3 Key Aspects of an Engaging Elevator Pitch for Your Small Business or Ministry

3 Key Aspects of an Engaging Elevator Pitch for Your Small Business or Ministry

Nearly every small business owner understands the importance of having a good elevator pitch—a prepared introduction to your products or services that you can recite in 30 seconds or less (the time it takes to ride from floor to floor in an elevator). It’s a phenomenal tool for networking and has many other benefits as well. The problem is, it’s hard to pare down what we think is important when we’re passionate about our business. I’ve often been asked, “how do you write a killer elevator pitch?” 

Think of delivering your pitch this way:  It’s a short learning exercise that will encourage someone to remember what you do and how you can help them (or someone they know). By including 3 key aspects in your 30-second elevator pitch, you can stir others to become excited to engage with your business. Here’s how:

A Simple Way to Pitch Your Brand

I’m always surprised to see the number of business owners and ministry leaders who are uncomfortable sharing what they do. They don’t want to feel pushy or sales-y. When they envision telling someone about their products or services, they imagine themselves as a used car salesman in a bright yellow suit. It’s no wonder they choose to keep silent. 

It shouldn’t be so hard to muster the courage to share what you do. And with the right elevator pitch, it doesn’t have to be. 

Consider a conversation with a person who shows a need for something you offer. Suddenly you see how you can actually help them. Your demeanor changes. You straighten your shoulders, speak with more clarity, and portray a level of confidence you didn’t know you had. Suddenly, you’re talking about your company with authority and purpose. You feel the assurance of your giftedness and it shows. 

When you include the right aspects into your pitch (also called a one-liner), you can walk into any conversation with that level of certainty. 

What Do You Say in an Elevator Pitch?

When someone asks you what you do—even if it’s one of those passing questions and you suspect they’re simply making conversation—it can be easy to draw them into a meaningful conversation.

Remember that you’ve worked hard to develop your craft and make a career out of your passion to benefit others. You have what it takes to make a difference in the lives of others—to help them overcome a problem or challenge. That leads us to step one of in this face-to-face way of promoting your company:

1) Identify the problem that your customers face.

Let’s face it. Most people feel a need to talk about the problems they encounter. They want to know that someone else understands what they’re going through. Most want to know they’re not alone and they search for any help available. 

So, when you share the problem that your potential customer faces, you’ve started a strong pitch for your company. You’ve given yourself a comfortable way to connect with and grow your audience.   

The second step of the plan is equally simple:

2) Share your solution you offer.

Whether you’re in ministry or business, selling products or services, or offering support through a non-profit, you’re offering a solution that your customers need. The next phase of your sales statement is to demonstrate how you can help. You’ve shown them that you understand the problem they face, now convey a short, simple statement about how you can help. 

Since your aim is to recite your pitch in under 30-seconds, you don’t have a lot of time to get into nitty-gritty details. Give them a birds eye view of the solution you deliver—just enough to create some curiosity and make them want to know more. Share how you can help in a clear and compelling way. 

Then you can move on to the final step of the plan:

3) Show them the benefit of doing business with your company.

By showing empathy for their struggle and demonstrating your carefully planned solution,  you’re ready to hit the ball out of the park. It’s time to share the benefits they’ll enjoy when they engage with your brand. Paint a picture of how much better their life can be when they’re free of the problem they’re facing.

Use visual words and paint a clear picture of success. They won’t reach the same conclusions on their own, so invest all the time you need as you create this portion of your pitch. Describe how much better their situation will look, feel, sound, and even smell (if that’s appropriate) by engaging with your company, brand, or organization. 

Using Your Pitch Beyond the Elevator

Not only is a clear, compelling elevator pitch a helpful tool in networking situations, it can shine in other parts of your promotional collateral as well. You can use your “one-liner” (which refers to the single statement, not necessarily a single sentence) to showcase what you do. . .

  • On the homepage of your company website
  • In your “about us” section 
  • In your bio
  • As an opening or closing remark in a promotional video
  • On your sales page
  • And many other places as well

In reality, an elevator pitch is rarely used in an elevator, so bust it out and use it whenever possible to show empathy for your potential customers, showcase your ability to help, and paint a picture of success for those you serve. It’s a small but mighty tool for your company. It does more than help your audience engage, it can generate new leads, website visits, and even sales!

For more examples of engaging elevator pitches and ways to use them beyond the elevator, I invite you to check out The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers.  

Is an Elevator Pitch Really This Simple?

I’m one of those shy, introverted, business-minded professionals who used to struggle to share what I do. Truth be told, making conversation with strangers is not a strong point and I’d much rather stare at my smartphone in an elevator than tell someone about my business or my career. 

When I developed my one-liner, however, things changed. Not in an elevator per se, but in a variety of networking settings. When I attend events with my husband or meet new people at a dinner party, it’s inevitable that someone will ask, “What do you do?” Now I have a prepared answer to provide. It only takes a few seconds to say, it feels comfortable, and I’m often amazed at the conversation that follows. 

An Example of an Elevator Pitch

When asked what I do, I can say, “I’m a business growth coach,” which is slightly descriptive. Or I can say “Writers and ministry professionals often struggle to apply strong business principles. I offer coaching through proven methods and frameworks to help them reach a wider audience and grow their brand.” 

Even if the person I’m talking to isn’t a writer or a ministry professional, they likely know someone who encounters the problem I’ve described. If they personally don’t need my help, I can see their mind filling with names and faces of others who might. Then, when I paint the picture of success, it opens new doors. Suddenly it becomes easy for them to ask for my website or schedule a consultation. 

I no longer step away after meeting someone agonizing over a missed opportunity. I feel confident that I’ve presented myself in a professional, helpful manner. Even more impressive are the new contacts I’ve made, some of which have resulted in website visits, product purchases, and coaching agreements. 

How to Writer a One-Liner and Get the Job Done

Because your one-liner (aka elevator speech) is such a foundational component of promoting your brand, I’ve included step-by-step instructions in one of my most popular products: The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers. It breaks down each piece of your pitch into surprisingly simple steps that help you create, analyze, and fully develop your one-liner. The guide also provides several practical examples of elevator pitches that our team has created for businesses. Reviewing realistic examples will help you say “I can do this!” and confidently move through the process. 

I understand that most people don’t start a business or ministry because they can’t wait to market it. They love helping people, not promoting what they do. Most of the time it feels awkward to “self-promote” but it doesn’t have to. With the right tools, you can promote your brand by using proven methods and frameworks taken in bite-sized chunks. You can feel comfortable and at ease while sharing what you do and the Ultimate Marketing Guide will show you how. I invite you to purchase your copy today. It’s a low-cost but highly impactful resource that you can use for each product, service, or aspect of your business or ministry. 

Feeling Confident in Your Pitch

When you include the right aspects into your pitch (also called a one-liner), you can walk into any conversation with confidence and certainty. Incorporating the three vital aspects of identifying the problem, sharing your solutions, and showing the benefits of what you offer can be a game-changer for your organization.

Stop losing contact and sales because you don’t know what to say. By writing a pitch and practicing to memorize it, you’ll free yourself of the paralysis that strikes when you meet someone new. An engaging elevator pitch will make sure you’re always prepared to show the effective job you deliver for your customers.  

Polishing Your Elevator Speech

After you’ve worked to write a good elevator pitch, I’m happy to provide you with feedback. It’s incredibly beneficial to gain insight from someone who isn’t familiar with your company and can strengthen your communication to an outsider. Simply schedule a free appointment and I’ll help you put an extra layer of polish on your pitch. 

And if you just need a little extra encouragement to get the job done right, don’t forget to grab your copy of The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers. It provides all you need to walk through every stage of the process so that you feel confident when you say your pitch and make potential customers excited to engage with your brand. 

Creating your elevator pitch is something you may have put off doing. But I encourage you to generate yours as soon as possible.  When you practice saying it until it feels comfortable to deliver, you’re sure to be amazed at the way it will help you generate new leads, website visits, and even sales!

Prayers for Business Success — 25 Powerful Scriptures to Pray for Your Christian Brand

Prayers for Business Success — 25 Powerful Scriptures to Pray for Your Christian Brand

Business leaders faced countless difficult decisions in 2020. For many, it felt as if progress toward prosperity came to a screeching halt. Suddenly, financial goals seemed out of reach, employees were furloughed or laid off, and tough decisions were made. Like no recent time in our history, small businesses began to lift fervent prayers to the Lord for business success.

 

In the months preceding the pandemic, it seemed to many business leaders that they could coast their way to wealth. They felt confident that their past efforts to make a successful business would carry them through. Then our world turned upside down with health concerns. In such an unprecedented time, many small business leaders turned to the Lord for counsel, guidance, and provision. That has proved to be a good practice. Prayer is now and always has been powerful and effective. The Word of the Lord says that the prayers of the righteous avail much.

 

What would happen if businesses began to consistently lift a prayer for success? Not only when hardships dampen hopes to succeed—but daily? Imagine the result of seeking the Lord to ask for help to follow Biblical principles and run God-honoring businesses—even during prosperity? What if business leaders offered these kinds of prayers for business success:  

  • Consistent prayers for business growth
  • Fervent prayers for success and prosperity
  • Passionate prayer for successful business transactions
  • Ongoing prayer for business breakthrough
  • Heartfelt prayer for more customers
  • Sincere prayers for profitable sales

 

Imagine the impact if business owners turned to the Lord to determine what the Bible says about honoring God in business, or making sound decisions? A lot could change—for the better.

 

Why A Business Should Offer Prayers for Success

The uncertainty of 2020 has taken a marked toll on businesses. World governments took a stance never before seen and mandated business closures or imposed regulations that were too extreme for small businesses to endure. Many business leaders felt as if control over their organizations had been stripped away. It felt as if many decisions were no longer theirs to make, which made leaders feel powerless to steer things in a positive direction. Too often for entrepreneurs, it felt as if someone else was in control of their business practices. A sense of frustration and hopelessness ruled the day.  

 

The truth is, it shouldn’t be so hard to prosper in the marketplace and work for the financial security of our children. And yet the health crisis has crushed the job market and made it feel nearly impossible for any business to thrive.

 

So what good can it bring to offer prayers for business success?

 

The Bible saysTherefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24, ESV). This applies to prayers lifted for personal matters and business concerns alike. 

 

Prayer is also a trusted way to gain wisdom. When we ask God for wisdom, direction, and guidance, He gives it freely. Consider James 1:5 (ESV) which says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

 

The Hope that Prayer for Business Brings

 

Many Christian entrepreneurs and ministry leaders already know the power of prayer. Seeking the Lord calms anxiety, turns hearts toward gratitude, and helps us know that we are never alone. Communing with God and seeking His strength for all of our concerns is a basic tenet of the Christian faith. 

 

When we forsake the practice of prayer, we’re often consumed with worry. Our focus becomes fixed on the problems we see and our minds feel overtaken with fear for the future. Without prayer, it’s far too easy to lose hope, to feel overwhelmed—without direction, and utterly alone.

 

Yet the moment we begin to pray, we can sense God’s nearness and the hope of Jesus Christ. We’re able to cast our cares upon the Lord knowing that He will carry them on our behalf because He cares so greatly for us (see 1 Peter 5:7).  The psalmist declared, 

 

The Lord is near to all who call on him,

    to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18, NIV).

 

We’re wise to thank the Lord for His provision and remember to actively call on God. Amen?

 

Offering Prayer for Guidance Through Business Decisions

 

As a small business owner, I’ve faced many challenges over the past months. At moments it felt as if my business wouldn’t survive the pandemic. Leads dried up, customers put services on hold, and uncertainty ruled the day. 

 

As I prayed over my business, I discerned the Lord prompting me to pivot—to rethink what I offered. When I began to pray I felt God bring fresh ideas along with the wisdom and training opportunities to carry them out. When things looked bleak, I continued to walk in hope and remembered to thank Jesus for His guidance. As a result, the last half of 2020 brought more financial success and opportunity than the prior three years combined. I’m now coaching business owners to clarify and strengthen their online marketing message so that customers are invited to envision the story of their own well-being.

 

By offering prayer to the Lord, I am confident that I’m walking in His path, pursuing His purpose for my life, and enjoying a meaningful business. I believe every business owner should feel confident—even amid uncertain times in our economy. Prayer is one of the ways to achieve that.  

 

Faithfulness in Prayer Can Lead to Prosperity

 

Business success is about much more than improving financial means. For entrepreneurs who follow Christ, a business can be a meaningful way to build relationships and model the ways of Christ. Many who don’t know Jesus Christ will never grace the doors of a church and your business practices may give them a glimpse of hope they never knew existed. Business owners have a unique opportunity to offer prayer for those they serve and to show the love of God to a hurting world.

 

While the Bible doesn’t promise financial prosperity, in several instances the Bible says that we can make our way prosperous and set ourselves up to flourish.  Consider Deuteronomy 8:18 and Joshua 1:8, below (emphasis added):

 

God gives the power to gain wealth

“… but remember that the LORD your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors as it is today” (Dt 8:18, CSB).

We make our way prosperous

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Jos 1:8, ESV).

 

Just as these verses encourage, when we offer prayers and ask God to make our business thrive, we invite the movement of the Holy Spirit. He will show us the power God provides, and as we meditate on the Word of God we make our way prosperous. Righting our hearts before Jesus is a powerful and proven way to help our efforts succeed. 

 

When we flourish in business, we can give more generously, help others, and reveal the work of the Lord to those around us. Lifting prayer for business success reaches beyond selfish motives and can genuinely impact customers, vendors, employees, our own children, and generations of people—all through the wise decisions we’re equipped to make. 

 

25 Scriptures to Enhance Your Business-Minded Prayer

 

The most simple yet profound way to lift prayers for your business is to use Bible passages to provide guidance. Some of my favorites are:

 

Proverbs 3:3-4 (NIV)

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

 

An example of praying the Scripture is:

 

Father God, write your love and faithfulness on the tablet of my heart. Help me find favor and a good name in Your sight and before mankind. In the name of Jesus, amen.

 

Matthew 5:16 (CSB)

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. 

 

Offer prayer like this:

 

Lord Jesus, may Your light shine through me. In my business, let customers, employees, and even their families see the good works that You instill so that they can see you and give you glory. In the name of Jesus, amen.

 

Psalm 84:11 (ESV)

 

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

 

A prayer can sound like this:

 

Thank you, Lord, that you help me to walk uprightly in my job. Be my sun and shield. I ask that you bestow Your favor and honor on my business and withhold no good thing. In the name of Jesus, amen.

 

For more Scriptures to pray over your business, I invite you to download my free eBook, a collection of 25 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Business. It provides Bible verses along with encouragement to offer prayers through each one for your own business success.  

 

It’s not difficult to offer prayer for your job or business by using Scripture.  In fact, there are three easy steps:

  1.  Research the Bible verses (this is already done for you in my eBook—25 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Business—and you can download it for free). 
  2. Offer prayers using the Scriptures in Jesus’ name each day (or at a minimum every workday).
  3. Thank Jesus for the ways the Lord will reveal Himself and how He answers your prayers. 

 

Prayer Can Enhance Your Business 

Imagine how it will feel to pray and focus on God throughout your day, knowing He is with you. In prayer, when you ask for and receive God’s guidance, it makes all things feel easier, less overwhelming, and somehow simplified. When you pray, your work becomes more efficient and meaningful and you see your products and services begin to help others. Those are likely the reasons that you started your business in the first place, and when you start to see your work pay off, it’s easier to believe that you’ll find prosperity. Then, by saying thank you to Jesus, you give Him the glory, honor, and praise for equipping you with all you need. 

 

Every Christian, whether a business owner, ministry leader, or employee should lift fervent prayer for their organization or job. Jesus longs for us to have an abiding relationship with Him, not only when we’re at home in a quiet place, but throughout our day: on the job, at work, while running a business, writing for the Kingdom, or leading others to Him. We are to pray without ceasing and continuously give thanks in the name of Jesus.

 

Download Your Free Prayer Ebook

 

If you don’t know how to offer prayer for your business or if you would like a free collection of Scriptures to help you lift prayers for business success, I invite you to download 25 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Business, my free eBook. It will provide you with the encouragement you need to cover your work life in prayer, ask Jesus for His help and provision, and to thank Him for all He gives. 

 

While God doesn’t promise prosperity, He does provide all we need to generate it in our lives. The Lord is faithful to hear our prayer. Interceding in His name, we give Him glory and let Him carry the burden of the weight of all the things our business or ministry needs. He is our provider, our guide, and our encourager. He cares about all of the work that we do and every life that we touch through our efforts. 

 

3 Fail-Proof Steps to Clarify Your Message and Grow Your Brand

3 Fail-Proof Steps to Clarify Your Message and Grow Your Brand

Have you created something wonderful? Maybe it’s a ministry that serves people or a book with an inspirational message. Perhaps you’ve created a business that helps people overcome a common struggle. You believe in it. You’ve invested money and shared it all over social media. But it still feels like no one knows about it—and that’s frustrating. I invite you to discover how to clarify your message to help your ministry, book, or business stand out in a noisy online environment.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our affiliate disclosure.

 

How to Reach a Wider Audience for Your Ministry, Book, or Business

 

The sad truth is, even though your product or service may be exactly what people need, they won’t engage with your brand unless your message is easy to understand.

 

“People do not buy the best products and services, they buy the products and services that are communicated the clearest.”  Donald Miller, Bestselling Author of Building a StoryBrand and Marketing Made Simple

 

Since people buy-in to the easiest rather than the best, what would happen if you developed a clear message for your product or service? What if you became the easiest brand in your field to do business with?

 

The average consumer sees over five thousand marketing images each day. The online world is more than noisy, sometimes it feels like pure chaos. With so much stimulation, it’s nearly impossible to capture anyone’s attention, even when you have something they need. Instead of trying to figure out an unclear message, they tune it out.

 

That’s a problem for someone trying to share details about a ministry with the potential to change the world or a business with a revolutionary solution. It feels disheartening. It shouldn’t be so hard to get your product or service into the hands of those who need it.

 

What you need to cut through all the noise is clarity.

 

What a Confusing Message is Costing You

 

You worked hard to develop and launch your service. Now, instead of serving customers and watching the resulting glow from the help you provide, you spend countless hours trying to advertise. Marketing feels like an experiment that never works, yet without it, you fear you’ll become just another failed statistic. You’ve poured way too much of yourself into your brand to have that happen.

 

But there is a better way! When you clarify your message and present it with consistency, your customers will understand. They’ll begin to see you as an expert, but more importantly as a guide who can lead them to the solutions their hearts crave. Soon you’ll see that they will engage with your brand, make purchases, and share what you offer with friends.

 

After reading the StoryBrand book (Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller) I knew immediately—this was the solution I’d searched for. I took all I learned a step further and pursued training to become a StoryBrand Certified Guide. While in training, my cohorts and I were tasked with writing a clear message for a product. I selected a prayer devotional for marriage that I’d written about 2 years prior. This was one of the best products I’d ever created, yet sales were disappointing.

 

To complete my assignment, I wrote a new message that focused on clarity. Then I shared it on social media over a break in our training. Without even creating a sales funnel, I simply used the StoryBrand framework to share a clear message. By the end of training that very day, I had email notifications for two new book sales. Within hours, my clear message was already bringing results.

 

To reach a wider audience for your ministry, book, or business, you must clarify your message. I’ve seen it work for many clients and for my own products and services too.

 

3 Fail-Proof Steps to Clarify Your Message

 

So how do you clarify your message? While the StoryBrand framework is a bit more involved, I’ll break it down into a simple, three-step roadmap.

 

Begin with the problem

 

By talking about the problems your potential customers encounter, they’ll become more interested in your message. Suddenly, they’ll see themselves in a story. They can envision using your product or service because you’ve proven that you understand what they’re facing.

 

As you reflect on the problem that you solve for your audience, consider what roadblocks to success that they see every day, the way those roadblocks make them feel, and how they might believe the world “should” be. These are known as external, internal, and philosophical problems. When you convey that you understand what they face, you’ve helped them understand how you can help.

 

Share the plan

 

This is the part where you make it easy for them. Break the process of engaging with your brand into three simple steps. Let me share a few examples:

 

If you’re running a ministry for the homeless your three steps might be:  view our online list of needs, drop off supplies at our central location, feel the satisfaction of helping families in your community.

 

If you’ve written a book, three simple steps may be: read my book, follow the 5-part blueprint, enjoy newfound confidence.

 

Don’t overcomplicate the process. Our minds easily function with sets of three so keeping your plan to 3-steps is best. Make the journey easy for your potential customers so they know what to expect and can envision themselves taking the next step.

 

Invite the action

 

Too many leaders fail to ask for the sale. The third no-fail step to clarifying your message is to call your audience to action. Tell them what you want them to do. Your call to action doesn’t need to be lengthy or over-involved. Words like “buy now” “schedule an appointment” or “give online today” are clear, easy to execute, and create engagement. Weaker calls to action like “learn more,” “start now,” or “click here” are vague, muddled, and confusing. Invite them to take a very specific next step.

 

How Clarifying Your Message Can Grow Your Brand

 

Most businesses and ministries are multi-faceted. Books cover multiple topics. As you work to clarify your message, focus on one aspect at a time. How do you want to be known? When your customers think of you, what do you want to come to their minds every single time?

 

By clarifying your message, you begin to establish yourself (or your brand, or your team) as a go-to expert. You stimulate curiosity about what you offer and begin to build a trust relationship with potential customers. When they’re ready to engage, they’ll think of you first and connect without hesitation. Your reach will expand, and your brand will grow.

 

Staying consistent with your clear message, repeating it often, and helping your audience envision a connection with you will give you a competitive advantage. You’ll help your customers understand the benefits of working with you. A clear message will forever change the way your customers think about you and the value you bring to their lives.

 

 

Help to Clarify Your Message

 

If you have mind-blowing ideas but struggle to execute strong messaging principles, I can help. I lead ministries, small businesses, and solo-preneurs through repeatable frameworks so they can grow their brand while prioritizing what matters most. As we work together, I’ll help you adopt effective business-building strategies and expand your reach. My superpower is leading others to success. I can’t wait to come alongside you on your journey.

 

Schedule a consultation today at www.cathymcintosh.com/growyourbrand.  I aim to be the best investment you make in your business or ministry. Let’s meet for a virtual coffee and discover if we’re a good match.

 

 

 

 

 

Should Christians Pursue Planning and Goal Setting?

Should Christians Pursue Planning and Goal Setting?

As Christians, should we pursue planning and goal setting?

 

Surprisingly, in some circles of faith I have been discouraged from doing so—to relax as I see God planning my life and directing each moment. I was led to verses such as:

 

Matthew 6:34 (ESV) “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

 

James 4:13, 14 (ESV) Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.”

 

planning and goal setting

 

Through these passages, it was reasoned that there was no point in creating a meaningful life plan or SMART goals. But there’s far more to consider.

 

God has a Plan

 

Interpreting certain Scriptures to mean “don’t plan for tomorrow” contradicts the nature of God and the words of Jesus. Through the full context of the Bible, we see that the entire journey of following Jesus and finding His success involves long-term planning.

Throughout the Bible, God reveals Himself as a planner. He is a God of order, One who prepares and plans for what’s coming next. We are wise to do likewise, so planning and goal setting are key.

 

As we follow Jesus, our aim is to become increasingly like Him. We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). God has a plan for us; we should have plans for ourselves as well. Our plans are best when aligned with His. Then they can most effectively help us accomplish His divine purpose for our lives.

 

The Bible is alive and active, able to breathe life into our weary bones and align our hearts and minds to God’s will—all by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only by seeking and relying on the Holy Spirit can we begin to grasp all that God’s Word reveals to us. It takes a lifetime of study and meditation.

 

That’s why we must always remain mindful of the context of His Word and its overarching revelation of Who God is.

 

What Does God Say About Success?

 

By scouring the Bible to discover God’s heart about planning, success, and even health and wealth, we find wisdom and encouragement that is often overlooked.

 

The Power to Gain Wealth

 

Deuteronomy 8:18 conveys that God gives us the power to gain wealth. It does not say God gives us wealth, rather He provides all we need to attain it. Looking deeper, the original Hebrew term for wealth implies far more than monetary gain. It encompasses valor, strength, virtue and might—all of which are worthy of an effective life plan.

 

The Path to Prosperity

 

Joshua 1:8 teaches that when we follow God’s ways, we will make our way prosperous. Again, God is not promising prosperity but providing all we need to make our own way prosperous. He gives us the means, but the doing is up to us. We can become prosperous in our relationships, finances, generosity, wellness, and so much more.

 

We have a responsibility to obey God’s ways and do as He calls us to do. Rather than sitting idly by and waiting for Him to move on our behalf, He tasks us with moving to action and helping others in His name. Planning and goal setting are monumental first steps in following Him.

 

Create a meaningful life plan and develop a daily routine to make it happen.

 

 

What Does the Bible Say About Planning for the Future?

 

Throughout the Word of God, we see His encouragement to plan for the future and not be caught unawares.

 

Proverbs 14:15-16 (NASB) “The naïve believes everything, But the sensible person considers his steps. A wise person is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless.”

 

Matthew 10:16  (CSB) “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.”

 

Luke 14:28 (CSB) “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?”

 

1 Corinthians 14:40 (ESV) But all things should be done decently and in order.”

The Proverbs 31 woman is a careful planner, thinking ahead and considering potential consequences and her family’s well-being before acting.

 

Ultimately, as God is planning our life we should be making plans to do as He leads.

 

 

How to incorporate Faith into Daily Planning and Goal Setting

 

When planning, it’s wise to aim for more than financial prosperity and business success. We can also plan for Kingdom living here on earth, for strong, healthy relationships and for peace and joy. By keeping God’s ways in the forefront of the planning process, Christians can more effectively serve as His ambassadors and maintain an eternal focus—even while working toward earthly success.

 

There’s a bit to reconcile as we balance surrender to Him while embracing our own responsibility. To effectively plan with this balance in mind, we can follow these simple steps:

 

Get Quiet Before God Before Planning and Goal Setting

Psalm 46:10 (ESV) says “Be still and know that I am God.” When we sit at His feet, God calms our fears and aligns our heart with His own. Every good, God-honoring plan should begin with prayer and time in His presence.

 

Seek God’s Will

Actively seeking God’s will ensures our plans don’t stem from a place of fear, anxiety or worry. We’re to rest in His provision and seek His ways above our own. Matthew 6:33 (CSB) declares, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you”.

 

Follow God-Given Dreams

One of my favorite verses is Psalm 37:4 (CSB) which says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Many believe the verse implies God will give us everything we desire. Instead, it reveals that He plants desires in the hearts of His followers. Our hopes and dreams are inspired—and ordained—by the loving God of the universe. We can confidently write these dreams in concrete. They are a gift from God that we are to nourish, protect, and pursue.

 

Get to Work With Your Plans and Goals

As you step into service toward God’s will, first plan with care then put that plan in motion. By following His ways, we will see His unquestionable partnership in the work we do in His name. The psalmist cries out in Psalm 90:17 (ESV), “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”

 

Respond to God’s Lead

It’s said that as we write our dreams in concrete, we’re to write our plans in the sand. In other words, we’re not to become slaves to our plans but to leave room for God to move and direct or path. God has a plan. Knowing He’s always at work helps us (as Matthew 7:7-8 teach us) to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking to continuously seek His direction and lead.

 

Remember to Plan Rest

Every plan must include time to rest, refuel, and rejuvenate. We’re to practice self-care as we serve the Lord with diligence. Mark 6:31 shares Jesus’ specific encouragement to His disciples to find rest. We must be filled with Christ to pour out to others in His name. Just like meaningful work, intentional rest requires careful preparation and planning.

 

 

Should Christians pursue planning and goal setting? The Scriptures and the heart of God are clear. Yes, we’re to make careful plans and diligently work toward God-inspired outcomes. By all means—plan, prepare, set SMART goals. Follow a proven process to help you create a meaningful life plan and adopt a daily routine to make it happen. Then enjoy the manifold blessings that God pours into your life.

 

As followers of Christ, it’s our aim to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” when we enter Heaven. To live a life worthy of His acclaim doesn’t come by aimlessly drifting. It requires intentionality and execution of a meaningful plan.

 

I invite you to discover how to create a meaningful life plan in my half-day workshop called Hero on a Mission. I’ll walk you through three important steps and provide the tools and resources you need. Come select a date that works on your calendar and let’s get started!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Tips to Become a Better Storyteller (and why you should)

5 Simple Tips to Become a Better Storyteller (and why you should)

“Well? What happened?”

 

I’d just returned from the doctor’s office and my husband wanted to hear the story. As I sorted out the complicated details inside my mind, I found myself wondering how I could become a better storyteller in the next fifteen seconds.

 

Story is a powerful, sense-making tool that often lends better understanding. While the news I had to share wasn’t bad, it was a bit convoluted and I didn’t want to give him a long-winded answer. I knew by staying simple and focused, I could best ease his concerns.

 

 

The importance of storytelling

 

Anyone can be a storyteller, in fact, most of us already are. We use story as a tool in daily communication, parenting, business, ministry, writing, and even marketing. Even Jesus taught with parables (stories) to help listeners make sense of complex matters. Stories not only entertain; they engage us emotionally and help us remember details that might otherwise be forgotten.

 

These are ample reasons to become a better storyteller.

 

What are the techniques of storytelling?

 

It’s not difficult to learn the art of storytelling, but like any other talent, it takes a bit of practice. Remember that to become better at something, you must keep trying. So, start where you are and keep working to get better.  There are a few techniques that are helpful.

  • Keep your story as clear and concise as possible
  • Make your main character likable
  • Make your villain (either a person or a circumstance) easy to dislike
  • Don’t always rely on the first ideas that come to mind. Let your story unfold inside your mind and look for deeper meaning.

 

5 simple tips to become a better storyteller:

 

Great stories have a controlling idea.

Those that ramble are hard to follow, so when telling a strong story you’ll want to stick with the point you’re trying to make. Toy Story focused on Sheriff Woody’s fear of rejection. Finding Nemo took us on Marlin’s journey of letting go. Avoid digressing and adding too many diversions or subplots.

Great stories convey emotion.

They tug on our hearts. When sharing a story, draw on your own emotional experiences and help the listener (or reader) feel them too. Think beyond what your character sees and reach into what she feels. How do those feelings cause her to react or withdraw?

Great stories share conflict.

A movie with no conflict is not interesting. As soon as conflict resolves, the movie is over. A fight doesn’t have to be between people but can also be an internal struggle or an external obstacle that the hero must overcome. The conflict is one of the most important aspects of your story so emphasize it well.

Great stories deliver the unexpected.

A story that’s too predictable (or shared too often) doesn’t capture attention. Mix it up and deliver a twist your reader didn’t see coming. You don’t have to be overly imaginative, just consider that in life things rarely go exactly as we expected. Use real-life examples to reveal a surprise.

Great stories finish strong.

Have a strong conclusion—one that resolves the conflict of the character and convincingly portrays the emotion of success or failure. A powerful conclusion will also defend the idea of your story or convey a moral. Tie a nice bow around your story before you call it finished.

 

The storytelling examples around us

 

As you work to become a better storyteller, go back and re-read your favorite novel or watch one of your favorite movies. Look at it with new eyes, examining it to learn its storytelling techniques. Consider things like:

  • What made you like the hero of the story
  • Identify the obvious and subtle obstacles the hero faces
  • How does the hero feel? Did you feel that emotion too?
  • What is the main point of the story? Now look a bit deeper and see if you can find an even deeper theme.
  • Which parts of the story surprised you the first time you read it?
  • How does the conclusion resolve the conflict and show victory or defeat?

 

Every one of us has a storyteller inside and good storytelling is a powerful and effective means of communication. To discover the art of storytelling, simply look at the stories unfolding around you every day. Pay attention to the things that hold your attention and then use those techniques in your own storytelling.

 

Before long, you’ll see your writing (even your non-fiction writing) improve. Your communication skills will become stronger, and you’ll begin to feel more confident in the thoughts and ideas you share with others. Above all, remember to enjoy the journey.

 

 

The Power of Storytelling in Marketing

The Power of Storytelling in Marketing

Writers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses know the frustrations of marketing. You pay for ads and work to build your social media traffic but see little impact. Instead of wondering why your promotions don’t work, it could be time to adopt storytelling in marketing.

 

A couple of years ago, while researching for a client, I came across a podcast and had my first exposure to a company called Story Brand. At the time, client work was straggling in, I’d been a devotional blogger for several years, and I was beyond frustrated with the traffic and sales I wasn’t seeing. In all transparency, I questioned whether I had what it takes to be in business for myself. Maybe you’ve been there too.

 

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement.

 

I felt like a failure and wrestled, almost daily, with the idea of quitting the life of an entrepreneur and going back to the corporate world. There seemed to be a ceiling I couldn’t break through. I could only take my business so far before hitting a plateau then watching my income stagnate or fall backward.

 

Then I listened to Donald Miller in a podcast about StoryBrand. He explained the power of a story and the success it brings to marketers. I devoured his book, Building a StoryBrand. I knew this was the answer I’d been waiting for—and I was right. Soon, I embraced storytelling in marketing so completely I wanted to use what I learned to help others.

 

Since then, I’ve watched my own businesses grow—without putting all my hopes in the social media bucket. I can’t express to you what a relief it is to spend more time on business and less on social posts. And I’m blessed to help others as a StoryBrand Certified Guide. By guiding other small businesses and ministries to take a storytelling approach to their messaging, I’ve watched their frustrations dissolve into exciting celebrations.

 

How is Storytelling used in Marketing?

 

In today’s culture, people see well over 3,000 advertising campaigns every day. The sad truth is, we’re so inundated with promotions, we no longer buy the best products and services. We buy what we can most easily understand.

 

Story is a sense-making device. And it’s easy to imagine ourselves as part of a story.

 

In the “old days,” businesses told customers facts about their products then hoped they’d engage. With storytelling, we invite our potential customers to envision how our service will help them overcome a problem they face. Through story, we evoke emotion and help them see how great their life can be with our help.

 

Using Storytelling to Strengthen Your Brand

 

The best way to strengthen a brand through storytelling is to focus on the customer as the hero of the story. Too many businesses position themselves as the hero—sharing their expertise, or their academic training, or the number of years they’ve been in business. There is a shift that happens when a brand serves as a guide who helps the hero win the day. In other words, the brand is Yoda or Obi Wan while the customer is Luke Skywalker.

 

Brands are strengthened when they point the hero (their potential customers) toward products and services that will help them conquer the problems they encounter. When a business guides a customer to success, their brand becomes stronger.

 

Examples of Storytelling in Marketing

 

Now that you can see a clearer picture of using storytelling in marketing, I believe a few examples are in order.

 

Amazon has a commercial about a ballerina that brings me to tears each time I see it. And the story rings true. We know we can easily find what we’re searching for on Amazon and make purchases that help us survive the pandemic and engage with those around us. As customers, we can see ourselves caring for our neighbors in a similar fashion.

 

Another of my favorites is this branding video by 6th Avenue Homes in Texas. The team draws potential customers into a story and helps them envision themselves enjoying the services provided. While it is a video, it’s clear to see their storytelling message. 

 

In both instances, the customer becomes the hero and finds success through the help of a guide.

 

Advance Your Business

 

Writers, small business owners, and ministry leaders often feel insecure because they haven’t mastered strong marketing and business principles. Secretly, they wonder if they have what it takes to grow a successful business and worry that soon they’ll be exposed as a fraud.

 

I understand completely because I’ve walked that exact path and finally found a way to overcome it.

 

The power of storytelling in messaging and marketing is something I’ve seen first-hand. I believe it’s a concept every business owner should embrace as soon as possible. That’s why I’ve taken my journey with StoryBrand a step further and have become a Business Made Simple Coach. Now I can guide more professionals to the success they desire.

 

If you’re ready to gain traction in your marketing efforts and earn the loyalty of your customers, I invite you to Advance Academy—a monthly coaching membership to help you master effective messaging, marketing, and other proven business strategies. 

You’ve invested in your craft and you have products and services that are worthy of recognition. Now invest in your brand, discover the value of effective marketing, and watch your reach expand.

 

Entrepreneurs often have mind-blowing ideas but struggle to execute strong business and marketing principles. I help them master repeatable frameworks so they make more money while prioritizing what matters most.

 

As we work together through Advance Academy, I’ll help you adopt effective business-building strategies and increase profits. I can’t wait to come alongside you on your business journey.

 

To strengthening your brand,

 

 

 

www.cathymcintosh.com/advance

 

 

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