Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recessions: Prime Time for Business as Mission and Faith Venture Creation?

I have been included in several meetings over the last few weeks with individuals interested in starting new faith venture social enterprise organizations. Inevitably, the discussion turns to the tough time many non-profits and for-profits are having in the current economy. Then, the question comes: Is now the right time to start a business as mission in the midst of what many people are calling the “great recession?” My thought is that several factors are aligning which make this a great time to start new urban business as mission ventures.

I’ve been telling people that starting a new faith venture business towards the end of a recession is similar to taking the family on vacation during the off season. Everything is on half-price sale: computers, commercial real estate and other start-up expenses. There is also an abundance of underutilized people talent ready and willing to help out as your organization starts implementing its business plan.

Some other factors favoring business creation during recessions:
  • Start-up competition is not as fierce with others sitting on the sidelines.
  • You can take advantage of the business cycle by positioning yourself for rapid expansion when the economy starts to rebound. Why not invest your start-up costs when everyone else is losing money and then be ready for the rapid profits during a recovery?
  • Difficulty in raising money forces you to focus on the basics, keeping costs low, and boot-strapping.
And most importantly, a recession lends urgency to the most vital question any new enterprise faces. Does the community truly need my goods or services? A recession helps you to be highly focused on what your organization is best at because if you lose focus, you will die.

Finally, it’s important to not overlook the “faith” part of a faith venture. If God is truly calling you to such a business as mission venture, any time is the perfect time. The safest place to be in any economic cycle is operating in the will of God.

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