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January 8, 2009 / compassioninpolitics

Business as Missions: An Economic and Missions Viability Checklist

I’ve included the checklist for Business as Missions as included in the book Great Commission Companies. Great Commission Companies is also available for free on Google books.

Typical Great Commission Company startup process:

• Evaluate the business opportunity
• Evaluate the mission opportunity
• Assemble a management team
• Build an advisory network
• Develop a business plan
• Develop a Great Commission plan

I think I would add four other sections as a business starts up:

• Launch
• Secure funding and/or business
• Get print and/or web collateral and a case study
• Develop collaborative relationships

Economic Viability of Business as Missions Venture

• Is there a clear statement of purpose and goals for the company?

• Does the mangagement team have the appropriate experience and training?

• Can the business create and maintain a competitive advantage?

• From a financial perspective, is the business an attractive investment?

• Is there a clear path from startup to financial sustainability?

• Are there investors and other advisors committed to helping the company reach financial sustainability?

• Is this a business concept that has worked in other contexts?

• What are the risks?

• Is the business model flexible enough to allow for expansion, changes in direction, or alliances with other companies?

• How wil the net earnings be distributed?

• How and when can the investors expect to be repaid?

Missional Viability Business as Missions Venture

• Is the business concept consistent with missional focus and objectives?

• Is there adequate potential for making a significant kingdom impact?

• Does the company have a multicultural, multigenerational team of kingdom professional in place that has a track record of effective ministry inside and outside the workplace?

• Has the management team identified other mission organizations working in the area, and are they open to partnering with them?

• Does the plan demonstrate an understanding and respect for the legal and ethical boundaries between for profit and non profit activities?

• Does the business create socially beneficial “backward linkages” with local firms?

• Is the net impact on the host economy’s balance of payments positive?

• Is there a plan to turn over as much authority and responsibility as possible (missions and business) to local professionals?

• Is the management team committed to serving under the local church (if one exists)?

• Is the management team committed to communicating regularly with other stakeholders so that they know how to pray and know what things they can do to benefit the work (for example, short-term trips)?

Reflective Business as Missions Questioning:
What do you think of the questions? To me, they seem to serve more as a general guide as your develop your overall business plan. I think its easy to get discouraged from a big Kingdom undertaking–so I don’t think checking every one off the list is necessary–however a fantastic guide–especially for those low on startup cash and consulting. So, on the upside I think the checklists can help create a heads-up about issues one might encounter. A more through development might discuss the tangible types of conflicts and hurdles that Great Commissions Companies on a day to day basis, and particularly that they encounter when they startup. By the way, I highly recommend picking up this book on Amazon (I think its $12 to $14). A real steal for all the insight and experience that are in the mix. (I also recommend Base of the Pyramid by Prahalad and Out of Poverty by Polack, which you will find posts for on Compassion in Politics) As always, thanks for reading!

Related Blog Posts and Christian Business Resources:

Business as Mission Resources from Great Commission Companies
Christian Business Networking
Christian Microenterprise development resources
Summary of “Out of Poverty” by Paul Polack

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