The Business As Mission website continually has excellent blog writers with comments which are practical and thought-provoking in nature. A recent series on “pressing issues” has included a guest author writing on “Building Skills and Support for BAMers”. I encourage all of our readers to read this series, and also to become a regular reader of the site. I have selected an interesting segment from a recent blog. (Larry)
Editors Note: When we asked veteran BAM leaders to identify some of the pressing issues that are facing the business as mission movement in the next decade, among the issues they identified were several areas that could broadly be categorized as ‘resource gaps for BAM companies’, including:
- Adequate financial capital flow.
- Adequate human capital flow – both in terms of a) recruiting the right kind of people to begin and sustain a BAM company, and b) succession planning and the successful transition of a BAM company from one generation of owners to another.
- Adequate support for BAM practitioners, especially mentoring, accountability and care.
This post is part of a series of blogs in June 2019, looking at resource gaps in the BAM ecosystem that we must address for the next decade of Business As Mission to be more fruitful.
The BAM 2.0 Series
In recent months we have been exploring each of the key issues highlighted in our introduction post on 10 pressing issues to address for BAM 2.0.
In March we continued with our introduction to the series, looking at how far we’ve come and some of our ‘big hairy audacious goals’ for the future.
In April we took a deep dive into our ‘Why’ – what are some of the pressing global issues that BAM can address, including poverty, unreached peoples, and the refugee crisis and human trafficking.
In May we looked at some limiting issues such as the sacred-secular divide, our definition of success, our geographical depth and our connectedness; issues that we must overcome for future growth.
In June we looked at resource gaps to overcome, including human capital, financial capital, mentoring and support, prayer and continuity planning.
Scaling the BAM Support Ecosystem: an excerpt by Robert Andrews
One last observation is that much of the care required calls for professional input. To date, the BAM community has been largely influenced by mission thinking, meaning that help, counsel, mentoring and board services are expected to be provided free of charge. While that’s good, in that small businesses can start and get the kind of help that many governments in advanced economies provide new businesses, it can also have damaging long term consequences. The BAM community needs to develop an economy (or ecosystem) in which it is possible to run a business providing these key services. A BAM consultant or board member should be able to survive without making sacrificial donations to the business.
The current environment is blessed generally with retired foreign businesspeople who have the funds to travel, the experience to share, and the time to give to be mentors. Long term, BAM businesses need to be able to pay for plane tickets and hotels, to compensate for time, and to enable locally based professional support people to develop and thrive.
This means that companies need to budget these services in their original plans, and need to prepare business models with adequate margins to support all the help that they need. Strategically directed generosity is a great thing, but we need to wean ourselves of donated services. The new generation of BAMers is better prepared to establish profitable businesses. If we can, as a global community, work to develop a strong BAM economy we can together provide the sustainable, holistic support that BAM practitioners need.
Robert Andrews is a westerner who has lived in Turkey since the early 1990’s working in manufacturing, consulting and business training. He also serves as a church leader and teaches on the theology of work and discipleship in the workplace.
Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures