Restoring Enterprise to its Place in the Body of Christ

Business as Mission, Kingdom Business, Great Commission Companies, Purpose-Driven Business, Enterprising Ministry, Kingdom Entrepreneurship - It goes by many names, but there is a new, and yet very old calling in the Global Body of Christ. Many believers are called to walk out their calling in the marketplace. A subset of those believers are called to plant and grow businesses that serve God and the rest of the church. It is their ministry, enterprising ministry, that we describe, support, and explore here.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Three Things Company Culture is, Three Things it is Not

The following points are shamelessly stolen from a blogsite called Military Leadership Methods, and is about how the Marine Corps built and is managing its culture.  The U.S Marines are a very long and successful cases study of deliberate organizational Culture management. The article points to three things that company Culture is, and is not ( editor has created the question bits)

1.  It is the result of  collective interactions.
2.  It Is not "owned by anyone". Even North Korea Culture is influenced by how Kim Jung Un's  leaders choose to react to his control.

Who owns the culture here? The answer shouldn’t just be the boss or any one person. Is everyone encourage to engage in culture discussion? If leadership is not looking through a wide lenses at culture it can miss the people who are talking about it, leaving you exposed when it changes without you.

2.  Culture exists in every company every minute every day. Sometimes We try to influence it by deliberate events. The events only influence the culture. 

2.  Culture is not a set of standards. The Real Culture is not what people say. It is more. It is how they interact with tasks and people, what  they say, do, and the choices they make when no one is looking.

 Is culture an “all the time” thing? If you are doing an event or two a year to “grow the team”, I can assure you that you are not driving culture, but it is happening. Don’t allow the discussion around who you are to be limited to an event, make culture something you talk about in meetings, performance reviews and with 1-on-1’s. You don’t need to announce it just weave it in, all the time.

3.  Culture Is a dynamic movie . It changes by means of every new person or leader you hire, every new product you develop, every new customer, every new competitor.

3.  Culture is not a snapshot. Any attempts to keep it frozen by leadership will cause a personality split between what the real culture is and what The leadership says it is.

– Change requires direction and attention, not resistance. As your company grows the culture will adjust to include the ever growing diversity in your workforce. Your leadership role is to help steer, not to ensure that nothing ever changes, because everything changes.
Marines believe they are the greatest fighting force on the planet. They will stand and fight when others would run because the culture permeates through every Marine. This way of thinking is not an accident, it is done on purpose all the time, in training, in briefings, and in how we celebrate our heritage. You can have that same effect in your organization.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Business as Mission:a Possible Funding Structure

Disclaimer: I'm a business guy trying to solve a business problem-and every business or non profit is structured differently. I'm not a lawyer, please don't take any of this as legal advice or execute any plan with out running it be legal where ever you area.I'd welcome a comment from someone who knows more than me.

Problem:  Many Non-Profit entities want to provide funding for Independent For-Profit business start up and expansions, which are providing an income source directly to a non-profit entity in a remote region around the world. This has been a difficult thing for 501(c)3s to do.

501(c) 3s can own for profit companies, as long as all income comes back to the 501(c)3.
But they cannot give money to an independent for-profit business except for services rendered.

Some States have created something called  a  Limited Low-Profit Liability Company, sometimes a  L3C. They may receive non-profit funds to execute the charitable purpose of the Foundation in some cases.

So: In example:

  1. Large Foundation or Other Non-profit is set up with a charter that includes Business as Mission Activities, and creating local bank-business partnerships.
  2. LC3 is set up to offer and administer Grants and/or business as mission low interest loans, partnered with a local bank near the business.
  3. L3C solicits projects  on behalf of one or more Foundations:
  4. A business plan is approved, for a specific project, in two parts: one part grant, and if business goals are met, the other part loan. It would also include interest subsidies to the partner bank and fees to the L3C.
  5. The charitable foundation gets a pre-approval letter from the IRS that the Foundation's principle funds can be used for that purpose, noting that returning principle funds will stay with the L3C.
  6.  The Foundation Funds and administers the Grant porition. andmovest the loan principle to the LC3.
  7. The L3C holds the loan principle, and expected fees in the Foundations account in the L3C.
  8. When criteria for giving the loan are met, The LC3 gives the loan principle, acting as the loan investor, to the local bank. 
  9. The LC3 pays the local bank near the business a pre-arranged difference from their normal interest rate to the lower BAM interest rate. (some local banks can charge high rates of interest)
  10. Loan principle and low BAM interest repayments are made back to the LC3, who puts it, by agreement, into the account LC3 set up for the Foundation. This principle may be loaned out again to another project as directed by the Foundation,
  11. As the Foundation's account in the L3C grows, it can use the funds to fund other projects but will not receive it back, and thery by maintains its charitable status.
Complicated, but one done, can get easier each time it is repeated.

LC3 Still not legal in Texas

Prior to 2008, the prevailing for-profit business entities required high returns on investment.   Because most socially beneficial business ventures are not highly profitable, organizations pursuing these objectives are commonly set up as non-profit corporations. The problem with non-profit organizations is that they have very limited access to capital due to IRS regulations that restrict profit-seeking objectives.   For social and community conscious business ventures to succeed, they need a flexible, lightly regulated business structure that allows access to investment capital. The L3C format was designed to satisfy this need.
In 2008, Vermont became the first state to enact legislation authorizing the creation of the L3C as a new business entity. Since then several states have enacted similar legislation making the L3C a viable option for socially conscious entrepreneurs. As of January 2012, the following states had enacted L3C legislation: Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming. 

L3C Structure

An L3C is structurally exactly the same as an LLC.   It has members, managers, an operating agreement, and flexibility with ownership rights. From a legal standpoint L3Cs differ from LLCs in one significant area: profit motive. In general, legislation authorizing the creation of low-profit limited liability companies has three requirements: 
(1) that the company significantly furthers charitable or educational purposes as defined by the IRS, 
(2) that no significant purpose of the company is the production of income or appreciation of property, and 
(3) that no purpose of the company is to accomplish political, legislative, or lobbying activities. This structure makes the L3C a more suitable vehicle for raising capital previously inaccessible to low-profit and non-profit organizations.

5 Culture questions-is your Company Culture Special?

Is your talent strategy rooted in your business strategy? Culture can’t just be an assortment of well-meaning HR practices; it has to grow out of distinctive business practices. As I reflect on the great companies I’ve gotten to know — companies that are winning big in tough, competitive fields — they all exude what brand strategist Adam Morgan calls a “lighthouse identity.” Every time you encounter them, however you encounter them, you understand what makes them different, what they’re prepared to do that other companies aren’t, and why what they’re doing is relevant today. That’s why building a great culture starts with intellectual clarity about what your organization stands for and why you expect to win. There can be no talent strategy without a compelling business strategy.
Does your company work as distinctively as it competes? Yes, the most successful companies think differently from everyone else — that’s what separates them from the competition in the marketplace. But they also care more than everyone else — that’s what holds people together as colleagues in the workplace. So much of what we focus on as leaders is how to be more clever: big data, slick apps, social media. A great culture allows clever organizations to be more human, to make everything they do more authentic, real, memorable. The true promise of a culture, argues influential venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, is to “be provocative enough to change what people do every day.” That’s the real connection between culture and strategy: If you want to energize and elevate how your organization competes, you have to energize and elevate how your people behave.
Can you capture what it means to be a member of your organization? At its core, the role of culture is to reinforce a sense of belonging, a shared commitment among colleagues about how they solve problems, share information, serve customers, and deliver experiences. Which is why the most enduring cultures are built on language and rituals that are designed to create a palpable sense of community — which, in many cases, only makes sense to people who are part of that community. A favorite slogan among students and faculty at Texas A&M University, a long-established school with a one-of-a-kind culture, sums it up: “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.” That’s the spirit I’ve seen at companies with the most powerful cultures. Their leaders devote enormous time and imagination to devising small gestures and little symbols that send big messages about what it takes for everyone to be at their best every day.
Is your culture built for learning as well as performance? High-output cultures are all about fierce competition, crisp execution, and a relentless commitment to service. But truly enduring cultures are also about change and renewal. It’s one of the hazards that comes with success: The better an organization performs, the more ingrained its culture becomes, and the harder it can be for executives and employees to stay alert to big shifts in markets, technology, and culture. That’s why the best cultures and the most effective leaders keep learning as fast as the world is changing. They’re constantly scanning for new practices from other companies, new ideas for unrelated industries, a new sense of what’s possible in their own fields. At WD-40, a company with one of the richest learning cultures I’ve seen, CEO Garry Ridge likes to challenge his colleagues with a simple question: When’s the last time you did something for the first time?
Can your culture maintain its zest for change and renewal, even when the company stumbles? It’s a lot easier to maintain high levels of energy and morale at a company when sales are booming and the stock price is soaring. But the reality of competition today is that long-term success is virtually impossible without short-term stumbles. For any organization, part of staying relevant is experimenting with dramatically new technologies, sketching alternative business models, and rethinking how it engages with customers — all of which are bound to involve setbacks and disappointments. That’s why the most enduring cultures are the most resilient cultures. Colleagues at every level embrace the power of creative ideas, deep convictions, and confidence in the face of missteps. Leadership scholar John Gardner calls this outlook “tough-minded optimism,” and it’s a hallmark of cultures that can move and morph with the times.