Perhaps you are a Christian professional interested in starting a Business as Mission (BAM) company, and want some guidance on next steps in pursuing that dream. There is much to learn from those who have gone before you in the BAM space. Here is a list of questions you will want to consider as your pursue starting a BAM business:
In order to start a new company, you need at least one individual that has the vision for a new product or service that meets a true felt need for a specific target market.
- Are you an entrepreneur, and if so, do you have a team of people to partner with?
- If you are person who enjoys keeping a business running, do you know a BAM entrepreneur that you can come alongside?
- Do you having a winning idea and a clear value proposition?
BAM companies are differentiated from other social enterprises in that they also prioritize spiritual objectives. If you have goals to honor and reflect Christ in the workplace, you will need leadership that is committed to those goals and has the ability to carry them out. To start a truly spiritually strong company, consider the following:
- Do you have a holistic perspective of business, i.e. a “Work as Worship” mentality, about how you can run your business?
- Do you have access to spiritually-attuned mentors who can help you balance daily business operations with a foundation of “work as worship” and pray with you for your business?
- Do you know how to create a Spiritual Impact Plan that a number of people can assess and hold you accountable to accomplish?
To learn more how Christian entrepreneurs can integrate their faith with their business, see 7 Markers for a Kingdom Business: A Framework for Entrepreneurs.
Industry Experience and The Right Team
If you want to ensure long-term success, you need people with expertise in the field you want to pursue.
- Do you have business experience working in the type of company you intend to operate?
- Depending on your skill level and expertise, what training or work experience can you pursue to gain them? Or, what sort of expertise/talent do you need to add to your team?
- What sort of characteristics do you want in potential leadership team members? Hire to your weaknesses or find them as mentors and coaches.
What is the Best Financial Startup Strategy for Your Business?
It goes without saying that every new company needs startup capital to fuel the idea and make it a reality. However, you need to discern what best for you and your business in the long run. Some business owners and entrepreneurs raise large amounts of capital at once, while others bootstrap their idea.
- Do you have a business plan in place that you can present to potential investors?
- Do you have access to financial mentors/investors, especially those who are aligned with the BAM vision who can help you decide which funding sources are appropriate for your situation?
- Have you explored the variety of funding options you have to support yourself and launch your business?
Working in a New Culture
Some BAM workers feel called to work in their home culture; others desire to take their business to a new country where there is less access to the Gospel. Those who wish to live and move cross-culturally have many factors to consider when starting a business. To glean insights about running a business in another culture, 7 Fruitful Practices for BAM and Church Planting can give you a head start towards that goal.
- Do you feel that God is leading you to pursue BAM in your home culture or cross-culturally?
- There are a variety of ways to do business internationally: “tentmaking” (being financially self-supported as an employee in a foreign country); using a hybrid model of being part of a missions organization and pursuing business; and starting a business without being sent by an NGO/missions organization. Which model resonates with you and your BAM goals?
Though every BAM company will have its share of challenges, methodically answering these questions can significantly assist you in moving from where you are now to where you want to be in your pursuit of honoring God through business.
To learn more about BAM success factors, check out the following articles from the BAM Review blog:
- 6 Essential Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Product and Market
- 7 Things We Have Learned in 10 Years of BAM Consulting
- Questions for Business Building
By Joyce Ahn
BAM Conference 2017
Dallas, TX | September 15-17, 2017
This year’s BAM Conference will bring together hundreds of business professionals and thought leaders from around the world who are eager to learn how to reconcile their faith and work.
With the theme “Bridging the Gap”, the three-day event will close the divide between where you are now and where you want to be, and equip you to use your God-given skills to make an impact through business.
Join us as we share insights, stories and tools that will fuel your business as mission journey.
Get your tickets here: bamconference.com.
Joyce Ahn is a regular guest contributor for The BAM Review.