We asked our team of BAM experts to give some practical advice for BAM practitioners in the beginning stages of business planning. For this post we asked them to share ideas about developing goals and vision.
Mats Tunehag, Larry Sharp and Garry all actively mentor frontline BAM companies – as well as teach and write on BAM. Read more about them below.
What advice would you give a new BAMer about developing a vision and mission plus goals/objectives for a company?
I am not so big on ‘vision’ initially (though it ultimately is important) but I am more interested in ‘opportunity’. Is there an opportunity to sell a product or provide a service? Is there an opportunity to reach a people group with discipleship? Is there an opportunity to transform a community? I would start there and when answers emerge, a vision and purpose should be articulated – and from there some goals for reaching the vision. Then I would bounce my ideas on the vision – purpose – goals continuum off of some experienced BAMers. I have had many long-time BAM practitioners tell me that they welcome people to “come and see” and ask questions.
Remember that BAM, is not a technique. It is a worldview and a lifestyle. It is about following Jesus in the marketplace – to the ends of the earth – loving God and serving people through business.
BAM is not Christians just doing social enterprise. BAM always considers God as a stakeholder who has a vested interested in multiple bottom lines and multiple stakeholders.
The table below may help us to pro-actively think through what we are aiming at: What kind of impact are we pursuing?
- Do we have stated goals?
- How can we serve the stakeholders in various ways?
- How should we pray?
- What transformation are we planning, hoping and praying for, and in what areas?
This is not a table to fill in, but rather a tool to help visualize and verbalize what impact our business is striving to have short, medium and long-term. Not every box in the matrix may make sense, but it is not to be used as a test. It is rather a teaser, intended to provoke thinking and action where appropriate and possible.
We acknowledge that the world and businesses are not compartmentalized as this matrix may imply. Stakeholders and bottom-lines may overlap and interact. Nevertheless, a fundamental question remains: How can we plan, operate and evaluate a BAM business, aiming at a positive impact on multiple bottom-lines for multiple stakeholders. The table will hopefully trigger thinking and action in the right direction.
Remember the ultimate BAM bottom-line: AMDG – Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam: To the greater glory of God.
This is an interesting question. Many potential BAM’ers have no idea what the differences between these terms are. Google the following; “What is the difference between a Vision and a Mission.” Do the same for the other terms. I have reviewed over 200 BAM proposals over the last many years and I inevitably get a Vision statement such as, “We are going to be the best tiddly-winks manufacturer in the whole world and through our anticipated but assured amazing success we will be a witness to the local people.” This sort of statement demonstrates at least one thing – that you have no idea what you are talking about! Being a witness is a process not the result of an outcome. You demonstrate your faith through how you deal with adversity, not by the financial bottom line (however, make no mistake, you must be profitable). This adversity will arise from outside your business and from within your business.
The Vision you develop is yours alone, but don’t create it in isolation. Talk to seasoned business persons and missionaries about your Vision. Is it even remotely possible? For sure, our Father can do miracles, but we cannot presume upon Him. He gave you a brain, so use it. Ask questions, research things, analyse needs and wants. Once you have a Vision then you can start working on the other aspects. Learn about how sales is done in your chosen country, for example. You can’t blame anyone else for your own lack of effort.
More from our expert panel:
Larry Sharp is the Founder and current Director of Strategic Training and Partnerships of a Business for Transformation (BAM, B4t) consulting firm, International Business and Education Consultants (www.ibecventures.com). Larry served 21 years in Brazil and then 20 years as Crossworld VP of Operations and as Vice President of Business Partnerships. He is currently a VP Emeritus and consultant with Crossworld. Since 2007 he has devoted energies toward Business as Mission (BAM) and currently is a consultant on BAM and education themes. Larry travels within North America speaking and teaching in conferences, colleges and churches on themes related to Business As Mission (BAM, B4t) and missions. His travels abroad relate to BAM, crisis preparation and management, and team building.
Mats Tunehag serves on the European Economic Summit Steering Committee and is the Senior Associate on Business as Mission for both the Lausanne Movement and World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission. He is the co-editor of the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission and currently the co-chair of BAM Global. He also serves with a global investment fund based on Christian values that helps SMEs to grow in size, profitability and holistic impact in the Arab world and Asia. Visit MatsTunehag.com for more resources from Mats.
Garry is a retired businessman who has been mentoring small businesses for the last 20 years. He has been involved in cross cultural business activities for the last 10 years and has visited 20 countries during that time. Garry and his wife are doing small business training and funding in a restricted access country in Asia. Having started, grown and sold his own business he understands the trials, potential pitfalls and necessary success factors of day to day business activities. He continues to learn and share about the cross cultural aspects of business and especially the need to learn about and manage expectations in the local cultural context.