Freedom Café: Seven BAM lessons from a Growing Bakery and Coffee Business

  1. Sometimes, your employees rise to greater heights than you. Judy, Philip’s wife, once worked for me in the USA, then they married and moved to Asia and as a team they started a bakery and coffee shop in a major city in South Asia.
  2. It takes a long time. 8 years ago, they wondered if it would ever succeed. But with many obstacles and challenges, persistence and grit have paid off.
  3. Location makes a difference. Thanks to good guidance, they chose good spots for a North American food outlet.
  4. It is not just about making money and being sustainable. Good businesses like this focus on spiritual, social, physical, and economic needs.  They have seen transformation in many lives who have survived trauma and poverty. Some call this social enterprise; others a business with a mission.
  5. Big, hairy, and audacious goals are important. That is what they had when they moved to Asia depending on God’s help.
  6. Have a servant’s heart.  Philip states it this way: “It has been a pleasure to have served this great city for eight years. Our city accepted us and loved us from Day One — it’s an honour and privilege to love the city back. Freedom Café’s focus has only been one city so far …We want to be focused on what the city wants and needs.”
  7. Successful businesses should scale. With 3 outlets in the city and another on the way, they have also expanded to another major city in SE Asia.

Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures

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