The market place could be explained in two ways
- Simply, any location where goods and services are exchanged for money or to satisfy the needs and/or desires of the parties involved in the exchange.
- It could also be explained as a system by which individuals or corporate entities deploy what they have to obtain what they need or want, within the law.
Whether the market place is defined in terms of locational activity or systemic activity, one thing is clear, it is driven by the intensity of need, desire or interest of the parties involved.
The bottom line in the marketplace is profit. Profit in terms of financial gain or the purpose for the transaction.
How old is the marketplace or market system?
Based on our definitions, we could say that it is as old as humanity. There is not one individual that has the capacity to create everything he/she would need at any point in time. This makes it impossible to survive alone.
However, everyone is endowed with the ability to create some things in great abundance, much more than he could ever need.
This situation throws up two challenges;
- What do I do with the excess?
- How do I obtain the other things I need or desire?
Natural wisdom steps in; Trade what you have for what you need. Trade by barter is born. This quickly dissolves the two challenges, but the joy is short lived. Why? This arrangement is too cumbersome and frustrating.
Something more convenient became necessary. People in different places agreed on acceptable medium of exchange. Whatever they agreed on became their legal tender. Things like cowries, animal skin, salt etc. Over time money evolved. Metallic coins, paper money, credit notes (like cheques), plastic money (credit & debit cards).
Until today, trade by barter still operates side by side with the use of money.
Market Place Today
Ever since, the market place activities have become quite huge and complex, involving not just individuals, but corporate organizations, states, nations and regions. This evolvement has churned out diverse challenges.
Consequently, various alliances at all levels have emerged, in the form of partnerships, trade associations, regional and continental agreements. Professional bodies, National and international chambers of commerce. For instance, we have NACCIMA (Nigerian association of chambers of commerce, industry, mines and agriculture). This is an association that holds together all the chambers of commerce in Nigeria. The various trade unions and organisations are either controlled by them or at war with them.
At the regional and continental levels, we have bodies known as International Economic Communities;
- AEC – African Economic Community
- UMA – Arab Maghreb Union
- COMESA – Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
- CEN-SAD – Community of Sahel – Saharan States
- CAEU – Council of Arab Economic Unity
- EAC – East African Community
- EACCAS – Economic Community of Central African States
- ECOWAS –Economic Community of West African States
- IGAD – Intergovernmental Authority on Development
- SADC – Southern Africa Development Community
- UFM – Union for the Mediterranean.
- EAEC – Eurasian Economic Community
- EEA – European Economic Area
- EEC – European Economic Community
- EU – European Union
- RCC – Regional Cooperation
- UFM – Union for the Mediterranean
- CAN – Andean Community of Nations
- CSME – Caribbean Single Market and Economy
- SICA – Central American Integration System
- LAIA – Latin American Integration Association
- MP – Mesoamerica Project
- NAFTA – North American Free Trade Agreement
- MERCOSU – South Common Market.
All of these are efforts to overcome the overwhelming challenges in the global marketplace.
A Few Helpful Deductions
Before we get into the challenges proper, we need to make a few deductions about humanity and the market place;
- The marketplace or system, at the lowest level, is driven by the need for survival.
- Beyond survival, it is driven by the desire for profit, wealth and comfort
- The desire to control territories (the struggle for supremacy) also affect the way and manner business is conducted at the continental and regional levels.
- Every contender in the marketplace deploys every wisdom, skill and power at his disposal, including weapons of war, to corner for himself as much wealth as possible
- In the heart of everyone in the marketplace is that wealth is scarce and limited and that any delay could be very costly. So everyone is in a terrible hurry.
These deductions, hold true both in the pre- and post-civilization ages. The only difference is in magnitude. We have become more desperate today.
To discover the root of the challenges in the marketplace, let us look at the pre-civilization era when the economy was based mainly on agriculture.
An agro-based economy would depend on the following factors to do well.
- Climate, favourable to agriculture;
- Fertile land;
- People to cultivate the land, and
- Availability of Seedlings
Absence of any of these four factors could cause serious economic setback.
Therefore, any region known to have good climate and fertile soil holds a lot of attraction. People migrated to such regions. This fueled land disputes, intra- & inter-community wars, and Regional conflicts. Niger Delta. Abraham and Lot.
The need for large population for the purpose of cultivating the land, and for execution of wars promoted slavery and polygamy.
Challenges in today’s Marketplace
These four factors that affect the pre-civilization economy are still relevant to us today. The challenges we have in the marketplace today can be identified from these four domains.
Domain of Challenge
Break down of the Challenges
Refers to the enabling Environment for Investment
|1. Govt. Policies; archaic tax and labour laws, politicising the passage PIB, etc.
2. Weak regulatory bodies; NAFDAC, SON etc.
3. High cost of power & provision of other utilities, water
4. Sluggish response to emergencies
5. High corruption level; customs etc.
6. Insecurity; high crime rate, unsafe highways
7. Hostile Communities/Touting
8. Influence of Trade Associations
9. Influence Technological advancement
10. Effect of Poor Health care delivery
11. Influence of the new age movement
Type of business and/or
location of business
1. Very fierce competition
2. Unethical competitions
3. Mass rush into any area of business that appears very profitable; pure water, schools, hotels, filling stations, etc.
4. Hostilities in locations rich in mineral resources. ND, mining sites across the country, etc.
5. Difficult bottlenecks for entry into certain sectors.
|1. Lack of training
2. Poor work attitude
3. Low income levels
4. Inadequate preparation for business
5. Poor understanding of the dynamics of the market place.
1. Raising initial capital
2. High cost of funds
3. Poor saving habits
4. Frequent and sudden disasters that wipe off capital
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES BY HIS GRACE?
From these scriptures we notice that Grace is a helper and a teacher.
We know The Lord Holy Spirit as our Teacher and Helper.
In the book of Zechariah 12:10, He was introduced as the Spirit of Grace.
I submit that if we truly want to overcome the challenges in the marketplace, we must forge a strong alliance with the Spirit of Grace.
God has a plan concerning the end-time market place. Micah 4:1,5
All of mankind has come to their wits end, and everyone is seeking supernatural help. The church must avail herself of the provisions God has made for our victory in this season.
God has control over all the factors from which the challenges in the marketplace emanate from. Still drawing analogy from the agrarian economy of Israel, see what God said about climate, land, people and seedlings.
The climate; ‘For the land you are about to enter and take over is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you planted your seed and made irrigation ditches with your foot as in a vegetable garden, rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain – a land that the Lord your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year.’(Deuteronomy 11: 10-12. NLT)
The Land; For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills.’(Deuteronomy 8:7-9. NLT)
The People; ‘The Lord your God has increased your population, making you as numerous as the stars! And may the Lord, the God of your ancestors, multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as He has promised!’(Deuteronomy 1:9-10. NLT)
The Seed; ‘For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you’. 2 Corinthian 9:10
We can see that God is interested in our business and is available to take us by hand and guide us step by step unto success. In this case here, it is an integrated enterprise, comprising of farming and food processing. Machineries were involved. Vs. 26 and 29 clearly states that God is the instructor, the teacher, the guide and the counselor for this project.
You could notice that timing, location, choice of machines, process patterns, product lines, are all part of what God is addressing here.
If we take this as a model, we can be confident that God understands to the minutes detail any kind of business we are doing and the challenges in them.
The following steps would help you connect to God’s grace
- God demanded that we should pay attention to Him. Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He has instructions to give us. Remember that grace is a teacher and a helper.
- Don’t go into any business that God did not lead you.
- When you are sure that God is leading you, enter into a covenant with Him concerning the business. Under God, determine things you will never do no matter the temptation.
- If after this step you still have peace concerning the business, then proceed to begin to gather information and know how on that business. You will see God raise helpers for you.
- Find out the minimum basic regulatory requirement for that business. Make sure the business is properly registered with corporate affairs. Go to the relevant tax office and do your documentation. Plan from the onset to pay tax. Seek counsel from other members of the church that are in business. If you follow the proper procedure, some of the challenges will fizzle out on their own.
- There is also the proper place for every business to be located. For every stage of your business, there is a right location for it. The right location will save you many troubles.
- You could see the need for training in this farming enterprise, (vs. 27). In this case, God Himself was the teacher (vs.29). Training imparts/skill and brings about competence. Competence helps one do his job gracefully. Continuous training keeps you on the cutting edge.
- Engage in entrepreneurial training. To create wealth, you have be an entrepreneur. Much of what we have today are things like; a skilled auto mechanic opening a workshop, a brilliant medical doctor opening a hospital, a good civil engineer stating a construction company, an anointed man of God starting a church. The list is endless. Now, being a brilliant doctor and running a hospital are two different things. One is a profession, the other is business. You need to know how to keep basic accounting books, manage staff, manage customers, manage money, handle labour laws & tax issues etc. Without entrepreneurial knowledge, you can only succeed by chance.
- Basic knowledge of computer application has become very critical. The world has changed. Without computer literacy, doing real business with any reputable company will almost be impossible. There are several free online IT training. Start from the ones you can afford.
- Seek to employ the right people in your organization. Someone said that the right people don’t need motivation. They are motivated already. They only need the right environment.
- Create the right environment for work. The spirit of grace is available to help you create a graceful environment for productivity. Let there be liberty in the company.
- Learn to sustain valuable relationships. God could also use them to intervene on your behalf, especially with the government. It is not enough that you have favour with God alone. Jesus had favour both with God and with man.
- Seek co-operation. Discover your trade association and obtain membership. It helps with access to information and in dealing with several of the environmental challenges. Get involved with credible cooperative societies, even your town unions. God could use all of these in the area of raising capital for business.
- Some of our businesses have faulty foundations, and as you know, if the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Some are not properly registered with relevant government authorities. Many don’t pay tax at all. Some have gone into partnership with concerns that are not acceptable to God. These anomalies must be corrected, if you want to move forward.
- Does God have a place He meets with you that He might bless you and give you understanding? Exodus 20:24. As a business concern, you must have a living altar unto God. Service it through corporate prayers, intense spiritual warfare, by offering your complete tithes, firstfruits and other sacrifices. Invite your pastors and other anointed men of God to give you prophetic help. Ezra 5:2Ezra 5:2 ‘Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.’
Beyond knowing and doing all the right things that you know, we need God’s mercy to succeed in business in the world today.
Daniel was a righteous man, with the spirit of excellence, and was faultless in his work. They still skimmed him into the lion’s den. God intervened.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to compromise and they were thrown into fire. Again God intervened.
Mordecai did his job well, and even helped, as a security personnel, to foil a coup that could have claimed the life of the king. But because his boss did not like him, they planned to kill him and his people instead of promoting him. Again God intervened.
Someone said, ‘don’t bow, you will not burn’.
In Micah 4:10-12. ‘Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, o daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemy. …..