Twice a month, our panel of mentors answer your practical business questions. Send us your questions!
Dear BAM Mentors,
What are the most important questions to ask myself when evaluating a business opportunity?
~ Business as Mission Newbie
Dear BAM Newbie
First and foremost, set your goals according to the principle, “Seek ye first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). Then, ask God for guidance into a business ministry of His choice for you, wait for His answer with a listening heart and mind. Third, allow God to choose life and business partners who identify with your God-given vision and mission objectives by asking everyone who wants to be an investor or active partner in the business whether they understand, agree and fully embrace the vision God has given you. – Joseph
Probably the most important aspect of pursuing a business opportunity is to first determine whether you’re the right person for the job. I would recommend you do a personal assessment (be honest with yourself, there’s a lot at stake here), and ask yourself if you have the skills and passions necessary to build this specific type of business. Beyond that, do you have what it takes to live through the highs and eventual lows that you know will occur through the normal course of operations? Evaluating your readiness, and determining if your unique skill set maps to those required by the business should be at the top of your checklist, as you prayerfully and thoughtfully determine the worthiness of the project ahead of you. [read full response…] – Colleene
There would be a lot of questions I would ask, including: Is the business viable? (Is there a market need for the product/service? Are staff, suppliers and other essential services available?) Are there ways in which the business can make a positive contribution to the needs of the kingdom in this city/country? Is it a product or service that honors God? Do I have the skills and other resources necessary to run the business and, if not, can I get them through training, hiring, consulting or other partnerships? How much capital will it take to start and maintain? (Estimate the capital requirement. Then double it. Then double it again!) I would ask questions like these in a couple of iterations, meaning I would go through them once quickly to see if there is some clear deal breaking problem and then again in more detail and finally as part of the development of a detailed and researched business plan. [read full response…] – Robert
My reflex response from 30 years experience of running a business was… When will I get my investment back, what is the percentage return on investment and what is the risk?! My more considered response is to ask three initial questions: What is the purpose of this business and what is my real motivation for taking on this opportunity to build a business? How will this opportunity positively impact ALL stakeholders and thereby bring Glory to God and extend His kingdom? How will I avoid failure in the three critical areas of a) generating ongoing SALES, b) ensuring sufficient CASH and c) avoiding SIN? There are obviously many other issues but these are what I consider the most significant. [read full response…] – David
My background is Business for Freedom – that is using business to bring freedom to people who would otherwise be trapped in trafficking, prostitution, or other forms of exploitation. The traditional model for reaching these people is the charity model, but in recent years there is a movement toward business, including BAM. As such, much of my audience knows very little about business basics. For them, I would say that the three most important questions are: Is this business a good fit for the market? Is this business a good fit for me? Is there someone who can do this business better, and how can we partner together? [read full response…] – Christa
Picking a business to start/buy is not an easy process, 80% of all businesses fail before five years. What do you like to do? If you enthusiastic about a particular business that will really help keep you going in the tough times. Go to your proposed location and live there for a while. Talk to local people – what do they need/want. No business will succeed unless there is a perceived need in the potential customers and you HAVE to UNDERSTAND that need – it may be different than you think. There would also be some PEOPLE questions I would ask: Should I be a CEO? Who would be partners and how do we distribute the load? Who do you have as mentors or Directors? There there would be a long list of BUSINESS questions: What is your feeling about profit? Who will keep track of the cashflow? When starting out cash is king! How will you deal with corruption? And so on! – Garry
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