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Kingdom business practitioner: Had a campfire talk lately?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Last Thursday I attended a FoundersLive.com event on Capitol Hill in Seattle.  I am not used to hobnobbing with 200 entrepreneurs in one room, but I was there to learn and to see how some of them presented their pitch to the audience.

Founders Live is an global community and social platform for entrepreneurs to inspire, educate and entertain one another.  They connect mostly on line, but also in monthly get-togethers to help each other solve problems they are facing.

Here is how the evening worked.  Five startups had been coached and selected to present their business idea to the group.  They had 99 seconds to do their pitch and then four minutes to answer questions from the floor.  After all five had completed their pitch and Q&A, the audience did a digital vote to decide on the best presentation.  Three businesses got very few votes but one had 33% and the winner gained 42%, which was an app to improve the scheduling for those with therapy needs.

So what did I learn?
  • Entrepreneurs crave feedback on their startup, and they want you to be brutal.
  • Entrepreneurs don’t usually think accounting, but they were reminded of Warren Buffet’s wisdom, “…accounting is the language of business.”
  • “Gather around the campfire” is a core-value.  It highlights the importance of swapping stories, experiences and ideas (not necessarily advice) - just being a storyteller!
  • Open the door and do nice things for others, and do it without expecting something in return.
  • One presenter was asked, “where did your idea come from?”  The answer – “from frustration.”
  • Not all entrepreneurs are young people – I met an old dude like me – in fact two years older!
  • Entrepreneurs are a positive lot; they don’t give up but keep seeking a solution to their problem.
Just a few ideas, some of which reminded me of one of the top BAM practitioners and coaches in the world.  He coordinates “huddles” which bring like-minded Kingdom entrepreneurs together to tell their stories, experiences and ideas, and learn from one another.  We in IBEC suggest that Kingdom business practitioners seek out such huddles or other venues for campfire talks.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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And God created the peanut

Saturday, March 17, 2018

IBEC Board member, Dave Kier writes a regular devotional for his employees. He has proven God to be faithful and a constant guide in building his feed company in western Iowa.  In this memo from a couple of months ago, he shares how he learned from another man of God, George Washington Carver.

“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.”  Daniel 2:22 NASB®

George Washington Carver had a passion. All great men and women become great because they have a passion and they fight to pursue it. His passion was to restore the land ravaged by the Civil War and from many years of producing cotton. One day he prayed that God would open to him the secrets of the universe but instead God seemed to have told him he was “...too small to grasp the universe. But I will show you the secret of the peanut.” Carver left Missouri to attend Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and then transferred to Iowa State Agricultural College (now called Iowa State University) where he studied botany and the peanut and sweet potato. Carver discovered 100 uses for the sweet potato and 300 uses for the peanut.

Carver never patented his discoveries of medicines, paints, dyes, food products, etc. One reason he gave was he didn’t want to benefit specific people.  A great person is a humble servant.  When asked how he learned that so many things could come from a sweet potato and a peanut, he replied “From an old book.” “What book?” the interviewer asked. Carver replied, “The Bible”. The puzzled interviewer then asked, “Does the Bible tell about the peanut?” Carver replied, “No sir, but it tells about the God who made the peanut. I asked Him to show me what to do with the peanut, and He did.”

Carver overcame many difficulties coming from a slave family to be the first black student at Iowa State and then the first black faculty member there. His passion was powered by his faith that God had a plan and the obstacles were only there to strengthen him and his determination to live out his passion to study the lowly peanut. Along with his many discoveries, he also helped pave the way for modern agriculture. He was a great man in many ways. It’s amazing what God can do with one who avails him or herself to His leading.

Bill Job also refers to Mr. Carver in a short video entitled, “Wisdom, Listen, Execute.”  Bill cites an instance when he needed wisdom, asked God for it and experienced an amazing answer.  Check it out:

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Make your meetings strategic

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Matthew Todd is a new IBEC consultant, who has owned his own company and now provides consulting help to other companies.  He used the following in one of his communications last August.

Strategic communication begins and ends at the very top of the organization. The leadership teams of the companies I work with, when asked about the quality of their meetings on a scale of 1 to 10; average just under a 4 (10 being best). Most all of these companies have been in business well past the small business death trap of 3 years, and many are 2nd + generation cycles and are considered to be top tier in their respective fields of endeavor. So why are their meetings so bad?

We are all familiar with the phrase, “Death by PowerPoint”, and I believe few of us believe the PowerPoint software and most likely the presentation itself are not the culprit. The real culprit is the nature and context of the meeting that presentation is built into. What I experienced in my own firm, and see in these low scoring meetings, is that most are called so that something can be “communicated out to the masses” whatever “mass” is in play that day. So let’s regard the statistics of how effective this style of meeting is as researched by the National Training Laboratories and presented in their Learning Pyramid.

Passive Teaching Method Retention Rates:
Lecture 5%
Reading 10%
Audio/Visual 20%
Demonstration 30%

So in spite of the gaff and chuckle we get poking fun at PowerPoint presentations, they are 4 times more effective at getting the point across than simply reading something to our team, or lecturing them on it. If they read it themselves, it is at least twice as effective. So then, why would we call a meeting like this?

At my former firm, once we realized that lack of purpose for this type of meeting, we simply cancelled them all until we could come up with a more effective way to do our business. And not very surprisingly, no one missed them! So we backed up the bus, and looked into ways we could get our meetings from well below a score of 4 (which was the case for us) and power them up to a level 10.

We did this by changing the format of those meetings to focus on solving the issues, barriers and bottle necks that were hurting our team and their progress forward. So we started having meetings richly embedded in accountability and purpose. We did this by focusing on these principles to stay on track and make the meetings more meaningful and effective. 
  1. Same day.
  2. Same time.
  3. Same agenda.
  4. Start on time.
  5. End on time.
Moving from passive download format to participatory teaching formats; in the context of the Learning Pyramid, produces a 50% retention rate for group discussion. It follows then, that discussion has to lead somewhere, and that is to a solution, with a single name holding the accountability to seeing it through. The vitality is held in the meeting format [below in Same Agenda], and pulse, but naming the singular responsible name, and following through with the team at each subsequent meeting for follow through.

Same Day | Same Time
None of these principles seem that profound, but their simplicity is what makes them most potent. The first two of same day/same time are critical because it lives on your calendar and everyone on your leadership team as well as those who they interact with continually inside and outside of the company, can learn and depend on this reality once they know it is steadfast. This alone, versus having roving meetings, will increase attendance, interest, and accountability since people won’t continually be trying to remember when that meeting was supposed to be, they will simply know because it will be fixed on that calendar. 

Same Agenda
The third item of having the same agenda is similar to the first two, in that it takes the mystery out of what is going to happen at the meeting and adds a reliability factor into that meeting pulse that you need to establish. Wandering agendas, lack of agenda entirely, and many other similar woes are meeting and energy killers. Knowing with certainty each time, what will happen in that meeting, and how it flows will have everyone prepared, thus building accountability into the process, because those items from the prior week can easily be tracked at that same point in the meeting, checked in terms of whose name went beside the action step. Most teams, have individuals that say they will do a given task in a given time frame, but in most meeting structures, there is no way to simply check on whether that happens or not. 

In fact, most of us know how that usually works, in that we don’t even remember the task or who took it on, until it doesn’t get done, and aggravates us enough that we decide to talk about it again; at the next meeting we hold, if indeed someone remembers to add it back into the agenda. You have to ask yourself how much time and energy you consume trying to keep track of those initiatives when you do not have a regular mechanism to track and report on progress. We recommend weekly 90 minute meetings, and while that sounds tedious on the front end, if you only had one meeting each week that was productive, can you imagine how much more time you would get back in your day versus rambling from meeting to meeting with that exasperated feeling of no accomplishment that most of us cycle through now?

Start on Time | End on Time
The next item is Start on time. Simply enough, it’s purely respectful. If a meeting is scheduled, and even one person is five minutes late, you have stolen time from everyone else that we there and ready. Multiply that 5 minutes by your head count in your leadership team, and then do the math, and it won’t take you long to figure fiscal cost, which pales in comparison to the aggravation and irritation had by those kept waiting. Legendary coach Vince Lombardi, a famed disciplinarian; was known for “Five minutes early is on time, on time is late!”  and he famously fined his players for not adhering to that code. Be on time when you agree to meet, don’t steal from your team.

Finally, End on time. As important as the previous four items are, this one may be the most important. Even with good meetings in place, and more of your time gained back by doing so, most of us have commitments in our business that are waiting for us any time and every time we are meeting on our business. We need to respect this as well, and reliably end that meeting on time so that our entire team can plan their day and schedule accordingly. Honor these timing aspects and accountability, attendance and attention will improve, because whatever still needs to be handled near the end of your meeting, will be there the next week, when you reliably gather with the same agenda to tackle that issue.

Cancel all meetings until...
So, my recommendation is cancel all your meetings until you can start getting them right, and respect yourself and your leadership team enough to get your business lives back on course by being more effective, efficient and engaged in the right style of meetings to take you to the next level. To learn more about having this kind of world class meeting see how they can save your time and make you and your leadership team more effective at Effective Meetings: Level 10 Meeting for Entrepreneurial Leadership Teams.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Perseverance in business– it may mean all the difference!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

I am a winter sports guy, having grown up playing hockey on the cold prairies of western Canada and skiing the Canadian Rockies before they were famously on the world circuit.  It gives me great joy to watch the winter sports in the Olympics and I tend to look for the small things which make all the difference – sometimes creating the tipping point toward success, other times toward failure.

Of course, I was overjoyed to see the success of Canadian and American athletes, some coming on the world stage for the first time and for others it was decidedly their final appearance.  But one of the most interesting characters was a little-known gal from the Czech Republic named Ester Ledecka, the first woman to win gold in two unrelated events in the same Olympics, the super-G on skis and the giant snowboarding on a snowboard.  In modern times that just does not happen.  Athletes don’t dream about it and coaches don’t tolerate thinking about it.  Except for Ester.

How does that happen?  I discovered the answer in Ledecka’s perspective and in Mikaela Shiffrin’s words, “…there’s a million different personalities, a million different ways to go about that kind of success. The one thing that does not change is perseverance and hard work. Ester was maybe the best example of that in this Games.”  Ledecka herself called it “being in my own skin.”

What a novel idea – it’s all about perseverance and hard work!  Ledecka didn’t want to hear about what was impossible. She just needed to know how difficult it would be, and then she could figure out the training and discipline the task required.

Most of us never have and never will compete at the level of the winter Olympics we just witnessed, but we can learn from the metaphors.  We can learn from what we observed about perseverance and hard work; it can make all the difference.  It reminds me of the John D. Rockefeller statement, “I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance.  It overcomes almost everything.”

“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.” (Proverbs 24:16).  And from Peter “…and to self-control, perseverance…”  (II Peter 1:6); and Paul in Romans 5:4 “…suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.”  Three pretty powerful testimonials – Solomon, Peter and Paul.

Starting and operating a business in today’s world is tough going.  It is usually even more tough going in countries where IBEC coaches – central Asia, Africa, the Middle East and east Asia.  Let’s continue to work hard, dream big and persevere. It may make all the difference.  That difference creates a job for a hurting family and provides hope in knowing who Jesus is.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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To franchise or not?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A franchise is defined as the right or license granted by a company to an individual or group to market or produce its products or services in a specific territory.

The idea has surfaced from time to time in Business as Mission (BAM) strategizing that franchising has a potential advantage in starting and operating kingdom businesses abroad.  Sometimes it has been referred to as “BAM in a Box”.  A report by the BAM Think Tank Group which met in Thailand in 2013 produced a lengthy report which is worth reading in preparation for contemplated steps in the direction of franchising.

One section of the report is entitled BAM in a Box SWOT Analysis.  The following is a summary of the SWOT section, but the full report is worth the reading: 
Business as Mission Franchising:
Replicating Proven Businesses
BAM in a Box
November 2013

Strengths for BAM Franchising (internal)
  1. Franchising builds on strong networks of distributors, distribution chains, and suppliers so the franchisee does not have to re-invent these.
  2. There is a less need for high level business expertise and entrepreneurial skills as building blocks and franchisor ideas are available for the franchisee by using templates and available materials and research. A person with strong people skills and some level of business acumen has a good chance to succeed.
  3. It opens up possibilities for peer BAM mentoring toward replicating the BAM model with financial and kingdom motivation.
  4. There is less risk than with a startup business.  Franchisors give tools to run a business so entrepreneurship is less necessary.
  5. Investors are more inclined to invest in a proven franchise concept than in a startup company.
  6. Franchising enforces accountability and professionalism with systems for training, marketing, financial projections, accounting, HR, etc.
  7. The franchisor provides training, mentoring, initiatives, peer-to-peer networking, support from other franchisees.
  8. Franchise models can strengthen the BAM movement with “back end” systems allowing more time for concentration on integration of faith and work.
Weaknesses of BAM Franchising (internal)
  1. There are few proven BAM franchise models.
  2. There is a danger of thinking it is easier than it is.  It is more than “executing the template” and it requires full business commitment. It still requires significant financing.
  3. Entrepreneurial franchisees may find the “franchise system” too limiting since it requires business skills, not significant entrepreneurial skills.
  4. The franchisor may not have a full understanding of, commitment to, and tolerance for all of the BAM bottom lines, particularly the spiritual and social.  A clear understanding of how the missional component integrates with the business is important and what control the franchisee has.
  5. Franchisees from the mission community may have additional training and support needs and the franchisor may not want to make the additional invest in them.
  6. It is high risk and likely will not work if the franchisee does not see it as a true profit-making business taking creativity, hard work, financial acumen and leadership in selecting/managing employees.  It demands an aptitude and calling to business and robust Biblical theology of business; it is not just a means to an end.
  7. The franchisor has the right to close down a low-performing franchise; putting at risk the missional ends of the franchisee.
  8. There is a contract between the franchisor and franchisee that carries certain requirements so the franchisee cannot do as he/she wants.
  9. People underestimate the amount of energy it will take to develop an operations manual, training system for employees, franchise agreements, marketing standards, etc.
  10. The franchisee must have a stake in the company, and not rely on an agency or church.
Opportunities for BAM Franchising (external)
  1. Franchising builds a culture of abundance mentality and sharing networks.  The pie gets bigger with sharing.
  2. A franchise has a proven business model and provides a place to start, when customers have been clearly identified.
  3. With clear understanding between the franchisor and the franchisee, the business provides opportunities for kingdom living, making disciples and loving people.
  4. Because of the networking and mentoring which is built-in to franchising, there are opportunities for expansion of the quadruple bottom lines.
  5. Franchisors see places to start and business opportunities which others may not see.
Threats to BAM Franchising (external)
  1. A franchise in a community has many stakeholders and all must be considered when bringing an enterprise in from the outside.  For example, competitors may create adverse reactions to the franchise.
  2. A franchise owner must realize the business is not all his and it may be threatening to not own the brand, just get what is left over after fees and royalty costs, and have to meet contractual requirements.
  3. Franchisors are focused on the financial bottom line and protecting their brand.  But this needs to be balanced with a nurture of the spiritual bottom line which constantly drives for a kingdom culture.
  4. Franchisees many times are advised to have a local partner for ease of legal requirements but the local partner may not fully understand franchise processes and procedures, cultural differences, ethical standards and kingdom focus.
  5. If capital is borrowed, payment schedules and pressure can be threatening and require due diligence and continual monitoring of cash flow.
  6. Non-compete clauses may make it impossible to establish a similar business if the franchise does not work out.  Franchisors have the right of first refusal and the right to sell to someone else.
  7. The franchisor could pull the franchise quickly if necessary (from their point of view), and the franchisee may be without a business visa and unable to continue in the country.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Emotional intelligence and success in business

Sunday, February 18, 2018

There are many metaphors in life which provide models for business, both here in North America and in Kingdom businesses abroad.  The recent football season and Super Bowl win for the Philadelphia Eagles provides such a “how to” model for success.

My family lived in Philadelphia for 17 years but were not privileged to view a Super Bowl winning team.  We now live in Seattle and have gradually started to cheer for the Seahawks who have demonstrated a good measure of success in recent years.  But it was easy to turn our attention back to the Eagles, especially during this past season as head coach, Doug Pederson developed the team into a champion in a different sort of way.  He demonstrates what it means to have emotional intelligence.

Daniel Goldman popularized the term “emotional intelligence” with a book by the same name in 1995.  It became a bestseller.  Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capability to recognize one’s own emotions as well as those of others and use EI to maximize interpersonal relationships with skill and empathy.

What did that mean for the Philadelphia Eagles?  What does it mean for our businesses?

From the start, the players knew Pederson was different.  He was genuine, honest, forthright, visible and empathetic.  He listened to the players and remembered what it was like to be in their shoes.  He walked the talk and fostered positive relationships among the players so they could overcome adversity, serve their community and focus on a higher purpose.  He earned their trust.

All of this certainly was related to Pederson’s faith in the God of the universe and his belief that he needed to live a life pleasing to him.  This was also true for Wentz, Foles and Ertz, among others.  Being a believer does not necessarily mean one becomes a winner, but there certainly is a connection between faith and the emotional intelligence of the Eagles’ leadership.  Some might say it was “living like Jesus”.

Philadelphia consultant, Kristin Dudley sums it up this way after the amazing Eagles season.  Emotional intelligence includes the following and was modeled by Pederson and the Eagles.  These principles can contribute to success in any business.1
  1. Practice self-awareness in order to achieve emotional intelligence. 
  2. Exercise empathy – put yourself in your team member’s shoes, look through their lens. 
  3. Create a culture of transparency – stay visible and grow trusted by your team. 
  4. Invest time in the relationships you have with your team members and give freedom for relationships to grow between them. 
  5. Never allow adversity to get you and your team down – change the narrative to see challenges as opportunities. 
  6. Provide a purpose higher than self. Give your team the opportunity to align with something mission-driven, it will elevate them. 
“One man can make a difference, but a team can make a miracle.” Words of wisdom that Eagles head coach Doug Pederson delivered to kickoff what became his unforeseen – unbelievable – championship winning season.   

1   Lead with Emotional Intelligence: 6 Ways of Doug Pederson, Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Kristin Anne Dudley, published on LinkedIn on February 6, 2018.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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What makes a top ranked business leader?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

According to Comparably’s annual Best Places to Work 2017 list, these are the top ranked CEOs in the U.S. (for large and mid/small companies) this year.1 While startup companies are certainly different in many respects from these sizable companies, much can be learned from these individual’s and the culture which they foster.

Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO
According to the study, Salesforce (CRM) employees gave Benioff an average score of 90 out of 100. One employee added that, “Marc drives an amazing culture through the whole organization,” while another employee said, “they care just as much, if not more, about their employees’ well-being (from health, to pay, to benefits, to happiness, to equal rights...), their community and the earth than revenue.”

Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO
Halligan scored a 94 out of 100, citing his “down to Earth” demeanor and transparency as key factors to his high-ranking. “They all do real work. They are biased toward action,” one employee said.

Brad Smith, Intuit CEO
Smith scored a 91 out of 100, citing his ability to be “open with their plans,” and solicit info from the rest of the team,” as driving factors.

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO
Weiner scored an 86 out of 100, citing his ability to listen and be supportive to his team as driving factors. One employee said the executive team, “are doers, they don’t just delegate but jump in and take on tasks themselves when it’s needed.” 

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO
Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Nadella scored an 82 out of 100, citing his ability to drive culture changes at the company in a “very impressive way” and moving from a “know it all” mentality to “learn it all.”

The short version of what we can learn from these CEOs who were ranked high by their employees?

Care for employees is as important as revenue generation
Down-to-earth, “doer” type person
Biased toward action, even for themselves
Openness with everyone, soliciting information from others
Listening to others as a driving factor
Learning culture, with a “know it all” culture not tolerated

Best and worst CEOs of 2017, by Jade Scipioni.  Published December 29, 2017 Career FOXBusiness.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Is your Kingdom business one of the “Best Places to Work”?

Saturday, February 03, 2018

“If you are not investing in your employees, there’s really not much more to invest in. People are first and foremost at PSE,” says Kimberly Harris, CEO of Puget Sound Energy

I am always curious when the latest study comes out on “Best Places to Work”. Seattle Magazine1 came out with its latest study in January 2018.  These Seattle-area companies range in size from fifty to thousands and have a wide range of business models.  I was intrigued as I read some of the factors making them one of the local “best places to work”.

Accolade:  Said one employee review: “The best organization I ever worked at.  Management instills an empowerment environment.”

Housing Hope:  This nonprofit spent three years transforming the culture of the organization for its employees into one of two-way communication, hope (by encouraging employees to imagine what might be), and affirmation (showing appreciation for what is and challenging employees to bring forward best practices.  “We wanted to create a place where everyone could flourish, both in their lives and at work – and where employees knew we cared about them as people” says Todd Fast, Director of Administration and HR.

MOD Pizza:  The founders created a business that has a positive impact in the lives of their employees and their communities.  They believe that if they take care of their employees, those employees will take care of the customers, and the business will take care of itself.”

Overlake Medical Center: “Our employees are our greatest asset,” says J. Michael Marsh, CEO.  Interesting side note.  I had three operations in this hospital in 1969 after a construction accident while in college and six days before our marriage (but that’s another story).

Puget Sound Energy: “If you’re not investing in your employees, there’s really not much more to invest in.  People are first and foremost at PSE,” says Kimberly Harris, CEO.

WE Communications:  Miesha Swensen, senior account executive says, “Our opinions matter; we are encouraged to talk about what’s working and what’s not.  We are encouraged to take time off and recharge.  The people here are inspiring; I feed off their energy and knowledge…”

Sweeney Conrad:  The locally owned accounting firm gets high marks for treating employees like family and encouraging them to maintain a healthy balance between career and personal goals, “Leadership genuinely supports and values you as an individual,” says Michelle Peters.

Zillow Group:  Zillow takes care of its employees and they, in turn, are fanatically loyal…96% say they are proud to work at the company.

While some of these companies have thousands of employees, two of them are in the 50-60 range.  Many of the perks are things that even small companies can do, like: provisions of healthy snacks to give energy during the day, a $300 wellness certificate to pursue health activity times during the work day, incentives to work at an overseas office, encouraging gifted artistic people to improve the work environment, an on-site coffee cart during the busy season with free espresso drinks, provision of flexible work hours and days to work at home, and employee get-togethers for fun.

Kingdom companies should start off by being committed to being a “best place to work.”  Such a result takes commitment, intentionality and hard work.  But remember, the employees are the greatest asset, wherever and whatever the business may be.

They believe that if they take care of their employees, those employees will take care of the customers, and the business will take care of itself.” MOD Pizza

1   Mickool, Sheila, “Best Places to Work:  The Working Life.”  Seattle.  January 2018.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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6 steps on the entrepreneurial path

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The following article by Leif Greiss in the Reading (PA) Eagle caught my attention (Nov 18, 2017). While the story is interesting, be sure not to miss the “Six Steps”.

Neil Deshmukh considers technology to be a superpower, one he and others can use to save the world.

Deshmukh, who is 15 years old, was the keynote speaker Friday at Kutztown University's sixth annual conference on Social Work in the Global Environment. It was Deshmukh's first time as a keynote speaker at an event, and he spoke for almost 40 minutes to a crowd of about 150.

His speech, "Building a Better World: Using Technology and Social Entrepreneurship," focused on his journey as a young entrepreneur, the steps of the entrepreneurial path, the power of technology for social change and advice for those interested in entrepreneurship.

"Entrepreneurship never works out the way you intended it to," said Deshmukh of Macungie, Lehigh County.

The freshman at Moravian Academy, a college preparatory school in Bethlehem, has created three apps, VocalEyes, PlantumAI and Tremoscan. VocalEyes identifies objects and reads text audibly for people who are visually impaired, PlantumAI helps identify plant diseases and offers potential treatments for those diseases, and Tremoscan uses a phone's accelerometer to detect vibrations in the earth and predict earthquakes.

He tried to dispel the myth all entrepreneurs are like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, who dropped out of school to pursue their dreams. "Depending on your different goals and different values, you're going to have a completely different entrepreneurial experience than everyone else," Deshmukh said.

His journey began when he was in the seventh grade. He heard about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and learned a friend at school had family in Haiti and experienced the earthquake. Through a conversation with his father, he learned his father had also survived an earthquake when he still lived in India.

"I knew then that I wanted to do something to help these people," he said. "I wanted to help these people get to safety before the earthquake even hit them." Unlike the U.S., which has a network of seismographs to help sense quakes, many countries cannot afford the expense. Deshmukh came up with an idea of using phones to create a network of portable seismographs at a fraction of the cost. His Tremoscan app has been downloaded by over 7,000 people in India.

Deshmukh said the inspiration to create the other apps came from problems affecting members of his family. His grandmother, who lives India, is visually impaired and now uses VocalEyes. His grandfather is a farmer in India, and Deshmukh said he now uses the PlantumAI app on his crops. He said since the apps were launched earlier this year tens of thousands of users across the world have downloaded them.

Deshmukh said there are six steps of the entrepreneurial path: 

1. Find an ideal to believe in.
2. Find a problem to solve.
3. Look at the problem from the point of view of the people affected by it.
4. Find the most basic solution to solve the problem.
5. Actually make the product and iterate on it.
6. Market the product.

Deshmukh said he believes everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to find problems and solve them regardless of the resources available to them. He also said children are innately entrepreneurial, bringing up the classic example of lemonade stands.

Deshmukh has worked with his classmates to get them to follow entrepreneurial pursuits. He said his friends noticed they had trouble paying attention in class. Through Deshmukh's help and guidance they created an attachment for pens that vibrates if the user isn't paying attention.

Barth Yabouh, a professor of social work at Kutztown University, invited Deshmukh to be the keynote speaker. Yabouh said Deshmukh's speech demonstrated how one person can make a difference, and many people, especially students, had approached him to say they were impressed with Deshmukh.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Explaining Business as Mission in 1 minute…or 7 words or less

Sunday, January 21, 2018

At the church we attend, there is a “minute” each Sunday when we introduce ourselves to someone we don’t know yet. This morning the person beside me asked what I did and I had a minute to tell him about IBEC.

Of course, I do have my “elevator speech” which goes something like this: I work with a consulting group which provides help to Kingdom businesses in developing countries which are the most unreached spiritually. These for-profit businesses provide jobs and seek to make followers of Jesus. I vary it depending on the person and how much he or she likely knows about the thoughts included in this short description.

But it got me to thinking about single words and phrases I could use to describe Business as Mission.

What if I only had seven words, six, five, four, three, two, one? What would I say? Maybe it would go like this. What would your words be?

Seven: Kingdom of God in context of business
Six: Economic, social, spiritual outcomes through business
Five: Walking with God at Work1
Four: Life transformation through jobs
Three: Business; Mission Integrated
Two: Missional Business
One: BAM

1   Coined by BAMer and BAM speaker, Bill Job

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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IBEC Ventures -- Consultants for BAM/Business as Mission