Ryan Skoogs, co-founder of the non-profit Venture Expeditions, (which is partnering with OKWU’s Orange Movement) and the founder of two businesses International Volunteer Card and Fly for Good, visited OKWU’s campus this week as a part of Orange Week.
“Business people will be the missionaries of the future,” he said. “This is an exciting time to be thinking about the intersection of business, entrepreneurship, and missions. There has never been a better time to start something and to start something with a social mission. I think that in the future, social enterprise is going to be the only way to do business. Doing good is a social advantage.”
He had several pieces of advice for the students. He advised them to:
- Remember that you should only start a business because you are passionate about what you are doing or what you are selling. You must do it really well and you must provide the highest quality service.
- The first step is to get experience. Find a company or a person who is doing a good job at what you want to do and work for them. You will be getting paid to learn.
- Begin building your network before you need it. Ask questions. Once you have met with someone and have taken note of their advice, report back to them once you have acted on their advice, and let them know the outcome. This will help you build a relationship with that person and will also encourage them to help you in the future.
- Be someone that people can believe in. People will want to believe in you before they believe in your ideas.
- Once you start your business or non-profit, keep in mind that every part of your business must be better. Your product must be better, your marketing must be better, and the good or service you offer must be better. You cannot emphasize one and neglect another.
- Keep in mind when you start that progress is slow. You cannot cheat the sales cycle no matter how good you are. People have to warm up to you before they buy your product.
- Tie a specific good, a measurable impact to the product the customer purchases. This way the customer feels like they are the one giving and doing good, instead of feeling like you are the one giving with the money you make off of them. Toms has a great model of using a specific good and providing a measurable impact with the one-for-one campaign.
Ryan reminded the students that “so many business principles are Biblical principles.” He also cautioned the students who would like to start a business or non-profit with a mission, “There is a big difference between social justice and Biblical justice.” Your faith must be integrated into everything you do. “Do not leave the praying for the pastor. As a business person, you are not off of the hook. If you’re going to do a kingdom good and not just a social good, you are going to have an enemy.”
To hear more about Ryan Skoogs’ non-profit Venture Expeditions, click here.
Concluding Orange Week there will be fun event on campus Friday night, perfect for Valentine’s Day- “Swing for Sisters” from 7-9:00pm CT. The cost $3 per individual or $5 for couple. “Swing for Sisters” participants will receive swing dancing instruction and opportunities to practice their new skills throughout the night as well as dessert. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the faith-based rehabilitation shelter, Day Spring Villa, for trafficking victims in Oklahoma.