Keeping Faith at the Forefront of Business

Advice on How to Keep God at the Center of Your Goals From Allie Walker

Prioritizing a strong relationship with Christ while meeting all the demands of pursuing a career in business can be overwhelming. I sat down with Allie Walker, local small business owner, to get all the advice on running a business that glorifies God. Walker owns Katherine Marie Weddings bridal shop and wedding planning in downtown Anderson, South Carolina, as well as serves as the Director of Experiential Education at Anderson University. Walker shared some of her thoughts and experiences as a small business owner on what it means to pursue business with Christ at the center. Here’s what she had to say:

Pursuing business, and especially starting one from scratch, can be consuming. How do you keep God as your top priority while meeting the demands of business?

“First and foremost, I try to remember that what I have is God’s. My business, my building, my finances, and my clients are all God’s. Some days this is easy to keep in mind, but it’s also easy to become prideful in what you’ve accomplished. There’s also the struggle of worrying about the small details of business, like the invoices and the funds, so it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of it all. At the end of the day, though, I have to ask myself how I can be a good steward of the skills, time, clients, and customers God has given me. Can others tell that I am running my business as a believer? Do I appear as someone who’s kind and different from the world? Running a business can bring on many sleepless nights, and I have to remind myself that God can provide customers or vendors, and either He will provide or He will move me in a different direction. It’s His business to either grow or close. Whatever I do, I am called to do it to glorify God. If we try to plan everything out, we don’t leave room for God to be God. He calls us to pursue things in this life, but we can’t let those things become our idols.”

Business in general is very profit-driven, so how do you keep your business focused on glorifying God rather than simply maximizing profit?

“This is tricky, but it goes back to being a good steward, when we’re making a profit and when we’re not. Keeping up with good financial planning can help you keep this in mind. You have to focus on what foundations you can create and support with your profit. Ask yourself how you can you give back to your employees. Managing your money well can help you be able to do this. How can you use those profits to honor, respect, and love your neighbor and your community as yourself? You have to be a good steward of what the Lord has blessed you with, whether that’s your profit, your employees, or your customers. We have to be profitable. The Bible speaks a lot on debt, and in business it’s very easy to fall into debt, especially when you’re just starting up. Running it through the filter of being a good steward of my time and money helps me keep my focus. Is your focus only on the bottom line of making profit? Am I treating my employees or coworkers as units to make profit instead of as human beings? We have to pay attention to our financial numbers to be good stewards of what we’ve been given.”

Do you have any thoughts on how businesses can facilitate Christian service?

“For my company, we give monthly to two organizations, but there are many ways to serve, whether that be through financial means or through offering your service. For example, there is a program here at Anderson where those who make under a certain threshold can come have their taxes done for free, so those accountants can volunteer their time and skills to give back to others. There are ways to pursue your passions while giving back to your community. Even if your passion isn’t your job, you can have that job to save for your future and use your passions to serve your community. Some companies have service days instead of vacation days where employees are paid to take time off to go serve their community. Businesses can make a huge impact on their community through efforts like these if we take our eyes off the bottom line.”

The competitive spirit of business can be very prevalent. In such a competitive environment, how do you maintain being a good example of Godly love to your competitors?

“In the wedding industry, my team and I can only do so many weddings. We have to have connections. Other companies may charge differently, or we may not all be up to the same standard, but we have to reach out and get to know our competition. There’s also the part of competition where you can’t look at your competition, because then you become self-conscious of what your business is doing. I’ve learned that it’s good to share teaching and knowledge with others. It’s okay to hold some information about our business closer to ourselves, but it’s also okay to consult each other and have healthy crossover. I try to give guidance to new wedding planners. When I worked in real estate in Atlanta, we were constantly sharing leads with each other. If our focus is making our customer’s lives better, then we can learn from our competition. Not every business will want to work with you, but at the end of the day not one of us can serve every client on our own.”

              Allie was a wealth of knowledge during our interview. Pursuing business is an extremely demanding and at times vexing endeavor, so it is crucial that we professionals support each other and lean on God for our support as well. I greatly appreciated hearing Ms. Walker’s insight on all the components of being a Christian in business and I look forward to connecting with her in the future.