By Vip Vipperman
In this day and age, many people don’t want to just make money so they can take care of their families. They also want to know that their work matters according to their set of values and that their investing is making a difference. For centuries, most people were only concerned with making enough money to provide food and shelter for their family, but that has changed here in the U.S.A. for many people. People want their work to make an impact and their investing dollars to go to companies who also support causes that they care about. However, for many Christ followers, they find this to be a difficult task. We have identified four key hurdles for the Christian to overcome regarding making money and investing it, so let’s unpack them and talk about what can be done to address them.
Hurdle #1: Money to develop the idea
There are many entrepreneurs who have a great idea with a solid business plan even, but they don’t know where to go to get the money they need to grow their idea and take the necessary next steps. Some such companies apply to a pitch event, but because of their Christian values and desire to do Kingdom business, they just don't make the cut. Their innovative ideas still have value, but they need money to develop them.
There are also some who get to pitch but don't get all the money they need. Unfortunately, a great idea, plus half the money still doesn’t make a company.
And the other group in this area is an entrepreneur with a fantastic idea who wants to run their company with Christ-like values and do things like close on Sunday so employees can go to church. They could take money from investors who don’t share their values, but those investors also might push them to change their business plan, thus weakening the Christian values they are trying to put into place in their new business. Where do they find the money they need to support the awesome business concept they have, which will also have a spiritual impact?
Hurdle #2: How to invest
There are also those who want to support social impact companies and BAM companies, but they are not accredited investors, meaning they don't have $1 million in assets-excluding their home-and they don't have the minimum investment of $100k to be a main investor. They might just want to invest a few hundred dollars or a few thousand. Kickstarter and other crowdfunding websites are out there, but it is hard to distinguish the company's’ real values and if they will truly emphasize their Christian mission while they are also building wealth.
Hurdle #3: Where to invest
Then, there are those who are accredited investors, who want to invest with purpose as well as make a profit, but they just don’t know how or where. Some of the most successful Christian lead companies, such as Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, and Interstate Battery, are uninvestable, meaning they are privately held and are way past the A, B, and C funding rounds.
So, how do investors like this find good opportunities to invest in companies that will make a real profit, will strive to make a great spiritual impact, and who are just about to go big?
Hurdle #4: Where to work
Not everyone is an entrepreneur or investor. There are many players on the team that run numbers, organize and manage others, and handle back office technology solutions. Because they don’t make the rules but just get a paycheck for doing their specific task, they often find themselves working for a company that makes profit but has no purpose, social impact, or Kingdom mindset at all. There are other great employees that work for a non-profit organization, where they have to fundraise for their paycheck because there is a very valuable purpose, but there is no profit. This can make providing for the necessary expenses of life, like food, shelter, and various family needs, challenging. Both of these types of employees want to make money doing what they enjoy for a good purpose, but this hurdle is increasingly challenging in the world we live in. So, what is a person to do if they want to make money to take care of their family AND serve a greater purpose? If there is a company out there that would meet both of these needs and desires, how could they find an opening or opportunity?
The Lions Den DFW was created to help Christ followers to overcome these four hurdles by providing entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their ideas to investors, who share their values, in front of an audience full of people, many of whom may be looking for gainful employment at a company that seeks profit and purpose.
Which one of these four hurdles to the values investing ecosystem is the most challenging to you? Why?