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Business as Mission Case Study- Exterior House Product

The purpose of this note is to share observations, reflections and lessons learned as we visit and interact with different Business as Mission (BAM) practitioners. We hope this sharing will spark your imagination, intercession and action to grow in wisdom and understanding and love and good deeds.

Business as Mission (BAM) Journey is a program of immersion and observation. Participants are language and culture students. We then meet weekly to go through foundational Book passages and recent and relevant books on BAM. We discuss the theory in the books and then bi-weekly go out and visit BAM practitioners and businesses. We get to see, ask questions, observe and get a taste of the real challenge of making it work in this world - and then come back and discuss what we've seen. This note then relfects the case studies we write up after our visits. Our vision is that through this process our Father might raise up the next generation of entrepreneurs to set up profitable, sustaianbly and transformational businesses among the least-reached.

Sector: Manufacturing of exterior household product. Market: 100% export, all to parent company in US who does distribution to regional retail stores Structure: Wholly foreign-owned for-profit manufacturing enterprise, providing manufacturing for previously existing US company. Sister company registered in more business-friendly location helps with administrative work. CEO and most decision-making still done in US home office.

Champion: Expat who majored in political science during college where he also studied the country’s language for 2 years with the intention of going there to teach and other heart reasons. He initially worked as an English teacher for 12 years previous. Started company after a connection with like-minded American company with desire to begin operations in country. With no previous business experience, he in cooperation with a businessman from his home country, started the business in spring 2006.

Business formation: Like-minded owner who start company has been running several companies and had been interested in having operations in country. Due to increased opportunities for community involvement and legitimacy, current GM decided to quit English-teaching job to begin operations outside US. With the help of experienced entrepreneurs doing an on-the-ground survey, they realized the GM’s location was in a place that specializes in a craft that would compliment their operations very well. The last two years have had this one expat as GM and between 4 and 20 employees, depending upon production line being in use or not.

Vision: A sister company established in more business friendly location desires to start like-minded companies with vision of being a positive influence in their communities. This company specifically is interested in sharing their beliefs with anyone with whom they engage.

Story: During a visit to the US, after working in the company as a teacher, a like-minded businessman encouraged him to think about opening a business. A family friend, and GM of several successful companies, approached him with the idea of expanding his operations overseas. 2 years ago the equipment was shipped overseas and business operations commenced.
Lessons learned:

  • Make sure you get what you’re getting before accepting a large order of faulty products.
  • The amount of time and effort put into the product preparation and logistics of setting up a business.
  • Hiring like-minded employees for key positions of plant manager, administrative assistant, etc. This helps greatly in continuing on the vision as well as understanding local language and culture.
  • Establish values of honesty, fairness, and quality from the founding of the company. But be ready for mistakes to happen, confront them and move on.
  • Identify your company as Christian from the start. There’s no need to broadcast it, but don’t hide it either.

Future plans: The next year anticipates growing sales from the home office and re-employing workers to continue production (currently idle) The long-term plans are somewhat uncertain. The desire is to grow the business and find someone else to manage the operations. The current GM is planning on moving back to his home country in just over a year.

Results: Facilitates a core of like-minded employees to have a venue to meet for fellowship Seeing one employee come to faith and many other opportunities to share the truth with employees/clients/government officials Ability to make 150 units per day at full capacity.


posted by Justin Forman | 10.26.2008 - 2:42 PM


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