For a long time there has been a hole in international development and business as mission in the area of sales training.

I was excited to be introduced to the Whitten & Roy Partnership recently over lunch by one of its consultants. There are so many great organizations implementing ideas in the developing world that are not realizing their full marketing potential because of a lack of training in sales tactics or a sub-par sales plan. I've had many long conversations with a sales professional friend discussing the need for high-quality help in this area. A well thought out sales approach in developing communities can even be a force for bringing about systematic change in disadvantaged communities: This company is redefining sales tactics for the base of the pyramid SAN FRANCISCO — Scott Roy, co-founder of an international sales consultancy, was doing research for a potential client in Cambodia when he heard about a sales tactic he found appalling. A team tasked with selling toilets to families would roll into villages with a set of latrine components. In order to close th

Belay Venture Partners Program Selects First Founder

I’m excited to announce that Belay Enterprises has chosen Brittany Marlett as our first participant in the Venture Partners Program. Brittany's business, A Child’s Best Interest, is a home-based day care facility that started last year while participating in the Change Agency, a community development program of Denver area Cross Purpose . After completing that program, she quickly grew her company to its max capacity where she is serving six kids a day in her home.    And now she has big plans for her business. Over the next year, she wants to expand from her house into a day care facility. That will require her completing additional state-mandated training as well as obtaining financial investment in order to secure a new center. Belay’s Venture Partner’s Program is excited to help her through this process. We have identified five mentors who have agreed to meet with her monthly to coach her on the various aspects of running a growing business. They plan to start by

If You Are a Creative Person You Need to Create.

And if you are an entrepreneur, your creativity is your superpower. But as your venture grows, your time for creativity declines. The tyranny of the urgent takes away your ability to think up new approaches and work "on" the business instead of "in" the business. The flip side of this problem is the creative entrepreneur who has a million ideas and is always planning something new but never able to start. Over and over, I’ve seen that the most creative people have the hardest time focusing and deciding which idea to pursue. So for any entrepreneur running a business, there is a creative sweet spot where one continues to be innovative but not paralyzed by the abundance of possibilities. There are three things you should do to stay in that zone: Schedule time to be creative every day: You need to fight daily for space where you can explore, dream and think. I like spending an hour in the morning with my coffee and my ideas. And then I try to sc

There Are Two Ways You Can Kill a Startup: Too Little Business and Too Much Business.

A couple of years ago, our five month old custom cabinet business, New Beginnings Custom Woodworks, was featured on our local news station. In our exuberance, we signed up too many customers with an unrealistic view of how quickly we could complete jobs. In less than a month, we had upset customers and significant cash flow problems as we made mistakes in our rush to complete jobs while also missing deadlines. For any new venture, I believe there are three top factors that protect a business from failure: A good fit between the product/ service and the market it serves. A complete understanding of the company's cash flow position with daily projections. Marketing, marketing, marketing ! In the case of our cabinet business misstep, we were able to recover our financial footing through the three key factors. Our product ultimately was a good fit with customer demand, so after apologizing and then completing jobs satisfactorily, we were able to refine our product

If You Are Doing Business as Mission, You Are Doing Marketing.

This has been a big theme of this website for many years. And it is the foundation of a marketing class I’ve taught for YWAM for 5 years. Recently, the importance of marketing came to the forefront while I gave a tour of Belay Enterprises to a friend interested in mentoring for our Venture Partners program. He is a business broker, who is hired by individuals looking to sell their businesses. And he notes that nearly all of the businesses approaching him for sale have significant room for growth in the future, simply by implementing better marketing. Effective marketing is the key to a thriving venture. And marketing is more than advertising, as it is often, mistakenly limited to. When done at its best, it is about defining the minimally viable market for your good or service and then making appropriate decisions about price, place and people. For the faith venture practitioner, marketing done well provides an opportunity to redeem the promotion piece of marketing, which som

Seeking Ranch Land to Change Lives

Do you know someone with an available small plot of ranch land in the Denver area?  Belay Enterprises , has identified a great opportunity for a business that both employs and serves the refugee community in Colorado.  A local Nepali pastor has approached us with the employment needs of his community. There are a number of older members who are struggling with learning English, which is negatively impacting their ability to find work. The pastor has also noticed that his community prefers buying whole farm-raised goats over pre-packaged meats at the supermarket. He's also discovered there is a great price spread between purchasing the goats in other states and then selling them individually in Colorado. But the difficulty with the model is finding an affordable place to ranch the goats close to Denver. This goat business model is also an opportunity for other communities in the U.S. and in the right developed nations. Our research shows that even non-immigrant communitie

Europe's Growing Desire for Third Wave Coffee Creates Opportunities to Employ Immigrants

Over the last decade, coffee culture has undergone a big change in the United States. It is a movement often referred to as the third wave of coffee. And this new approach is opening up big opportunities for business as mission (BAM) ventures, especially in places throughout Europe. Right after World War II, the first wave of coffee culture hit the American shores when the industry was invented with uniform roasts, mass produced for people less concerned about taste and more interested in price and a morning jolt of caffeine. In the 1990’s, Starbucks grew second wave coffee from a small shop in Seattle to locations all over the world. Second Wave coffee was defined by mass produced dark roasts emphasizing good taste that could by uniformly experienced in any of its stores. We are now in the middle of the third wave coffee movement where specialty stores are producing high-quality coffees of different styles and tastes. These coffees are roasted to the specific profile o