The Catholic Economy, Part 5: Action Steps Toward a Catholic Economy
What do we do at the parish and community level to build a Catholic economy?
5 different areas to accomplish this:
- How we should buy from Catholics and Catholic-owned businesses
- How we should sell to Catholics and Catholic-owned businesses.
- How we should employ Catholics- as employees, contractors, and suppliers
- How we should invest in Catholic businesses
- Providing business advice so more people can build businesses
1. Buy from Catholics
- We can create Catholic networks.
- Create buying groups, such as painting, landscaping, HVAC, etc. among parishioners.
- Set up specific industry groups within the parish or wider Catholic community.
- ex: all the Catholic plumbers in an area would need to buy all their supplies.
- they would work together to get a better deal on supplies
- Buying from Catholics doesn’t require extra money because these are products or services you would use anyway.
- It would be a resource for parishioners to buy from other parishioners, or from Catholic businesses from other local parishes.
- Maybe this could be a business for a parishioner where that business buys for the group.
2. Sell as Catholics
- Band together all the Catholic businesses and create a marketing club.
- They would go to trade shows together, do social media together, etc.
- Identify Catholic businesses and set up a set of standards so that when we are selling, we have a gold seal, for instance.
- The seal will then attract buyers and customers.
- Most Catholic businesses are doing marketing on their own, or doing no marketing.
- They can pool together the products and services, and sell them jointly with sophisticated marketing, good social media, etc.
- This would get a powerful message across that we have quality products and services to sell, and we pool our resources to do this.
- We could then create growth, have new business start-ups, etc.
- Some people object to employing Catholics because they see it as affirmative action, but it’s not. It is about looking out for fellow believers.
- The idea is to pay charitable and just attention to our fellow Catholics.
- We ought to create Catholic job boards, worded carefully so they don’t exclude others, but it can be created in a sophisticated way to attract Catholic candidates. But we still hire the best overall candidate.
- We should have networks of Catholic candidates. Start in the parish, then work outward.
- This could end up being a powerful employment network
- It already goes on in other communities, informally.
- It would still need to be merit-based with high quality, professional employees.
- We could create a lower unemployment rate than the larger society.
- We could influence wages, moving closer to a just wage or living wage for employees.
- We could create employment stability and family-friendly workplaces
4. Investing in Catholic businesses
- Catholics have varying degrees of funds to invest, so we could set up a pool of capital in a parish where it would invest in Catholic-owned businesses.
- Start-ups need advisory boards.
- What if every parish had a select group of business advisors who were experienced business people who could advise start-ups and existing businesses?
- People could then bring their problems to the board.
- A good way to set it up would be to survey/scout the parish for 5-10 people who could be an advisory board.
- On a larger scale, what if 10 Catholic parishes got together and they create an accelerator or incubator?
- Here Catholic business owners or start-ups would get some training, mentoring, advice, speakers, courses, etc.
- Another idea is to create a co-working space at the parish physical plant where they can have access to advisors. Maybe if a school closed it could be there.
- Peer advisory groups are very successful in the secular business world. Leaders of businesses come together, usually non competing businesses, and they improve each other’s performance through facilitated monthly group meetings.
- A parish could have a SWAT team that problem-solves for Catholic businesses.
- Or there could be special teams that identify opportunities in the parish or local community.
- A parish could have an entrepreneurial team who looked out for promising young people who may be good entrepreneurs.
- They would also look for good businesses that could be better if they solved this or that problem in the community.
- Find people to solve problems at your parish.
- One example would be a family business with no successor in place. The team could find someone to take over and train the new owner in running a business.
Watch the YouTube video about this topic.