How To Start a Business as Mission (BAM)
1. Determine if You Have the Time and Skills to be an Entrepreneur
2. Determine if This is the Right Time to be an Entrepreneur
3. Identify how Business and Ministry Overlap
If ministry objectives cannot be achieved through the everyday activities of the business, the business will fail. The Bible is clear that man cannot serve two masters and this applies to business and ministry.
If you do not believe that the business is your ministry, you should not start a business.
4. Brainstorm Business Ideas
Many people think you need to create a new product/service but most businesses are started to improve on an existing service or to fill a gap. Create a list of unmet needs in the community. What is your community lacking? What product/service could be better? What trends are you seeing in your community? Write down every idea you have, no matter how silly or big it is. Then review the list and rank from easy to hard to solve.
Now, compare the two ranked lists. Starting at the top, are there areas of overlap between the two? Can you see where your passion, skills and the community's needs overlap? Circle the top 3-5 ideas. Take the top ranked business and ask trusted family members and friends for their opinion on which business you would be best suited to start and operate.
What are you passionate about? What does the community need? Come up with 3-5 ideas.
5. Investigate Business Ideas
The ideal market is large, with some competition but not crowded. Keep in mind it can be hard to compete on price, especially against larger, established businesses. After reviewing the competition, rank the business ideas based on market attractiveness.
"Character is the most important attribute"
6. Find a Mentor
7. Write a Plan
A business plan is critical because it helps the entrepreneur to think through the business model, understand the finances and will help raise start-up funds. Business plans provide a target, but entrepreneurs understand that markets change, businesses change and so plans are updated on a regular basis. Investors want to see that the entrepreneur understands the local market, competition, and target customer. They also want to see that the business model including pricing, promotions, and hiring have been thought through. Finally, investors want to see financial projections and to understand how the entrepreneur has developed the sales projections. Well written plans often include "best case" and "worst case" financial projections.
8. Raise Funds
Generally banks do not loan money to start-ups without the entrepreneur pledging an asset such as a car, land or home and small businesses are often funded through the 3F's: family, friends and fools. Most investors, including the 3F's, want to see proof that your business idea will work. One option is to fund the initial start-up via savings and then grow the business using the profits until the idea is proven. When determining your capital needs, do not forget to include working capital, the money needed to pay bills before customers have purchased your goods.
9. Secure the Legal Permits
Confirm that your business model does not violate any laws. Then register your business with the appropriate government agencies to ensure you are following all the local rules for tax, manpower, reporting, etc.
10. Begin Marketing Your Business
11. Document the System for Running Your Business
12. Hire and Train Employees
Hiring the right people, at the right time is essential to success. Many small businesses are staffed with part-time labor until the business is large enough to support full-time workers. As a Kingdom business, it is critical that the staff agree to abide by Christian ethics, even if they are not believers. Investing the time in training your staff is initially very time consuming, but over time it will pay dividends as they learn to implement the system.
13. Launch the Business
Starting a business is a long process and the launch is an opportunity for you to publically thank God for providing the idea, resources and ability to open a business. Inviting the public to join in this thank you ceremony is a great way to communicate your values to your staff and the community.