A Christian’s attitude towards Business (You vs You 4.0)
Here are the excerpts from You Vs You 4.0 panel discussion that the Rebuilders organised on the 23rd of August 2014. We’ll be covering the discussion in a Q&A format in three parts over the next week or two, which will make it easier for the reader to understand, and also help them get an idea of what You vs You is all about.
Today, we cover a part of that discussion, where Ligin Abraham, Executive Director of Bethel Engineering Pvt. Ltd., answers a few questions on a born-again Christian’s attitude to the field of business. Prince Scaria was the moderator of the event.
Prince: Ligin, here is my first question, you have built your business and you have seen it evolve from scratch to what it is now. You would know what it takes to start a business and establish it. Many of us have an interest in starting our own business but have no clue how to. Can you throw some light on some basic stuff that we need to know and be sure of to start a business?
Ligin: First of all, to start a business, what you need the most is ‘Passion’- a passion which can overcome all hurdles in spite of the situations that may rise up. Sometimes, business may not work well and the expected outputs may not come, but still one’s passion towards business should continue. Of course, passion along won’t do, as along with that you need a good business idea and plan. Also, finance is equally important to establish business. Initially, some amount of investment would be needed as well as equal amount of finance to balance the economic status of the company should be available for proper establishment of the business.
I am saying all this at the assumption that you have a calling by God over your life to start a business. Also remember, when the Lord is calling you to start a business, He is doing so to ensure you play your part in the expansion of His Kingdom. And if it is the Lord’s calling, I believe you will be guided by Him in every step of the way, while also making sure that you don’t lose your focus and passion towards it.
Prince: My second question is based on the very you mentioned in your answer – finance. I read this somewhere where it said Indians have a lot of brilliant business plans and ideas but unfortunately no financial backup like in the West. We all face this. But I hear that things are changing now and we have lot of financial companies who readily invest. Can you give us some tips or ideas on how to go about it, if we are a little behind on cash, or will you tell those people that practically it’s better not to venture into business.
Ligin: Yes, financial backup is of utmost importance. In my case, I had my father who actually had established our business and whose footsteps I just had to continue and so I did not face much difficulty. But my father did face his hurdles when he began. I believe the Lord was with him to help him grow.
Although you have different financial companies who promise financial backup, we must understand that in the end they would be expecting some kind of returns as well. There are many businesses which failed in spite of having a good business plan which lead to horrible financial and emotional conditions of entrepreneurs, leading some to even commit suicide. So it’s a fine balancing act! When you start a business you most likely would have to put in everything you have and hence my personal suggestion is unless you have a proper and reliable source of financial backup, you rather not venture into it. Again, I come back to the point – Calling is important!
Prince: My last question touches all of us, especially in India- corruption. We all know in India it does exist and many times you just cannot get around it. You must have faced thousands of such scenarios. How do you deal with it? How much can you avoid? And is it practically possible to have a bribe-free or corruption-free business or survive without getting involved in it and if not, what do you do in such situations?
Ligin: This is tough to answer. It’s true that in India, we cannot run away from corruption. One important thing to be considered while starting a business is to keep in mind about the various taxation concepts related to business. One must have a good tax consultant who should be able to guide us properly about the various business taxes which are prevalent in our country. When it comes to this, the “We were not aware” answer would not work. One should have proper knowledge and should keep themselves updated about the changing governmental laws which pertain to business. Being ignorant to these can land us up knowingly or unknowingly to incur some penalties from the government. Therefore, I suggest the best way to avoid corruption as far as possible is to have your documentations correct and intact from the time you begin your venture. So, you will not have to ask for ‘favours’ from the authorities, which may lead to some under-the-table dealings. It’s a strict “No!” As Christians, we should have a zero-tolerance attitude towards corruption, and that can be achieved only if you don’t leave a room for it.
With inputs from the Rebuilders.
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