We are talking about how the fruits of the Spirit can help you in business.

It’s based on Galatians 5:22-23 which reads:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Today is the last fruit: “self control.”

The word used here is ἐγκράτεια or enkrateia

It means self-mastery, self-restraint, or self-control.

The word used hear means a significant amount of self-mastery.  It is a mastery from within that is so strong it is automatic.

It is only used three other times.  Let’s look at these and see how we can grow in our self-control.

The first one we find Paul teaching Felix, the governor who listened to Paul when Paul was imprisoned.

“As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.’” Acts 24:25

Paul was arrested and put in prison.  He had to defend himself.  In the midst of his defense, Paul talks about righteousness that can only come from an internal guidance.  He then, turns the conversation to the Judgement that is to come for all people.

It is funny how Paul was defending himself and used self-control as a defense.  Paul was intelligent and knew the court systems.  He knew how to use words and how to get the attention of Felix.

Yet, right in the middle of his case he presents how righteousness leads to self-control and without those things in our lives, we find ourselves in a time of judgement before God.

Now, let’s see what Peter has to add to that.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7

Peter knows the value of growth.  He went from being a simple fisherman to leading the church.  He was a business man first, but aligned his life with God and became an apostle and a direct disciple of Christ.

When we are growing in Christ, we will not always be perfect, but we should always be striving to move forward in our relationship with Christ.

We won’t go through the whole list, but let’s look at the general run down.  We always must start with faith.  Self-control comes in the middle only after we gain knowledge.  It is this self-control that leads to godliness and ends in love.

Without self-control there could be no godliness.  We cannot live a holy life unless we surrender who we are to who Christ is working in us.

Without self-control there can be no godliness. #Christianbusiness #Christianentrepreneur Click To Tweet

We may think that Peter quit fishing, but all through scripture, we see Peter following Jesus and fishing.  He was always a business man, but he moved his business to God’s business.  We see him catching a fish to pay taxes in Matthew 17 and even see him fishing awaiting Jesus to return after the resurrection in John 21.

It is amazing to see the influence one person can have on all of eternity when he turned his life and his business over to Christ.  All of history was changed by a carpenter, who taught a fisherman about the kingdom of God.

You are a business owner and you are called to be a Christian first.  Grow in your faith and do business the way God wants you to do business.  Ultimately, when you lay your business at the foot of Jesus and step up as a person of faith, you will always be on the right track.

If you have self-control, you can easily align your business with God and take the step of faith you need to will bring your business to the next level.

For our exercise this week, and the last in this series, I want us to read John chapter 21.  Put yourself in the shoes of Peter.  He had walked with Jesus for years and watched him die, then standing at the shore is a man who speaks to you.  What would you think?  How would you feel?

Take time to read the three stories in this chapter as a whole, then reach each one, one day at a time.  I have included a worksheet below this video as a guide for your reading. (click here for the worksheet)

  • Day 1: Read the whole chapter and put yourself in Peter’s shoes.  What did he learn?  What would you do in that situation?
  • Day 2: John 21:1-14  How would Jesus find you if he showed up at your place of business?  Would you listen to Him even if it did not make sense?
  • Day 3: John 21:15-19  When have you felt like you let Jesus down?  Have you forgiven yourself and allowed Jesus to restore you?
  • Day 4: John 21:19-25  When have you looked to what someone else is doing rather than paying attention to your own life?  Has your business ever suffered because you were comparing yourself with others?
  • Day 5: ReRead the whole chapter. Do you follow Jesus with all you have and all you are?  Have you aligned your life so much with Jesus that you act in self-control, full of the fruits of the spirit?

 

I hope this study has been a blessing to you.  I know it was a blessing for me to open God’s word up into your life and your business.  This is Rev. H. reminding you to be blessed and be a blessing.

spiritual habits for business3 Spiritual Habits for Christian Entrepreneurs

Christian entrepreneurs realize that as they grow their faith, their business will be better.  They will have better products, better employees, better families, etc.  That is not to say everything will be perfect.  It will just get better as they learn to rely on God and His guidance.

As we start to talk about spiritual habits, we could come up with a list of over ten different basic habits.  It could be overwhelming for someone who is just getting their spiritual life in order.  The key is to implement one habit at a time.

For those of us who have been around a while, consider what you are doing in each category to grow spiritually.  I broke down spiritual habits into three core sections.  I do not pretend to have an exhaustive list, I just wanted to give a tangible way to think about your spiritual walk.

Take time to develop a little better spiritually of each month.  It may sound weird to you, but when was the last time you set a goal in your spiritual life?

Let’s dive right in . . .

 

Prayer Habit

Prayer is more than a few sentences mumbled out as you go to bed.  Prayer is an integral part of your day.  From decisions you need to make at work, to caring for family members, prayer is something that can become a continual habit all day long.

When you make coffee, thank God for providing the earth with coffee.  When an employee is doing well, thank God for that employee.  When something breaks, thank God for that being the only thing that broke and ask Him for guidance on getting it fix.

See how we progressed in that simple paragraph?  We went from self (coffee) to our business and others (employees) to asking for God’s guidance.  Prayer is that simple.

Before we move on, let’s talk quickly about listening.  Prayer is not just talking to God.  It is also hearing from God.  We must be still and silent and really reach out to listen to what God has to say.

We may have a post about listening to God later, but for now think of it like a radio.  We have to tune in to just the right station before we can hear clearly.  Setting spiritual habits I your life is that tuning process.

 

Learning Habit

The learning habit starts with the Bible.  We can talk about reading the Bible, memorizing scriptures, attending Bible study and all those other things, but I want to make it as simple as possible.  You should be reading God’s word daily, period, end of sentence.

If you are not reading God’s word, how can you expect to hear from Him.  You haven’t tuned your ear to what He has to say.  All of your spiritual learning comes from the Bible.  Sure, there may be a devotional or Bible study that would help, but the Bible should be central.  If your devotion book does not point you to read the Bible, you should get a new devotional book.

That is one of the reasons why I have provided the Faith Membership for free.  In it, we have a Bible study that helps business owners focus on their spiritual life.  We also have a study that goes through the entire Bible in eight sessions.  Either of these are free to use in your office, home or church.  You just have to sign up for the free membership.

Which brings me to the next step in learning, teaching others.  Everyone can teach someone who does not know as much as them.  It does not have to be some organized three-point lesson.  It can simply be a spiritual conversation focused on a specific verse or passage in the Bible. You will learn considerably more when teach someone else.

 

Community Habit

This one may be the most intensive of all the habits.  I live in America and we have a western mentality that is individual focused.  The Bible is an Eastern book that is focused on community.  Community is how you interact with your neighbors, family, staff and customers. Community is where you spend your time.

Community for Christians usually starts in the church.  It is a place to gather with other believers for worship, prayer and learning.  It is a place to join small groups to grow together and a place to be accountable to fellow believers.

Community is not just the bubble we have at church.  It reaches beyond the church into our home and business life.  It tells us to love, share and care for everyone we meet.  It is not just evangelism we should focus on, it is building relationships and getting to know those people that God put in our path in the church and in the world.

 

Conclusion

Christian entrepreneurs should grow spiritually no matter what the circumstances.  We must put effort into our spiritual habits and grow closer to God each and every day.   There is no person who can’t find time to pray and read God’s word.  If you don’t have time, something is horribly wrong in your life!

Take some action.  In your calendar write these three categories and one action you will take in each.  For prayer, it may be sitting aside 20-30 minutes each day to be quiet and spend time in prayer.  For learning, it may be committing to read a chapter a day every day.  For community, it may be committing to be a faithful attender at a local church weekly.

If you want more help, here are some great articles about growing spiritually:

If you are not sure about how Christianity fits into your business, read these articles:

 

Don’t forget about our Faith Membership.  Take advantage of this totally free offer.  You will have access to 2-minute Bible studies you can download for your phone, a Bible study for Christian business owners and a short Bible study that walks you through the entire Bible so you can understand it better.  All of this is free, you just have to sign up.

NOTE: if you have a friend who is a Christian entrepreneur, why not sign up together and grow as a team?  Just send them a link to this page or share it on social media.

 

Grow your Faith: Grow your Business #ChristianBusiness #ChristianEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

google-drive-logo

Christian business owners want to maximize their business.  Why not use a tool that combines the power of Dropbox with the power of Microsoft Office for free?

I want to highlight some things you may be missing in Google Drive.  We touched base on Google Drive in another post, but I wanted to go more in depth with this powerful free tool at your fingertips.

You may be asking how Google Drive can grow your business.  If you have a free way to send documents, collaborate on projects, deliver online products, collect information, etc. and it is all free, that could definitely help you grow your business.  Let’s get to know this powerhouse of tools.

 

What is Google Drive?

GoogleDrive is a tool that allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, online forms and gives you online storage for things like photos, documents and videos…and it’s free.  Their main page simply says, “A safe place for all your files.”

Google Drive starts you out with 15GB of online storage so you can put documents, products, photos, videos, etc.  Then, you can share those documents with people.  If they have a Google account, and who doesn’t these days, they can edit the document or just view it depending on what permission you give them.

BONUS: Did you know that Google Drive allows you to create online forms? Imagine sending a survey to your customers and they can fill it out online.  No stamps, postage or anything.  All you need is their email address or you can embed it on your webpage. You can create a survey, employment application, or anything where you need to gather information.  Then, you can have that information compiled with Google Sheets and sent to your email directly.

Keep in mind, you can access Google Drive with your phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop all by simply accessing the app or signing into your Gmail or Google account.  Google Drive really has some powerful tools if you know how to use them.

 

How to use Google Drive

Sign in to your Gmail account or Google account.  If you don’t have a Gmail account, it is free and signing up is really easy.  Once you sign in, look to the top right of the screen and you will see 9 little squares that make up one square.  If you hoover over it, you will see it labeled “Google Apps.”  Look at the list and click on Drive with the colorful triangle like logo.

googledrive

 

If you have a new account, you will see a document that is labeled “Getting Started.”  It is just an overview.  Look to the left of that and you see your dashboard or “My Drive.”  Here is where you can create documents.  (My understanding is that documents created in Google Drive do not count towards your 15GB limit.  That means you could create 100’s of documents and still have your 15GB free storage.  It could change at any time, but it is good to know for now.)

 

google-drive-dashboardClick on the “New” button at the top. You will see the types of documents you can create.  You can create a docs, sheets or slides. They should be self-explanatory, but to keep it simple docs are text files, sheets are spreadsheets, and slides are presentations.    If you click on ‘more’ you will see forms, drawings and maps.

 

You can also upload documents, files, photos and videos.  Just click on “New” again and upload a file or folder.  Whatever you upload is available instantly on your smart phone, tablet or computer.

 

Conclusion

Google Drive is a powerful tool for creating and collaborating documents.  You can use it for employees, business partners or customers.  The only limit is your 15GB, but it is easily expandable for a few dollars a month.  Once you learn how to use all the free tools that Google has for you, you may find that Google is becoming your businesses best friend.

Did you know there are over 30 Google products that could help your business and most of them are free?  We wanted to help you in your business so we are offering training called GHacks.  In this training, we cover over 30 different Google products and how they can be used in your business.  Click on this paragraph so you can see what you may be missing with Google products for your business.

 


 

Once you understand what Google offers for free, Google may become your business best friend. Click To Tweet

 

free tools to understand your customers

Christian business owners should understand their customers so well, they know where they shop, eat and hang out. Do you know your customers that well?

Today, I am going to introduce you to an online tool that will give you lot of insights into your local customers quickly, easily and free.

 

What is MyBestSegments?

MyBestSegments is a part of Nielsen research.  MyBestSegments uses zip codes to give insights into your customers and tells a little bit about their lifestyles.  One of the point on their page says, “Reveal your customer’s lifestyle and behaviors to create a clear comprehensive picture of their likes and dislikes.”

Basically, they have done research across the nation, the United States.  They have noticed certain patterns of people that congregate in certain locations.  If you can understand the general attitude and habits of the people in your local community, you can better talk to them about their needs.  Then, if you can help them, you have a moral obligation to tell them about your business.

 

How to use MyBestSegments

Start at the home page and click on “Zip Code Look-up” at the top.  That will bring you to a page to input the zip code.

Once you input the zip code, general data will show up.  To the left, you will see the common ‘segments’ who live in your area.  These are general groupings of the types of people most likely to live in your current area.

free tools to understand your customers

 

To the right you see a map and below the map you will see a scrolling data charts.  They will show you household income, age levels, ethnicity, and even the make up of families, i.e. with or without children.

After making notations about the basic information, click on one of your segments. It will bring you to a page that defines the general characteristics of that type of person.  It starts with a general description of those people, but I want you to focus on the “Lifestyle and Media Traits.” (You will want to do this for each of the segments in your local area.)

 

free tools to understand your customers

 

This section has invaluable knowledge.  It will tell you where they shop, what they do, what they read, what they watch on tv and even what they drive.  You may wonder why this is important, but let me share a simple example.

Let’s say that you find out that all of your segments are likely to drive a hybrid or flex fuel car.  That will give you the insights that your population is ‘green’ conscious.  You can attend green events, collaborate with green companies and make sure you point out all of the efforts your company has made to be green.  You even want to consider posting blogs posts and social media about green living and tips on being green and helping the environment.

 

Conclusion

Understanding the habits of your customers gives you insights about what is important to them.  These little things connect your business to your target audience.  It builds bridges so that people are likely to share information about your business with their friends (who are like them according to the research you did).  Those friends are more likely to do business with you because they were referred by a friend and they can relate to your business.

The more you understand about your customers, the better you can communicate to them.  We all have little nuances in how we communicate and if you can learn to ‘speak the language’ of your target audience, you will connect to them, grow your business and impact the Kingdom of God.

The better you communicate to your customers, the better you can make an impact in their lives. Click To Tweet

finding more customers

As Christian business owners, we need to put information on the internet that our customers want. That is how people find us when they search on sites like Google.

Why not get create the information Google tells us is relevant for our business?

Today I share a simple tool to help you get started.  It pulls information directly from Google and gives you insights about the kind of information your audience, a.k.a. customer, is looking for when they search online.

 

Give your customers what they want and they will come to you for what they need! #ChristianBusiness Click To Tweet

 

 

What is answerthepublic?

AnswerThePublic is a website that pulls data to give you topics and ideas of the kind of content that your target audience is searching for online.  On their page they describe it like this, “Consumer insight for PR in the Age of Google.”  In other words, it is a combination of what people are looking for and what Google is showing in search engines.

 

How to use AnswerThePublic

Start with a single keyword that is relevant to your topic.  Put that in the main page in the search bar.   It is the yellow square that has a title that says, “Ask the Seeker.”  Make sure you select your country since each country has its own nuances and phrases.  Click on “Get Questions.”

(Sidenote, look at how creative these guys are.  The ‘seeker’ looks bored until you ask a search.  It’s almost comical to watch when you know why he’s there.)

finding more customers for Christian business owners

 

Now you come to a screen with lots of images.  These are mind maps of the kind of information people are searching that relates to your keyword.  In my test, I found 117 questions people are asking that is relatable to one of my clients.  They are broken into ‘branches’ based on associated words like “how” and “why.”

You can download any of the images to use in your creation of content for your webpage or you can click on ‘Data.’  Clicking on data will give you the words without the images.  They will show you words in categories based on associated search words like ‘with’ and ‘without.’  Then, the lists go through the whole alphabet to come up with all the relevant words you may need based on  a search of each letter.

At the very top, you can export all of these topics to a csv file.  You can open that file in Excel or in GoogleDocs.  Just delete the topics that are not relevant to your business and use the others to begin creating the type of content your target audience is looking for.

finding more customers for Christian entrepreneurs

Conclusion

People are searching on the internet more and more to find relevant information about businesses.  As a smart Christian business owner, you want to provide answers to the questions your customers are searching.  With this simple online tool called answerthepublic, you will have a great head start on creating content for your website, blog or social media that will draw in traffic for you.  The more traffic you can gain, the more customers you can get.  The more customers you get, the more you can influence the world for Christ.

Another thing to keep in mind, you don’t have to write all of this stuff.  Many time someone else has already answered the question.  Why not share their information with your customers along with your added insights? That will help you become the ‘go to’ guy or girl for people looking for information about you business.

Other Resources:

More Traffic = More Customers = More Influence for Christ. #ChristianBusiness Click To Tweet

free accounting software for Christian entrepreneurs

Christian business owners have to account for their money and be good stewards of their resources.  Today I want to introduce you to a free accounting software.

Waveapps allows business owners to set up basic accounting including invoices, and it integrates with your checking account.

 

What is WaveApps

Waveapps is a free online basic accounting software.  Their webpage says, “Free and easy accounting, invoicing and more.”  It is really easy to use and it is not as complicated as most accounting software, but it has some really powerful features.

For instance, it integrates with your bank account, so every purchase through your business checking account goes automatically into your Waveapps.  It also allows you to create invoices, send them, and customers can even pay the invoice online (if you select that option).  Plus, they will automatically process the payment and it will land in your bank account.  How’s that for easy?

I may sound like I am trying to sell Waveapps, but in reality I searched for a long time to find an accounting system that was easy to use.  The fact that it is free, makes Waveapps an even better deal for Christian business owners.

 

How to use WaveApps

This is a tool that without knowing your specific business, I can’t tell you how to set up accounting for your business.  I can show you how easy it is to get started.  I will lay out the basics, but keep in mind when you sign up they have a helpful step-by-step process for setting up your account.

Start by signing up for a new account at waveapps.com.  Click on the button that says ‘Let’s get started.”  You can even sign in with your gmail or yahoo email accounts to make it more convenient.  (You only have to remember one password!)

 

free accounting software

 

Step 2 is setting up your invoices and reports.  Don’t let that scare you.  It is just putting in your business name, business type and currency preference.

free accounting software

 

Step 3 is putting in your address so that it shows up on all your invoices.  Simple, right?

free accounting software for Christian entrepreneurs

 

On the next screen, select ‘organizing your finances’ or ‘create an invoice.’  I suggest ‘organizing your finances’ first.  It will prompt you to enter your bank information so that integration can begin right from the start.

free accounting software for Christian entrepreneurs

 

The rest of the setup is specific to your business, but it is not hard.  I suggest clicking on the ‘Accounting’ tab.  It will show you all the categories that the system set up for you based on your type of business.  You can rename those to fit the needs of your business.  You can even add lines to keep track of as much or little as you have a need for.

If you click on ‘Need Help’ there is a section called WaveUniversity.  They will give you step-by-step training of your entire accounting software.  It’s really easy to follow and it’s free!  You can see in the graphic below some of the easy to use functions.

(Note: Payroll is a paid feature, but it is very affordable comparably.)

free accounting software for Christian entrepreneurs

 

Conclusion

Christian business owners must be good stewards of the resources God gave them.  Having a way to keep track of your finances is the first step in accounting for what God provides.  No matter how little or how much you make, separating your business finances from your personal account is important because it allows you to get a good picture for how your business is doing.

Accounting is not a scary part of business: it’s just numbers.  You are simply showing where your money comes into your business and goes out of your business. It is just a little more than a check register because you can now track where your expenses are going and what, or who, is bringing in the most money.

Once you have a way to track your money, you can make better business decisions based on facts.  Numbers are facts and they can help you be a great steward of all that God gives you.

 

Accounting is being a good steward to the resources you have. #Christianbusiness #accounting #waveapps Click To Tweet

As Christian business owners, budgets can be tight.  Some of the most used software on your computer has free alternatives, if you know where to look.

If you are just getting started or you get a new computer, you may be looking for a solution for your documents.  Today we talk about two alternatives for Microsoft Office.

Let me begin by saying that I use Microsoft Office. (Let’s call it MO for the rest of this article.) I love Publisher first and PowerPoint next.  Yet, as far as documents are concerned, I could use any program to write, edit and publish my writings.

Quick side note: I write articles like this because I want to help business owners thrive.  Many business owners hire new workers only to find their budget taxed by having to buy a computer, then buy new software, then buy training, etc.  All of this can be free if you do not have a strong budget.  Whether you are a fledgling business, a non-profit, a church or just someone who wants their money to go further, understanding how powerful free tools can be, can help your business grow until you have enough money.  Then you can choose what, if any, programs you would like to pay for.  Will you consider sharing this article?  Email this page by clicking this button >>  Email this page

 

What alternatives do I have?

The top two alternatives that come to my mind work totally different from one another.  One is called OpenOffice and is freely downloadable to your computer.  It works a lot like MO and was developed by one of the original developers of the project.  They keep the system up to date and it has pretty much the same functions as MO.

The other one may surprise you.  It is Google.  When you register for a free gmail account, you get what is called a “Google Drive.”  Inside the Google Drive, you can find a place to create or import documents, spreadsheets, presentations and much more.  Plus, they give you 15GB of storage for free, as of the time of this writing.

 

What are the differences?

I don’t want to go step by step or this post would be one hundred feet long, just keep in mind each product has its own set of goods and bad (even the paid ones!).  For instance, some of the formulas from spreadsheets may or may not work in one program or the other.  The trade-off is to have more options and not have to spend any money.

Personally, I use Google Drive a lot.  It allows me to create documents and share them with people online.  I can even allow others to edit it or I can allow them just to view or download the document which is great for teaching, coaching or working with clients.

One of the big bonuses of working with Google Drive is that you can create a form online for free.  It allows you to collect information and put it in a spreadsheet automatically.  You can perform surveys, register people for an event, collect the needed information for a project or countless other ways.  I like that it is easy, tied in with my email and it does not cost anything. Plus, I can download GoogleDrive on my smart phones to have access to all of my documents from my phone and even edit them from there!

 

How to use Microsoft Alternatives?

Again, I would have to write a book on using these, so let me be brief.  First, use them just like MO.  They have the same formatting (bold, italics, bullets, etc.) and they have a similar layout.  Go in and try some different things to see which works best for you.

OpenOffice

For OpenOffice, you will want to go in and download the program. Install it using the recommended settings.  Once you download it, you will find that it works pretty much like MO.  There are some slight differences, but like any tool you use, just get to know it, look up some training videos on Youtube or ask for someone to coach you how to use it better.

OpenOffice also offers a bunch of templates that will help you develop your branding.  They have forms, letters, budgets, brochures, and a lot more to give you an edge when it comes to creating your marketing or managing your business.

microsoft alternative OpenOffice

 

GoogleDrive

For Google Drive, log in or create a gmail account.  Your drive is accessed by clicking on the nine little squares to the left of your name in the upper right hand corner.  Once you are there, click on the big reddish button that reads “New.”  Here you can choose to create a new document or upload one of your own.

microsoft alternative Google Drive

 

(If you would like complete video training on using over 34 free Google tools like this one, visit GHacks in our resources.)

 

Conclusion

With all the advances in technology, more and more tools are becoming cheaper to use and even free.  There are many alternatives to your paid software, you just have to decide what works best for you and your business.  If you pay for fancy software and it fits your needs, go for it.  If you want alternatives and do not want to have to pay for common software, then check out OpenOffice or GoogleDrive.

The key to any good tool, it is to train yourself and get used to how they work.  The more you understand the tools you have for your business, the more those tools can help your business grow.

 

The key to any tool is how well you learn to use it. #ChristianBusiness #freetools Click To Tweet

Christian business owners know a picture is worth a thousand words, but did you know that an icon can communicate ten thousand words?  Find out the power of this free icon tool for your business.

 

What is IconMonstr?

Icon monster is a collection of over 3,000 icons.  They are simple black and white images that are bold and eye catching.   This website says, “iconmonstr is a free, high quality, monstrously big and continuously growing source of simple icons.”  This page is dedicated to a large collection of picture concepts that communicate ideas.

If you have a smart phone, you use icons everyday. An icon is a simple visual graphic that communicates an idea.  Think of cave drawings.  We all know what the stick figure for man is, right?  That all started with a simple concept of communicating an idea with a simple graphic icon.

 

What can I do with IconMonstr?

Icons are visual tools.  You can use these tools in presentation, on your webpage, in brochures, in your apps, on your webpage, etc.  These images can be used to teach people to use your product, train your employees, use them for marketing tools to catch attention, and break up busy pages of text on your brochure or online.

Icons have become a great communication tool.  You may have heard of emojis, which are smiling faces, thumbs up and things like that.  People use icons on their phones to communicate how they are feeling.  Why not use the power of these simple images to catch attention and clearly communicate to your audience?  Use an icon in a social media post and it stands out from all the others in its simplicity.

 

How to use IconMonstr

IconMonstr is a collection of icons.  It can be used with things like Canva, PowerPoint or any other way you are using to relay information.  Icons are a tool and this page hosts a collection of icons that you can use in many other marketing tools to maximize communication.

Start by clicking on “Collections” wonderfully placed at the top with a file icon. (See how they are using their own icons?!)

Pick a category, and look for an idea in that category. Or, you can just click on search, next to the magnifying glass icon.  (Can you visualize a magnifying icon before you see the picture below?).

free business tools icons

 

Once you find the icon you want, click on the license agreement, then click the download button.

free business tools icons

 

Conclusion

Icons communicate ideas.  If you can plant an idea in the head of your audience, you can have a customer for life.  That idea become synonymous with your brand and every time someone sees the image your icon represents, they will think of you and your business.

Icons are meant to be simple, so keep it that way.  One icon for one idea.  You can use a simple sequence of icons to convey a series of training or thoughts.  You can even use icons to accent your already powerful marketing by attaching each service, idea or product to a simple icon.

Lastly, IconMonstr does not have religious icons.  These are simple business icons to help communicate business ideas to your customers, employees and owners.

Note: You can NOT use the icons from this page for logos. Make sure you read the license to see how these can be used.  Contact the page owner if you have any questions.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but an icon can communicate ten thousand words. #ChristianBusiness #iconmonstr Click To Tweet

 

Additional Resource: Another great resource for icons is: http://www.iconarchive.com/  They have colored icons and lots of different categories including religious.

 

Christian business owners need a way to map out ideas and have a visual reminder of processes.  I want to introduce a free tool called Xmind.

 

free mind mapping business toolsWhat is Xmind?

Xmind is a mind mapping software.  Mind mapping is visual way to represent ideas and concepts.  You can think of it like a visual thinking tool.  Just like your brain thinks of one idea, then branches to another idea and that idea sparks three more ideas, you can ‘map’ out an idea in a variety of ways.

 

What can I do with Xmind?

I love mind maps.  They are an easy way to understand concepts.  You can use them for meeting notes, book summaries, brain storming and word associations.  You can use it for studying, goal setting, and problem solving.  You can even use it for project management, product creation and organization charts.

Personally, I have used mind maps to layout training for people that I coach.  I have used it for mapping out large projects.  I have used it for teaching business ideas.  I have used it to organize the various layers of my various businesses.  It really helps to have a visual reminder of all the things you need to do or want to do.

 

How do I use Xmind?

This is a software that you download to your computer.  It does have a free version, since it is open source, and they do have an upgraded pro version.

Once you download and register, both free, you will open the program to styles of mapping.  You will see things that go around the central idea, some go below, and some go to the right or left.  You will also see timelines, matrix columns, and a thing called a fishbone.  Select the layout style that best suit your purpose visually. (Don’t worry if you choose the wrong one, you can change it later.)

free business tools

 

Next you can choose a theme.  These are colors and styles pre-programmed to give you a great way to display your information and make you look like a pro.  Some are fun and some are more business style.  Some even have bright colors and cloud shapes.  Keep in mind the way you will display this information.  If you are going to print it, you may want to stick to a white backgrounds. (Again, this can be changed later as well.)

free mind mapping business tools

 

You will then open a page that has a ‘central topic.’  This is the title of your mind map and the core idea that you want to represent.  Click the box and type in your topic.

Hit enter and you will see a box show up around the central topic.  This is a subtopic of the main topic.  Each time you hit enter, you get a new topic surrounding the central topic.

Then, if you hit ‘tab’ on your computer you will see a subidea to the subtopic.  You can have as many ‘branches’ as you want on any section of the mind map.  You can even collapse them as you work through your ideas by clicking the circle with a – sign.

free mind mapping business tools sample

 

To the right you see a menu where you can change the colors, background, font style, font size, shape of each branch of the mind map, etc. On the top you will see a menu to add floating topics, comments, images*, icons*, and add ‘relationships.’ Relationships is when you draw an arrow from one part to another to show those ideas or concepts are connects.

*Some functions are pro functions that must be paid for.

The best way to use mind maps it to just get in and play with the program.  Pick and idea that you have been thinking about.  Put that idea in the center.  Then, anything that pops in your mind, hit enter and type it.  If that idea pops another idea, hit tab and type that idea.  Hitting enter on any level keeps you in that level. Hitting tab takes you to the next level down.  You can always see where you are by looking at the outline on the right hand panel at the top.

 

Conclusion

Mind mapping is a great way to communicate.  I have seen entire books laid out on a mind map that captured the main ideas in an easy to digest format.  I have also seen it for ideation, teaching and training.  One person uses mind maps to do business training which he charges quite a bit for.

Mind maps can be addictive, but once you get the hang of it, you can map out ideas quickly.  It is much more visual and much more interactive than a written document and may change the way you train your employees, educate customers or develop products.  Give it a try today and take advantage of this free business tool called Xmind.

 

Mind Mapping is a great way to represent ideas visually. #Xmind #Christianbusiness Click To Tweet

Christian business owners need a fun way to organize and collaborate on ideas and projects.  Meet Trello.

 

What is Trello?

Trello is a free online tool to help organize your thoughts and projects.  Their page boasts, “Trello helps teams of all sizes work collaboratively to get more done.”  Basically, it is a board type site/app that allows you to create lists and cards to manage projects.

It doesn’t stop there.  Each card can be given a checklist, due date, color tabs, images and you can even attach documents.  The power comes when you can assign specific people to specific cards, or tasks.  Think of it like one of those cork bulletin boards.  You post cards under each person’s name so they know what they are responsible for and when they are done with their part, they put it on your section of the board so you can make progress on the project.

 

What can I do with Trello?

Personally I really enjoy the flexibility of moving cards to different boards and assigning tasks.  I have used Trello to organize a virtual worker.  I have used Trello to work on large product releases.  I have used Trello to capture and create blog posts.  I have even used Trello to design web pages, hold workers accountable, mentor, coach, and so much more.

Because Trello is also an app, you can tie it into your phone, tablet or computer.  You have it wherever you go.  Start with a basic list of things that need to be done.  Add a card for each project.  Assign each card to a specific person.  (You may need to invite them first.) It’s that simple to start collaborating with workings, friends or clients.

 

How to use Trello

Start with a free account.  Feel free to upgrade to ‘Gold,’ but for most of us the free plan works fine.

It will give you a sample board where you can get to know the system.  In the board, it highlights all the features and includes some great tutorials.  They have three boards, basics, intermediate and advanced.  Start by going through the basics so you know how to use it.

free business tools

Then, pick a single project that would gain benefit from using a system like Trello.  Create a new ‘board.’  Invite a worker, client or friend by adding ‘members’ at the right side.  Then post three ‘lists’ to organize your project, if they are not already created for you:

  • To be done
  • Doing
  • Done

Then add cards for each section of your project.  Let’s say you are rolling out a new product or book.  You may create a card for packaging, production, marketing, etc.  Put checklists and due dates as necessary to keep your project moving forward.

Now you are on your way to becoming a collaborative genius!

 

Conclusion

Christian business owners, just like anyone else, need to have a system to help keep them organized.  You can use bulletin boards, day timers, etc., but why not use an electronic version that goes with you wherever you go.  Trello makes collaboration easy and fun, plus it is free.  There aren’t a lot of business tools this powerful for this price.

Trello helps you become a project collaboration genius. #Trello #Christianbusiness Click To Tweet