Think about it. Everything that exists started somewhere. Adam and Eve were in startup mode when God gave them jobs to do. Where did they start when God said “…work and take care of the Garden”? How about naming the animals? Where did they start? And so on until today – innovations and businesses all start somewhere – in someone’s productive mind; in a garage in the middle of the night; in a music studio experimenting for the right notes and instruments; even in a laboratory by accident.
We live in an innovation and entrepreneurial era, and BAM certainly has that component to the Quadruple Bottom Line of job creation, profitability, creation care, and social/spiritual transformation. On the other hand, there are many ways to accomplish a goal. I have learned over the years with IBEC coaches and through personal teaching, that certain foundational rules are essential.
The eight “P” labels, which have been split up into a two-part series, might help us remember a BAM EOS.
At the core of the EOS is the answer to the question, “Why am I doing this?” There must be a clear purpose. “As a leader, you must ensure that your company’s purpose permeates every aspect of the organization, guiding decision-making processes and fostering a shared sense of direction. The purpose goes beyond profit-making, aiming to create a positive impact or solve significant problems. Employees connect with the purpose, which provides them with a sense of meaning and fulfillment in their work.”
Business as Mission startups follow the Quadruple Bottom Line as a guideline to their core purpose. When IBEC coaches use the lean startup canvas, they conclude with a business plan, which is linked to a social/spiritual impact plan. One of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits was to begin with the end in view. Such counsel helps to ensure that lives are changed via a good job and a transformed life.
Example: One company in Mombasa, Kenya, realized that they needed to pivot toward an investor model in the place of donations. This helped them continue the journey toward the key purpose of creating jobs and gaining sustainability.
Here, we are talking about foundational values, and a commitment to living them out. Values shape the culture of the organization. It is good to write them down, and then to take the time to evaluate how you are doing regularly. Remind employees of the values in company meetings and place them on the wall of the company office and elsewhere.
Most BAM companies would have values such as a commitment to integrity, excellence, trust, learning and growth, creative thinking, innovation and much more. These values should be operationalized and highlighted, so they can become the fabric of daily actions.
Example: A coffee company in India was invited to provide a service in the US consulate because of values that they stated clearly and lived out consistently.
This is the “right person” principle. Not everyone is right for business, and even less so, being an entrepreneur. When things get rolling, it is important to have the right people in the “right seats on the bus”. For example, many times, the startup person is not the best to run the business in the long term.
TED speaker and entrepreneur, Ernesto Sirolli, speaking from experience, affirms that God has never created any one person who can “make it”, “sell it” and “keep track of the money”. Modern day entrepreneurs such as Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerberg, all know the importance and value of complementary help. These are the managers, business developers, or financial experts.
Example: A successful BAM resort in East Asia attributes their success to a team of six, who brought differing skills to the table in a well-balanced team approach.
Business is all about solving a problem in the context of the culture.
The culture of the locality and people is very important. I suggest that every BAM startup person in a country new to them, should study both culture and language for at least a year. This should include a professional study and understanding of the community demographics and needs of that community. Covey, speaking more broadly, described the habit of “seek to understand, before you seek to be understood.” Understanding the people and context of your business is vital.
I was repeatedly reminded by IBEC’s first coach in 2007 that, “you do not have a business if you have no customer”. Customers buy your product to meet a need that they have, or a problem that they have. Your ability to meet that need or solve that problem goes a long way toward your success. Ask the question, “what is the business opportunity?” Then, use the lean start up model and get started. This involves a minimum viable product (MVP) and testing the market. It usually requires a pivot toward a better guess. As this low-cost process continues, the entrepreneur will soon discover success, and the customer he desperately needs.
Example: A client came to us with a vision for manufacturing a certain garment product. The consultant tested the idea and before long, everyone realized that there was no customer. Thus, the modeling pivoted toward a tourism business.
Next week, we will conclude this blog mini-series with part two.
Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures