Do you know what makes your business unique? Have you crafted a competitive advantage? Does it have a clear redemptive purpose?
Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional.
“And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.”
~I Corinthians 9:25.
I believe that the Apostle Paul was either an athlete or a very driven man. He was able to single-handedly write almost half of the New Testament. Throughout his writings, he used various athletic analogies and made various references to competitive performances.
Many Christians struggle with the idea of competition. It sounds so worldly. Even in the Biblical Entrepreneurship courses, we focus more on the idea of completion rather than competition. Completion means to use your uniqueness to make others whole rather than to have the advantage over them.
But as Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work says, “Competition is a fact of life. To pretend that it doesn’t exist or that you should avoid it at all costs would be ridiculous.” He goes on to say, “To compete from the heart means…that you compete out of a love for what you do.”
More than anyone on earth, Kingdom entrepreneurs have the opportunity to love pursuing their professional “race.” We can enjoy the hard work of our business endeavors because our day-to-day efforts flow out of our love for the One who has ordained the race. Whatever your view on the idea of competition, Scripture is clear that we are engaged in a competitive race which requires focus and discipline to outdo our
competitor. Let’s hear what the Apostle Paul has to say:
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in
such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into
strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a
crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly;
I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others; I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
~I Corinthians 9:24-27
The difference between the biblical worldview of competition and the worldly view is that in the Kingdom we believe that the competitor is not another person but the devil and his cohorts. He just happens to manifest himself through people. Also, our aim is not to destroy the person the enemy is using but to win him or her over to the Kingdom of God even if we must do it through a higher performing business. No matter what our industry or type of business is, if we are to be competitive or have the advantage over our competitor, we must know and walk in our competitive advantage.
Harvard Professor Michael E. Porter, generally known as the father of the modern strategy field, states, “Competitive strategy means deliberately choosing to perform activities differently or to perform different activities than rivals.” Through a unique strategy, competitive businesses deliver a unique mix of values. My friends Howard and Nancy Olsen, in their book Strategic Planning for Purpose and Profitability, state, “Competitive advantage is simply the answer to what is your company best at. What do you uniquely do better than anyone else?”
As Kingdom businesses our competitive advantage must have an eternal dimension. It is the unique approach that we take to serving our customers while being a light for Jesus in the marketplace. It is also the eternal perspective with which we approach our work and our service to customers. Worldly businesses can have a high-grade product, they may develop great technology and efficient systems, but they cannot bring an eternal dimension to their work and service; this is reserved only for Kingdom businesses.
Competitive advantage sets you apart from every other business. Without it, you are just like everyone else. You are not able to stand out and make a difference. At Nehemiah Project International Ministries, Inc. our competitive advantage is a high quality, comprehensive, transformational, biblically-based entrepreneurship curriculum. With this unique advantage, we stand out among other organizations that may provide business education or other types of training products, but do not approach it the same way that we do.
What is your competitive advantage? What do you do best? There is no greater time than now to shore up your competitive advantage. As a result of our current economy, customers have limited money to spend and a variety of choices. Every business is fighting for survival. Those who succeed will be those who are able to stand out and be different. Determining what you are best at may be the key to your survival. Whatever you come up with, make sure it has an eternal dimension so you can reflect the will of the King.
My prayer for you this week is that God grants you the wisdom to identify or clarify your competitive advantage so you may know your unique approach to serving your customers with an eternal dimension.
Reflection: God gives unique wisdom for each business, are you seeking Him to give you a competitive edge?
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