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Showing posts from April, 2010

Four Faith Venture Business Plan Musts

Over the last 11 years at Belay Enterprises , I have had the opportunity to write and review numerous business plans for possible faith venture enterprises. They all seek to create opportunity for individuals or communities rebuilding lives. This morning, I had the chance to review a business plan draft for an exciting faith venture in a different community. I am also facing two looming decisions related to a new Belay business and the expansion of an existing one. In all three cases, I’m reminded of the importance of the following four items to any faith venture business plan: It’s important to answer this question up front: Is it a for-profit or non-profit business? Either structure will work but there are definitely pros and cons to each possibility with resulting ramifications for the business plan. It’s often very complicated and difficult to try a hybrid of the two. Faith venture practitioners tend to be passionate about the mission side of the venture and the resulting busin

Faith Venture Secret Sauce: The Six Key Ingredients

I have a friend who used to broker private business sales. He would help entrepreneurs sell their companies to new owners. Unfortunately for those new buyers, industry statistics showed that less than 50% would succeed in their new business. The entrepreneurial “secret sauce” of the former owner, honed over many years of hard work and learning by trial and error, wouldn’t always replicate in the new owner and the business would find itself failing. This idea of entrepreneurial secret sauce started me thinking about what are the necessary ingredients for someone to succeed in a faith venture start-up that seeks to employ individuals or communities rebuilding lives? Someone asked me today how I determining who to hire to lead one of our urban business as mission projects. Without a doubt, I look for six key ingredients in such a person: A Love of Sales and Marketing If someone is going to succeed in building a new venture, they have to know how to succeed in sales. This is non-negot

How I Was Reminded to Get Out of the Way

Harry Truman once said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Yesterday, that was the theme of a great lunchtime meeting with a minor tweak to the quote: It is amazing what God can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. I shared earlier this week that “sometimes it seems that you pour all your time, energy and heart into a project or task only to see little movement towards your goals. Other times, all you did was get out of bed and big things started happening.” I argued that one of the keys to arriving in the “sweet spot of faith” was to make sure you first seek guidance from God in community with other followers of Christ. As Americans firmly entrenched in the prevalent ideology of self-reliance, we tend to overlook the community part. It’s easy for us to miss how early Christians—and by early I mean pre-Enlightenment Christians—would have had very little notion of self. All activity was seen in relation to community. Individ

The Sweet Spot of Faith

Sometimes it seems that you pour all your time, energy and heart into a project or task only to see little movement towards your goals. Other times, all you did was get out of bed and big things started happening. On those days, it seemed as if you were operating in the sweet spot between God’s desires and your efforts in faith. I think it’s one of the great mysteries of following God: how to negotiate the balance between moving out in faith and waiting expectantly for God to move. In my life, I’ve found that I have a tendency to hang out in one or the other of the two extremes. Either, I find myself charging ahead with the doing or holding back praying for God’s guidance. More often than not, it’s the former because I am wired to be a doer. If I sense something would be good for God’s kingdom, I’m quick to attempt to make it happen. But sometimes I am wrong. At other times, when I’m unsure about God’s will, I find myself holding back, really wanting God to give clear guidance bef

Resurrection by Rob Bell

He is Risen! Great new video "Resurrection" released this morning by Rob Bell. Resurrection really means that life matters, that nothing can be the same again...that everything we do is important. In Rob Bell's words: resurrection says that what we do with our lives matters in this body the one that we inhabit right now every act of compassion matters every work of art that celebrates the good and the true matters every fair and honest act of business and trade every kind word they all belong and they will all go on in God’s good world nothing will be forgotten nothing will be wasted it all has it’s place Resurrection: Rob Bell from The Work of Rob Bell on Vimeo .

Impacting the Urban Poor through Ex-Offender Transitional Employment

Kathleen Murray’s blog “ Out and Employed ” is worth following if you’re interested in ex-offender issues. She recently highlighted some key findings of a 2008 study by the Brookings Institution on ex-offender re-entry issues. In the discussion paper she reviews, Bruce Western, a professor of sociology at Harvard University, argues for the creation of a national prisoner reentry program . While I am unsure about the value of a national government program attempting such an ambitious undertaking, I am convinced that high-quality community-based transitional employment combined with transitional housing is one of the most effective ways to impact poor urban communities. I have four concerns with a national government program: the destruction of natural wages by such large pools of government run labor, the resulting unfair competition with private businesses, the political unpopularity of such a program, and the unwieldiness of administrating large groups of ex-offenders in depersonali