For the last 10 years, I have been working in the challenging world of business as mission at Belay Enterprises. Someone recently asked me what would make up my list of five important lessons for a faith venture. As a reminder, I define a faith venture as a for-profit or non-profit business that creates employment and opportunity for a disadvantaged population. In no particular order, here’s my list:
1. Let the business lead the ministry- A faith venture has two bottom lines. It seeks business profits in order to support itself and grow. It also hopes to change lives by accomplishing its ministry. The great danger is that sometimes these two goals conflict with each other. In certain cases pursuing the mission will cost the mission and vice versa. I believe that if one is pursuing a Christ-centered business then all of business is ministry. So it then becomes acceptable to let the business lead the ministry because without a focus on the bottom-line this unique ministry opportunity disappears.
2. Stay true to your mission in the midst of the business- The second great danger facing a faith venture is losing sight of the ministry because of the focus on the business. Never forget the original God-purposed redemptive DNA of your particular faith venture.
3. Sell, sell, sell- An entrepreneurial organization must be about selling its product and mission at all levels of its organization to its target market. An organization that forgets to sell is an organization that is forgotten.
4. Cash Flow, Cash Flow, Cash Flow- Many a good faith venture or enterprise has died for lack of focus on cash. Knowing your cash position at any given moment drives your strategy and actions.
5. Trust God- In reality, when you combine business and mission, it is going to get messy. One must work hard toward your business plan and mission goals and then prayerfully trust God with the results.
These are five ideas that deserve more attention in future posts.