A Dangerous Calling? The Challenge of Business as Mission in Hostile Environments
Challenge, risk and opportunity! Managing a business as mission (BAM) venture in a hostile environment presents the entrepreneur with a unique task. Not only is there the day-to-day task of ensuring the company is safeguarded against all the known risks, but there is also the constant need to look beyond the horizon to see those emerging threats that could bring down the business. These multiple risks create complexity and a wide range of issues that must be managed with care. Given this reality, entrepreneurs in hostile environments need be able to identify and manage such risks and appreciate how they may overlap or intertwine with normal business risks. The discussion in this report addresses the interdependent relationships between BAM ventures and their hostile environments.
In the parable of the talents and the description of the Proverbs 31 female entrepreneur, we clearly see that God asks us to be fruitful and productive and to multiply. Good stewardship should motivate us to safeguard the assets and talents with which God has entrusted us. However, as stewards called to mission, we choose to expose ourselves and our BAM venture to a variety of hostile conditions and volatility that may threaten our success. The challenge for BAM practitioners (BAMers) is to understand and cope with multiple risks within a hostile environment that vary both in their nature and intensity level.
The goal of this report is to engage BAM entrepreneurs in a discussion on how to improve skills for anticipating and managing these risks.
We have in mind at least three key audiences:
- New BAM start-ups or ventures less than one year old.
- Existing BAM ventures already operational for at least a year.
- Wounded warriors who have experienced pain, loss or harmful mistakes.
Although we believe that BAMers have a better awareness of risk compared with most people who lack cross-cultural business experience, there is much to be gained from a thorough exploration of this topic. We want BAM practitioners to make better decisions and experience greater rewards from having a clearer and deeper understanding of risk.
The framework of our report incorporates:
- A discussion of the problem and how we have approached it.
- Important definitions, such as business ecosystems.
- Emerging themes from case studies.
- An overview of best practices for managing risk in hostile environments.
- A summary of the main emerging themes in the Conclusion.
- Appendices of case studies, tools, useful articles and collected wisdom.