Ingenuity By Divine Design?

Ingenuity By Divine Design?
By Cynthia Bull

Faith often plays a role either directly or indirectly in the success of a business. While faith-based business owners may feel comfortable speaking about its positive and supportive effects, some others might shy away from openly expressing their "faith” and extolling its influence on their approach to business. Artisans possess traits that are reflected in their work ethics, challenges and commitments, all of which ultimately contribute to their successes and which sometimes include elements of divine design.  

The Association of Artisan Businesses recently awarded a business grant to one of its exceptional member artisans, Dominican Nuns/Seignadou Soaps (, a faith-based business. When asked about the greatest challenge for their business, Dominican Nun Sister Mary Catharine Perry said, "Our greatest challenge is figuring out how to have sufficient liquidity to grow our small business” and "how to manage production more efficiently and in such a way that our contemplative lifestyle of prayer isn't compromised.” She cites one of their greatest business achievements as "a wonderful vehicle for people to get to know about our monastery, about our life of prayer.” She adds that the business "has become a sort of ‘conversation piece’ for people to get to know us.”  

Small business owner and AAB featured artisan Mariann Smith ( founded her business in 1984 after the birth of her daughter. She says that her greatest challenge "has been trying to maintain a balance between family and business…I strive to maintain an equal balance between my home life and my family life.” What keeps her going in hard times? Ms. Smith says: "My faith in God keeps me going. Despite the fact that I am a hardcore business woman, I do have a very strong faith in God. I have turned to Him in some of the darkest times of my life…What also keeps me going is the knowledge that I have a family to support and that better days are always ahead. I try to see the glass as half full, not half empty.”  

Whey Better Farm, LLC owner Patricia Magaldi ( is also an AAB featured artisan. Ms. Magaldi fashioned her website after the words taken from the gospels when Jesus cures a leper. She is one of many business owners who cites the present economy as the biggest obstacle she currently faces, but offers this encouraging advice: "Don’t get down when things don’t turn out the way you wanted…Someone will eventually notice and you'll be rewarded.”       

AAB featured artisan Denise Rodgers ( offered the following general advice when asked what has contributed to her success in business: "Desire, passion, determination, focus, the willingness to work long hours, and a good support system of mentors.” Her advice to other artisans is, "Work at building a solid foundation for your business from the start. Your business will only be as strong as your foundation.”  

Whether your approach to business is influenced by divine design or with a more nuts-and-bolts, secular flavor, here are ways to bolster your business acumen:  

  • In addition to the Internet, go to a library and look up topics and references including subject matter, authors, books, articles, etc., anything you can think of that exposes you to new information that you can add to your knowledge base.  
  • Ask associates, coworkers and mentors for materials and references outside of what is already available to you. If you don't ask, they won't know you're interested and make it available to you, and they won’t know that you are serious about your work, your business. 
  • In today's poor economic and business environment, initiate and seek information in order to exceed your own expectations.  Design and create your own educational programs to stay ahead of the pack, especially in your niche. As you earnestly put forth the energy and effort to excel, make certain that you've left no stone unturned, and eventually your aspirations can become your reality. 
  • Avoid getting caught up in mental games with yourself that are easy to play and avoid being around those who are not putting forth their best. They and that type of mental attitude will only adversely affect your self-discipline, your expectations, your energy and your results. Only you are in charge of that, so seek to be self-reliant as much as possible.  
  • Don't doubt yourself despite disappointments and make it a habit to never dwell on disappointments. Process them and move forward as quickly as possible. Readjust and use your time to find paths to the knowledge you need in order to achieve your goals. 
  • If you're a believer, remember that it never hurts to say a prayer and allow yourself to be influenced by divine design.  

CYNTHIA BULL ( is an internationally published writer and editor who helps international authors, marketers and speakers add greater value to their products through her top-quality writing, editing and transcription services. She is the author of How To Be A Medical Transcriptionist and Winning At Work While Balancing Your Life, a contributing author of Walking with the Wise Entrepreneur (Mentors Publishing House), cited in Make BIG Profits on eBay (Entrepreneur Press), and Managing Editor of Mentors Magazine Think & Grow Rich Edition. Cynthia has created over 200 book products in the past two years for her clients and, as mentor, helps clients reach their goals through her products, experience and genuine caring. Cynthia writes this feature article exclusively for the Association of Artisan Businesses (, an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the artisan industry.