Marketing and Customer Service through a Spiritual Lens

by Ross O’Brien

In part 1 and part 2 of this series, we began looking at Porter’s value chain as a useful tool for business people seeking to maximize the value they deliver to customers while also seeking to gain a competitive advantage as they execute their strategy. Beyond the traditional use of the analysis, we also sought to use the tool as a way to help a follower of Jesus steward the resources of God’s company. In this third part of the series, we examine marketing and service, the final two primary activities in the value chain.

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Operations and Outbound Logistics Through a Spiritual Lens

by Ross O’Brien

In Part 1 of this series, we began looking at Porter’s Value Chain Analysis as a useful tool for business people seeking to maximize the value they deliver to customers while also seeking to gain a competitive advantage as they execute their strategy. We looked at Inbound Logistics as one of the primary activities in the value chain.

Beyond the traditional use of the analysis, we also unpacked how the tool could be used as a way to help a follower of Jesus steward the resources of God’s company. After all, while our names might be on the legal documentation as “owners,” we realize that the business belongs to God and we are co-laborers with him in restoring creation throughout the marketplace.

In the second part of the series, we continue to examine the primary activities of the value chain, this time focusing on operations and outbound logistics.

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Value Chain Analysis Through a Spiritual Lens: Introduction

by Ross O’Brien

In his 1985 book Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, Michael Porter introduced the value chain analysis. Many business people are familiar with Porter’s Five Forces Framework as well as his three generic strategies. The five forces address industry-level issues that to a large degree shape the potential for a return on investment in any given industry. The generic strategies help business leaders select the appropriate strategy for operating within a given industry and market. Both are helpful tools in the strategy toolbox.

Many are not as familiar with the value chain analysis. This tool looks closely at each of the activities involved in a business to examine how each activity can add value to the company as it seeks to execute its strategy. These activities are divided into primary activities and support activities.

Primary activities are those in which employees are “hands on” with the product at any stage in its development or involved with the customer at any stage in the customer’s interaction with the company.

Support activities are those necessary for the business to carry out the primary activities.

It is important to see both primary and secondary activities as a whole system as well as component parts. In doing so, you can understand how a competitive advantage is only possible when the various activities operate in harmony, not in isolation. Below is an image showing each of these activities.

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Beyond God Bless You and Merry Christmas

by Mike Sharrow

I grew up in Alaska, in a melting pot of transient people and cultures (there are only 17 of us genuine Alaskans). I embarked on college then early career pursuits at a Fortune 50 company in Chicago where Christianity in the workplace was peculiar and I first wrestled with my own “sacred versus secular” frustrations. Then, in 2006, I moved to Texas and was surprised to find out that “everybody [practically] is Christian here!” At least, I heard a lot of Christianese and there was even a Christian business chamber of commerce.

What Does it Mean to Be a Faith Driven Entrepreneur?

Blown away by this apparent oasis of fellow sojourners in business and the Kingdom, I began to ask every entrepreneur I could “So, what does it mean that you’re a Christ-follower running your business?” With every answer my heart sank.  Read more

Three Lessons from The Good Book on Business

If Christian business leaders would accept their significant role in the Kingdom, we could transform the world! However, two current cultural paradigms hold back Christian businesses and prevent them from fulfilling their purpose: The secular idea that business is just about making money, and the Christian cultural idea that business is really a second-class occupation, subservient to the institutional church clergy.

Dave Kahle addresses these challenges in his book The Good Book on Business and helps us grow in our understanding of the importance of business in the Kingdom of God. Beginning with the first words God spoke to Adam and continuing through the entire Bible, Kahle shows that business was, and is, God’s first choice as a venue through which to interact with mankind, take care of people, grow character and faith, and channel God’s power and providence. Here are a three take-aways from the book for those wondering what the Bible has to do with their business:

1. God at Work

At the start, there is the foundational truth that God himself is a worker, as shown through His creation of the universe and culminating with His creation of humankind. God created humankind in His image, and so it is His intent for us is to also be workers, and by extension, to be involved in business.  Read more

10 Guiding Principles for Business as Mission

Read this classic blog from our Archives, an excerpt from the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission.
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A good business as mission business will, by definition, have many of the characteristics of any well-run business. A kingdom business must be profitable and sustainable just as any other business. Integrity, fairness and excellent customer service are characteristics of any good business, not just a business as mission venture. As such, while important, those characteristics will not by themselves necessarily point people to Christ. A kingdom business begins with the foundation of any good business, but takes its stewardship responsibilities even further.

What follows is a list of principles that should underpin a business as mission business. First we list the basic foundational principles that must exist in any good business. Following that are the principles that distinguish a good business as mission business.

Foundational Business Principles

1.  Strives to be profitable and sustainable in the long term

Profit is an indication that resources are being used wisely. It indicates that the product or service being produced and sold does so at a price that covers the cost of the resources, including the cost of capital. For most businesses, profits are fleeting, and never a sure thing. It is common for businesses to experience periods of low profit, and even negative profit. Thus it is important to take a long-term view of profitability. Occasional windfalls are often what will sustain a company through periods of financial losses. For that reason a well-managed business will use extreme care when considering whether and when to distribute profits. Profit, and its retention, is not necessarily an indication of greed. Read more

30+ BAM Job Opportunities Around the World

Each quarter we post an updated list of BAM Job Opportunities on The BAM Review. Welcome to the August Edition

BAM Company Jobs

General Manager – Gifts/Fashion Company in Southeast Asia

A social enterprise created to disrupt the cycle of poverty is seeking a General Manager.  The company trains women from low-income backgrounds to produce high quality gifts and fashion accessories made from traditional batik fabric. Duties would include setting goals, motivating team members, maintaining professional knowledge and nurturing the team. The qualified candidate would understand managerial duties to increase productivity and performance within the workplace freeing up the CEO to fulfil her responsibilities. 

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Director of Construction Management – Construction Company in South Asia

This construction company is owned and operated by Christians and was established in the 1960s.  It directly employs approximately 35 staff. The Company operates with integrity to bring quality design and construction services to its clients. The Director of Construction Management should have a minimum of 10 years experience in the construction industry, as well as experience in financing projects, tendering, projects and financial management – preferably in the developing world. They would hold a university level engineering qualification (Civil engineering being the most suitable) together with professional registration in some form.  While English is the language of business, Urdu language learning is recommended.

Download PDF | Contact Email

Head of Veterinary Services – Dairy Company in South Asia

This Goat Dairy Company has leveraged a technologically innovative and scalable model for producing goat milk and related products at commercially significant volumes to meet the demand of an existing and dynamically expanding market.  The farm’s milking operations, processing and packaging is done on-site.  The Company aims to address poverty in the communities in which it operates by creating sustainable income-generating opportunities for the rural poor. The Farm is in a period of rapid growth and recruiting a Head of Veterinary Services. The qualified candidate will hold a DVM or equivalent and be a licensed practitioner in their country of origin.  Experience in developing and implementing herd health protocols, and artificial insemination in small ruminants is helpful.

This Company is also hiring a Farm Manager for this location.

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Food Technology Expert – Food Production in East Asia

This manufacturer of jams, jellies and fruit juices has been in operation for over ten years.  The diversified customer base consists of supermarkets, wholesalers, and schools, as well as corporate clients.  The demand for its products continues to grow, including into international markets. To sustain this growth, land has been purchased and a new factory is under construction.  The company is looking to hire a Food Technology Expert who can both help the owner maximize his new equipment (still to be purchased) and help develop new products.  This would be a full-time position with a local salary. 

Contact Email 

Various Positions – Food Production in South Asia

This company is focused on becoming the top producer of a specialist seafood in Asia. It has built an impressive nursery/hatchery infrastructure and assembled a strong management team with experience in sales and marketing, branding, fish biology and operations management as well as top quality collaborative partnerships. This growing company is seeking:

Finance Manager/CFO with international experience

Project Manager/Operations Manager

Marine Engineer with 2-3 years experience

Power Management Engineer

Contact Email 

General Manager – Climbing Gym in Cambodia

Phnom Climb Community Gym is Cambodia’s only indoor climbing facility. As the General Manager, you have the opportunity to move Phnom Climb towards its vision to create a vibrant and diverse climbing community in Phnom Penh. At Phnom Climb, we pursue a high standard of safety and customer service. This requires constant introduction and follow through with the team to ensure that those standards are implemented. This position is like no other. While you have to oversee our entire operations, you have the opportunity to work with an amazing team of young, aspiring climbers within an international, colorful and growing community. This is your chance to shape this business and bring it to the next level.

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Various Positions – Khalibre, Software Development in Cambodia

Khalibre is a social enterprise delivering eLearning, enterprise business technology solutions and social collaboration globally. If you are experienced in software then drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can work together contact@khalibre.com.

Senior UX/UI Designer: Guided by business objectives, user needs, UX principles, and industry best practices; the Sr. UX/UI Designer designs digital experiences that solve problems for our clients and their users. This role requires a creative, motivated individual who understands the importance of putting the user first. You’ll shepherd design projects from ideation to launch, and be responsible for executing typical design deliverables, such as site maps, user flows, wireframes, visual designs and interactive prototypes.

Senior Solutions Architect (10+ years’ experience):  As a senior solution architect you will have strong experience in enterprise architecture design as well as experience with a broad range of Java technologies, social networking and development techniques.  You are someone who is recognized by your peers as someone who can take complex problems and create solutions that ‘mere mortal’ developers can deliver upon.

Senior Java Developer: As a Senior Java Developer you will have a high level of knowledge and experience with a broad range of Java technologies and techniques and excellent working knowledge in Spring and Hibernate.  You are someone who is recognized by your peers and your supervisor for being a valuable team member and someone who is helpful and supportive of others in the team, as well as being focused on achieving success in your tasks and projects.  

Visit our Careers Page for More Information and to Apply

Various Positions – Web Essentials, Software Development in Cambodia

Passionate about developing software and developing people? We are looking for experienced professionals to join our Cambodia and Switzerland based team. Web Essentials is an innovative, web development agency providing high quality services to international customers. Founded on Open Source and Christian values, we partner with clients to build quality digital experiences while building further capacity and opportunities for young Cambodians. We are pioneering fair trade software development – delivering excellent quality and social impact. We are looking for like-minded people to come onboard our mission. We know you will build life-long friendships and be a part of a rewarding vision to build up people to live out their God-given capacity within a fun and challenging environment.

Chief Technology Officer: Works at the intersection of technology and human development. The role ensures the organization has skilled and competent human resources to deliver quality products to clients and provides leadership in all areas of technology: systems architecture, local development tools, QA processes, coding standards, and product development.  Download PDF
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Four Essentials of a Working Spirituality

by Peter Shaukat

Having hazarded a comment on the global and ecclesiastical context of our time and offered a rough and ready theology of work, I’d like to outline few suggested essentials of a working spirituality with a missional worldview for the professional or business person.

Embrace the Incarnation of Christ

The first essential is to embrace the incarnation of Christ. Specifically, devotionally, prayerfully to remember and internalize the fact that Jesus walks the Holy Land of your country, your marketplace, your professional sphere through you. You are his hands and feet. You are his mind and word. You are a channel of his redemption and restoration. His promise that we would do greater works than he did in Palestine is surely supported by his promise to be with us and evidenced by the work and witness of practicing Christians in every profession, especially in places where it’s still highly unlikely that the majority have ever seen a Christian engineer, teacher, or businessman.  Read more

The Spirituality of Professional Skills and Business

by Peter Shaukat

This short and surely inadequate article on the place of professional and business skills in spirituality and mission is essentially a plea for Christ-followers to demonstrate and proclaim a wholistic gospel and to pursue authentic whole-life discipleship. In many respects, it reflects one element of my own pilgrimage in mission, which might be described as a long pursuit of an answer to the question: “How do we integrate our Christian faith with our vocational talents and training in a life committed to the global mission enterprise of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?”

My journey thus far is still for me most memorably crystallized when, as a young engineer-in-training experiencing the breakout of Jesus in my personal world, I approached a mission agency leader with the question: “What should I do to serve Christ globally?” The answer I received then was to go to seminary for four years and then come back and see him. His answer may just possibly (but probably quite remotely) have had to do with his perception that perhaps I had certain “ministry gifts” needing development. However, with the passage of more than four decades since that conversation, I am inclined to believe that it had more to do with a pervasive, dichotomous, sacred-secular worldview rooted in Greek Platonic (and Buddhist/Hindu) thought than with the biblical, integrated notions of shalom, holiness, and service. Since then, by God’s grace, through observing the modeling of Christ’s virtues in the lives of hundreds of fellow-travelers, imbibing five decades of studying Scripture on a personal devotional level, embracing divinely appointed circumstances, and following personally chosen pathways on five continents, some progress in answering that question first posed in the 1970s is slowly being made.  Read more

Business and Shalom

AND THE AWARD GOES TO...

Our goal is to provide the BAM Community with the best content and resources available. This summer, we are highlighting various articles and resources which have stood out in the past 6 months. Below is the “Editor’s Pick” for January to June 2018.

Please enjoy and thanks for following!

by Roxanne Addink de Graaf

Business and Shalom are seldom seen in the same sentence. Shalom is a word more often heard in church than in the marketplace.

However, just coming from a visit with entrepreneurs in Liberia, I’m more convinced than ever of the vital role of business in bringing about true shalom, the shalom God calls us to build here on Earth. Shalom should be a driving force behind the mission of every business, and shalom provides an excellent framework for a wholistic, multiple bottom line kingdom-building business.

The Biblical vision for “shalom” goes beyond our common understanding of peace. As the Christian philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff writes, “Shalom is the human being dwelling at peace in all his relationships: with God, with self, with fellows, with nature… shalom is not merely the absence of hostility…at its highest it is enjoyment in one’s relationships.” (from Until Justice and Peace Embrace, Wolterstorff, 1983)

Relationships are at the heart of shalom, and the marketplace is a place of relationships. We will not achieve a true vision of shalom if we don’t achieve shalom in business, and as Christians in business, we need to be leading this crusade.

Wolterstorff goes on in his essay to describe shalom as a rich and joyous state of right relationship (justice), delight in service of God, the human community and the creation around us. Shalom is not a peaceful spiritual state where physical needs aren’t met, where people are still hungry, injustices prevail or work is no more. Rather, our right relationship with nature involves work and reward. Wolterstorff reflects that the Biblical shalom includes “shaping the world with our labor and finding fulfilment in doing so,” as well as enjoying the fruit of our labor, celebrating with “a banquet of rich fare for all the people.” (Isaiah 25:6) Read more