3 Steps To Launch A Faith-Based Business That Reaches Your Community
Do you have a passion project that you’d like to pursue, but you’re feeling confused and maybe even paralyzed about what comes next? Today, I’m going to give you access to practical steps to launch your faith-based business in order to reach your community.
Specifically, I’m going to introduce you to:
- Our signature process for determining your “why.”
- An effective strategy for building your new venture.
- A proven method for executing your passion.
- Launch resources you can utilize today.
Use these links below if you want to skip ahead to a particular section:
- Build your new venture.
- Fund the strategy for beginning your faith-based business.
- Launch your vision utilizing proven methods.
Thanks to the Internet, you have access to countless methods for starting anything — from starting a garden to building your own bicycle to launching your own business! The key is to break down the process into achievable steps you can work through so you can begin to see your passion project take on life.
Recently, an entrepreneur we worked with in Orlando, Florida, pointed out an interesting but common sentiment among the folks we collaborate with. While working through the steps to launch his startup, he said: “This is amazing. I’ve used these concepts at work. But, I never thought about using them with my faith to start a ministry.”
Sometimes we compartmentalize familiar methods when they can actually be used across multiple projects. In our experience, we’ve found that people already possess the skills needed to execute their dream; they just need the process broken down into achievable steps.
3 Steps To Launch Your Faith-based Business Venture For Your Community
1. Build Your New Venture
The building process begins with the right team.
One leader we worked with, Andy Ritchie, had a passion for serving a specific community. Instead of relying on the strong leaders surrounding him in his everyday church career, he gathered leaders from the target community who shared his vision and passion. Eventually, he turned over the leadership of his project to this knowledgeable and passionate group. He had the right team.
RECRUIT YOUR TEAM
There are three things to do well when it comes to recruiting your team. It may be tempting to go it alone, but while ideation begins with you, executing and bringing your idea to life most likely will require a team.
- Pray for discernment
- Recruit leaders of integrity
- Invite them into your “why”
After praying for wisdom and discernment, we recommend you ask yourself a few questions.
- Is this someone I enjoy spending time with?
- Do we share a passion for this cause? Pro tip: Worry about the details of involvement later. The “why” comes before the how.
- Is anyone following him or her? Are they leaders?
- Do the actions match beliefs?
Remember: integrity is non-negotiable. You are inviting people to join you in a faith-based venture and serve the community as you live out your “why.” Having people alongside you that you can trust will serve you well.
ESTABLISH YOUR STRATEGY
With your team in place, it’s time to define and really dig into the details of your strategy.
Start Strong With These 7 Steps to Launch a Faith-based Business
As part of the FiveTwo Coaching, we have our students read the book 7 Steps to Start by head coach Bill Woolsey. This book identifies key topics we need to ask ourselves when building a faith-based venture.
- Know your passion
- Get perspective
- Plan your steps
- Enlist your people
- Practice and progress
- Continue to persevere
- Start propagating
Get Clear About Your Values & Mission
In our work with churches, Christian entrepreneurs, and leaders, we have found that investing time to work through the “why” of your venture will give you a substantial return. In addition, you’ll gain a more precise plan for gathering your team, seeking funding, establishing community partnerships, and creating your action plan.
One component of our signature process is to lead with compassion and then explore the impact of this value on the success of your endeavor. When you start with a compassionate perspective, the view of your community will change, and out of that value, your endeavor will proceed with humility and hospitality.
In our FiveTwo Coaching, we explore Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5,000. In Matthew 14:13-21, we can see Jesus reach the community by meeting their real and felt needs.
Clarify Your Vision & Strategy
As you explore the values that motivate you, pay attention to the walls that will need to be knocked down for your venture to be successful. Don’t let those barriers stop you from pursuing your passion; every single journey we’ve traveled with an entrepreneur has included roadblocks. When you are clear about your “why,” you’ll have the clarity and motivation to outsmart those barriers and set the vision and strategy for your organization.
In our experience with leaders, churches, and teams who aren’t afraid of getting specific with their “why” tend to hit their target. Here are some examples of customers who are benefitting from faith-based business ventures across the country:
- Hmong children in Merced, CA
- Single Puerto Rican moms in The Bronx, NY
- Homeless in Mesa, AZ
- Church seekers in Clear Lake, TX
- Business owners in Marble Falls, TX
- Empty nesters in Schenectady, NY
- Individuals in need of home repairs in Detroit, MI
And in urban Wyandotte, MI, Pastor Greyson Grenz’s care for the people in his community led him to launch a basketball camp and a reading program for elementary kids in the neighborhood. As a result, not only has he watched kids build relationships, improve physical activity and reading skills, but his church has also built long-haul relationships with more than 100 new families from the surrounding community.
CRAFT AN OFFER
Once you’re clear on your strategy, it’s time to focus on your customer, value proposition and begin testing.
Know Your Customer
It may sound overly simplistic to encourage you to know your customer, but this is at the core of what we need to do before moving forward. As we’ve shared with many of our students — if your product is for everyone, then it is for no one. Therefore, when starting a faith-based business, ministry, or nonprofit, we have to get to know the customer.
Start with a series of questions, like —
- Who is your customer?
- Who are you being asked to serve?
Establish Your Value Proposition As You Launch a Faith-based Business
Assuredly, you’ve heard this phrase before. A value proposition is the value you promise to deliver to your marketplace. This is a statement of intent that tells the public who you are, what you offer, and why you deserve their attention, their business, and their loyalty.
Start with this fundamental question — what problem will your venture solve for the target community?
Test Your Idea
Test your idea before you invest too much money, time, or soul.
When it comes to testing, consider this fact: You can only spend a dollar once. By testing your plan, you can ensure the money is spent wisely.
If you need more proof of the importance of this step: in our experience working with more than 50 teams who have launched ventures all around the country, the “testing” step has triggered a change in the direction of many groups. In fact, after the testing exercise, 60% of them pivoted their plan to better fit their customer.
Revive Boca is a Bible-based recovery ministry started by Jen and her supportive team in Boca Raton, Florida. A waypoint for people hungry to know God, the group was particularly thankful for the testing process in the FiveTwo ACTIVATE module.
For this enthusiastic team, testing was a novel but critical concept that confirmed their value proposition.
2. Fund The Strategy For Beginning Your Faith-Based Business
When it comes to funding your venture, three things need to happen —
- Choose a revenue model
- Create your pitch
- Raise funding
CHOOSE YOUR REVENUE MODEL
Whenever possible, we encourage startups to have both an earned income stream and a donative income stream.
First, by ensuring you have an earned revenue stream as a non-profit, you become a hand-up organization rather than simply a handout one. Second, fundraising inspires donors and allows them to participate in the mission through their giving. Both have eternal value.
Don’t overlook the value of forecasting, which can reveal the levers you should pull for success. Combine your sales and service projections along with your revenue to see what levers you should pull to move the needle. Cash is king. You don’t want to run out of funds before you get to financial sustainability.
CREATE YOUR PITCH
As you get closer to launching your faith-based business, it’s time to craft a pitch. Writing a pitch can be overwhelming for entrepreneurs and starters, but we’ve codified a few of the best practices for you.
Your pitch is a presentation that will help you find people to join your cause or contribute to your work. Essentially, your pitch will tell people why they should follow you. The best pitches will build trust, share information, and inspire. It will grab both the head and the heart of your audience.
Let’s be honest. Asking for and talking about money can make even the most stoic person uncomfortable. But here’s our philosophy — Don’t be afraid to ask for money; it’s all God’s anyway! Once your pitch is crafted and ready, fundraising is an opportunity to inspire donors or investors and allow them to participate in your mission through giving, which is an important and critical step to launch your faith-based business venture.
In our work with churches, we’ve seen some incredible fundraising stories come through.
- Individuals contributing $250,000 as seed money for a new homeless resource center in Mesa, AZ
- A public school district raising $180,000 for a Christian sex-trafficking ministry in Detroit
- One donor writing a check for $50,000 for a refrigerator truck for a food ministry in Lakeland, FL
3. Launch Your Venture Utilizing Proven Methods
With your building phase complete and funding in place, it’s time to launch your faith-based venture!
The next steps to launch your faith-based enterprise include —
- Mapping out your next year
- Building community partnerships
- Refreshing and refine as necessary
MAP OUT YOUR NEXT YEAR
As a result of our work with leaders and entrepreneurs, we’ve found that mapping out the next year of life for your venture will keep it on track. That includes curating a picture of your long-term vision, focusing your resources so you don’t overpromise, and articulating each step of your team’s action plan.
We’ve all had the experience of starting a project with enthusiasm and then losing momentum. In our experience with teams, we’ve found the solution is more straightforward than people think: a thoughtful picture of your project’s long-term vision will spark your team’s creativity and risk-taking potential.
Another way we’ve seen teams lose momentum is by saying yes to everything. As a result, your impact becomes a lazy river instead of a laser, cutting through an obstacle. Instead, revisit that vision and make sure each “yes” gets you closer to that picture.
BUILD COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
We believe that the power of partnership is critical for your success. Your mission is bigger than you and your team. It’s important to partner with others in the community because these partnerships will multiply Kingdom impact.
When you build partnerships within your community, you will multiply your efforts and accomplish significantly more than you can do alone.
Here’s an easy way to get started — send emails to key community leaders. Introduce yourself and ask them how you can help them.
REFRESH & REFINE YOUR VISION
Finally, refresh and refine your vision, offering, and strategy. These questions will lead teams in the right direction to maintain an organization’s success:
- Has my team adapted well to the changes that have been presented?
- Do the members of my team still have a passion for our mission and vision?
- What is the response of donors and customers? Pro tip: Circle back to exactly what you are offering and adjust your approach and make it more effective. The results will be startling.
- Is our approach serving the customers well? Does it need tweaking?
Update your strategy to improve how you serve your current customers and then brace yourself as you attract new ones.
Putting It All Together: An Example Of Passion, Mission, And Vision
Deb Ellinger is a former team leader who founded Elli’s House, a street outreach ministry and home for women involved in sex trafficking in Detroit.
Revisiting and refocusing their strategy has led them to incredible connection opportunities: the organization is in contact monthly with more than 200 men and women on the street who are encountering the message of Jesus. And recently, a house was donated to the group that will occupy two women whom the group has been ministering to regularly.
At FiveTwo, we’re encouraged by the continued growth and leadership demonstrated by startups like Elli’s House.
In this article, we’ve covered the 3 steps we walk our clients through as they launch their faith-based venture to serve their community. We’ve seen leaders work through our process in as little as 60 days or over the course of a year. It’s exciting to consider what kind of impact your venture could be making in the next 2 months. (And with a good vision statement, you don’t need to imagine it because you already have a clear picture!)
To get started, you can follow the steps we’ve outlined here or get started by booking a strategy session at www.fivetwo.com/strategy.