 is definitely one of my favorites. It reads: "Christ has liberated us into freedom. Therefore stand firm and don't submit again to a yoke of slavery." In modern days slavery can be so many things...sin, anger, disbelief, fear, or doubt. How great it is to know that when we trust in Him, he releases us from the "slavery" of all those things!

CBW: What is your favourite business tool/resource?
AV: By far I would have to name the web as my favorite tool/resource. It is a great place to get a business out there, learn new things, and connect with people that share the same interests as yourself. Social Networking (myspace, facebook, linkedin, twitter, blogging forums, etc) really takes traditional "word of mouth" advertising to a whole new level.

CBW: How do you balance running your business with managing your family?
AV: Every woman constantly struggles with this question- it is difficult to juggle it all. In this age of technology, clients can reach you at all hours of the day and demand more work in shorter periods of time. For me it has been important to set boundaries and schedules, even if it means saying no to a client or sending them to voicemail. I have had to train myself to live for God and family first, then let everything else fall into place. I have even had clients comment on how much they respect me for that! In my experience, the key has been to be responsive and clear with my clients, setting boundaries in the beginning of the relationship.

CBC: What words of wisdom would you offer an aspiring business woman?
AV: The best advice I can give to any business woman is to set up a time with God on a daily basis and keep it like it was a business meeting! The busier you get, the more you will need this (though we all will have our moments of weakness). Prayerfully ask Him to reveal what the focus of the day should be. Then be still and listen! Don't make business decisions without consulting Him. He so much more equipped to handle everything than we are.

To learn more about Amber please visit her website and blog. Please let me know if you have been blessed by this interview, I certainly have.


Business Startup 2008

I recently found out about Business Startup 2008, an event taking place in London England. It’s promising lots of great exhibitions, workshops, seminar, networking opportunities and more. And best of all it is free! For further details click here.