Created by Evan McCall for The BAM Review
Created by Evan McCall for The BAM Review
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:
1. Is it a product or service that honors God? (Helping society, is good for the environment, etc.)
2. Is the business viable? Is there a market need for the product/service? Is the market ready and able to pay for the product/service?
3. Are there ways in which the business can make a positive contribution to the needs of the kingdom in this city/country?
4. Are staff, suppliers and other essential services available?
5. Are there legal restrictions or other government regulations that would make it unworkable?
6. 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? (This would include management skills, technical product skills, local business knowledge, language and culture skills, just to name a few.)
7. How much capital will it take to start and maintain? (Estimate the capital requirement. Then double it. Then double it again!)
8. What happens if it all goes the wrong way… can I afford the loss if it comes?
9. Do I have the time and energy to make this work and is my family willing to make the sacrifice with me?
10. Are there other opportunities available that will bring a better financial and/or spiritual return on my invested time, money and effort? Read more
Once a month, our panel of mentors answer your practical business questions. Send us your questions!
Dear BAM Mentor,
How and when do I go about my spiritual impact plan? Do I write this at the same time as my business plan? Any practical advice about writing an integrated plan?
~ Perplexed Planner
A business plan is intended to help you work through the key issues you will face in running your business and should include all of the factors that have critical importance. It should addresses the design of the product, distribution, manufacture, finance, marketing, purchasing, and capitalization. It should also address how all of these business functions fit in to the work God is doing.
The spiritual impact of the business is one of the key objectives for a BAM business and as such it ought to be integrated in planning right from the beginning. Much like marketing or distribution, you can’t possibly have all the answers when you start to plan, and likely you won’t have many of the right questions either, but as you flesh out your vision of the business you and your partners will see questions that need to be answered which drive you to find answers. And in finding those answers you will discover deeper questions. That’s the process that moves a good plan forward. Read more
Peter has lived and worked in a professional and business capacity for over 40 years throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, South and North America and is a pioneer in the business as mission movement. He currently consults on business as mission all over the world and is the CEO of a global investment fund for BAM enterprise in the Arab world and Asia.
Preparation must consider both business preparation and missiological preparation
This is about recognising what God has already done in the practitioner’s life in regards to their sense of missional call and life experiences; the tapestry woven together in their life before the BAM entity begins. What has God been doing to both missionally and professionally prepare the person, in terms of their skills and competencies? Mentors should begin with: Tell me what God has been doing in your life? Tell me what your sense of call is? Tell me how God has been preparing you? The incubation of a new BAM business is the result of the process that God has already been doing before that.
Gain an understanding of what is going on in the environment that God has called you to
What is your business going to be about, commercially and missionally? Where has God called you to do BAM and what might he want to do through the business? What is going on in that environment in commercial terms? What are the needs? What is the market? What is the missional calling to the people group? How is God raising up your business? This stage will include formal market research, missiological research, taking exploratory trips, etc. Avoid the stumbling block of falling in love with your product and discovering after the fact that the market doesn’t have the same affinity for it! The BAM practitioner will need someone who is business-minded to ask good questions. Also avoid the other stumbling block of an inadequate understanding of the missiological, anthropological, and sociological issues that are at play.
Work together with national Christians to gain understanding
Engage in a dialogue that will shape understanding about the context and what the business is going to be. This will involve persuading each other of the vision and intent of the company, and further refining what might work and what won’t. This should be bilateral; an expat that is not willing to listen to national Christians on what tweaking and refinement is needed is doomed to failure. This of course is not the same thing as listening to all voices – for there will be many nay-sayers and people who just don’t get it. Choose your national counsellors with discernment and humility.
Peter Shaukat, CEO of Transformational SME (TSME), identifies five stages in the emergence of a new business as mission company. Each stage, from conception to launch, involves the integration of missional and commercial elements.
This is before the ‘baby is born’, the preparation that has taken place even before the business journey starts. It is about recognising what God has already done in the practitioner’s life in regards to their sense of missional call and life experiences; the tapestry woven together in their life before the BAM entity begins to be incubated. Preparation includes both business preparation and missiological preparation. What has God been doing to both missionally and professionally prepare the person, in terms of their skills and competencies?
This is where mentoring should begin: Tell me what God has been doing in your life? Tell me what your sense of call is? Tell me how God has been preparing you? The incubation process needs to begin there. The incubation of a new BAM business is the result of the process that God has already been doing before that.
The perception stage is the next step. This is about gaining an understanding of what is going on in the environment that God has called you to do business as mission within; and what God wants to do through the business. What is going on in that environment in commercial terms? What are the needs? What is the market? What is the specific missional element? What is the missional calling to the people group? How is God raising up your business? The perceiving stage addresses the question: What is your business going to be about, commercially and missionally? This is the beginning of the gestation stage of the new business. Read more