by Mike Baer
There is no more important decision you will make in your BAM startup than the formation of your team. Actually, it’s several decisions rolled into one: Who? What? When? How?
Who? By this I mean simply hire the best and never settle. Many BAMers hire those most in need, buddies, fellow missionaries, etc. only to find out that they’ve loaded up their ship with deadwood. In such cases, failure is almost certain. Hire the most qualified people (technically and spiritually) as you can.
What? Over time there will be standard, key functions you will need. You will need a solid financial manager/CFO type. You will need a solid operations manager/COO type. You will need a solid sales/CSO type. And, of course you will need the people to actually do the work of the work—the store clerks, the factory employees, the computer programmers, etc.
When? My rule of thumb is to hire as few as possible while still getting the work done. Over-staffing is a path to disaster. In your business plan you will have at least three phases of staffing:
Phase 1: the absolute minimum necessary to open your doors. Who and how many will it take to make your first widget or serve your first cup of coffee?
Phase 2: the leadership you need to relieve you of doing everything. A strong 2iC (second in command) is a great blessing. I recommend either a sales or operations leader—the opposite of what you are. When you see that there is enough free cash to cover the salary make the hire.
Phase 3: the employees you need to go to scale. Once you are up and running with a minimal production team and a strong 2iC then it’s simple math to figure out the balance of hiring more people and selling more product.
How? You may find your talent locally and word of mouth is the most effective means, considering unemployment is usually 40% or higher in BAM areas. You may need to search internationally, in which case I recommend using one of the emerging BAM staffing and recruiting firms.
Mike Baer was one of the early leaders in the modern Business as Mission movement. He started his career as a pastor and church planter. After 15 years in the pastorate Mike was led into business where he gradually began to discover the potential for believers in business to bless their communities, evangelize the lost and spread the Kingdom of God, especially among the unreached. Today, Mike is the Chief People Officer of EmployBridge, a $3.2 billion employment company based in the US. He has written 3 books on BAM: Business as Mission, Kingdom Worker, and Gospel Entrepreneur. Mike is a regular contributor to the Third Path Blog. Today Mike and his wife reside in the mountains of North Carolina where they enjoy their 5 grandchildren.
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