Eddie Long: How To Create A Blueprint
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Eddie L. Long

In his new book, 60 Seconds to Greatness, Bishop Eddie L. Long, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, instructs people to create a blueprint to help realize God’s plan for their lives and the lives they encounter. The lessons were born from sermons he gave to his congregation at New Birth, says Long about the book, which ranked No. 10 on the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association‘s list of the 50 bestselling books for March 2010.

The 56 year-old pastor is no stranger to crafting a plan and seeing it through. Even the growth of his church–from 300 members in 1987 when he first came to New Birth to the 25,000 members he pastors now–is a testament to his teaching. His accomplishments are expansive, his accolades are numerous, and he credits every victory to God and strategic planning.

Bishop Long will speak on this very subject at Black Enterprise’s 15th annual Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by ExxonMobil taking place at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, May 16-19, 2010, but BlackEnterprise.com wanted to provide you with a sneak peek in advance. Here is what Long had to say about faith, finances, and entrepreneurship.

What are some of the fundamental elements you need to create a blueprint for success in your career, finances, and business ventures?
The fundamental thing is planning. To do anything successfully, there must be thought and strategic planning. It holds you accountable. When you have a plan, you have to do your research, and then start working your plan and marking your progress. That basically guarantees your success because you have a foundation. That foundation is very important to how successful you are going to be in your business, your life, your finances, and your legacy–because you will always leave something [behind].

What are some of the things you ought to keep in mind while doing that type of planning?
Someone once called me a terrorist because they asked me where I wanted to end up in life [and I didn’t know]. They said only a terrorist knows how to fly a plane but doesn’t know how to land it. You have to know where you want to land when you’re planning financially and what the overall thing you want to accomplish is. So, first, you have to start  interrogating yourself–where would you want to be in five years or 10 years? Utilize your resources. Get advice and wise council from other successful people. Once you start figuring out where you want to be and where you want to end up, then you [will] understand the unique place where [you] can be a blessing to others, and [you will] feel like you’re not only being successful but making a significant contribution to life for others.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting a faith-based business?
First, any business that is very successful is one that operates in integrity, honesty, and great character. Regardless of what field it is in, you [should] operate under certain principles of your faith that should never be compromised. With that said, people who want to open up faith-based businesses [need to] understand one thing: There are only so many people in that buying group. I encourage people to have the attributes of faith-based business, but … provide a service or product that is a benefit to everyone. Now you are able to make greater revenue and be able to hire more people. That is something that helps our whole community.

How can an entrepreneur share their faith if the products and services they sell are not faith-based? That is not to say you can’t sell a faith-based product or service, but a [business with a broader customer base will] give you a greater ability to expand. The people who encounter your company will encounter your faith because that is what your business is built on. For example, Chick-Fil-A is a Christian business. They don’t open on Sunday, they make great profits. They don’t sell religious chicken, they sell chicken that everybody eats. They are constantly expanding because they have not limited their product to only people of the faith. Therefore it gives them a broader reach. They are sponsors of what used to be the annual Peach Bowl. They changed it to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. They make sure that when they open on national television, the bowl starts with a prayer to God. With the income that they bring in … they continue to touch people who are of the faith and not of the faith.

More from Bishop Eddie L. Long:
My 60 Seconds to Greatness Leadership Speaker Series 2010
Longfellow Youth Academy for Young Men
The Business of Faith (Black Enterprise, May 2006)

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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