Are you an aspiring business entrepreneur or an entrepreneur with the passion of making environmental and social difference? If yes, this is a must read for you.
Running a social enterprise allows you use your entrepreneurial principle to mobilize, organize and manage a for-profit business that supports social change.
This article explains frameworks on how to make your business a social enterprise.
Address a social issue
You can’t run a social enterprise without inspiration. Get inspired, the desire to solve problems comes as your inspiration.
Elon Musk (CEO) of Tesla is a good example of an entrepreneur running a social enterprise. Tesla is not only a for-profit business; it is a business with the goal of making environmental friendly products. In short, his business is aimed at reducing human contribution towards global warming.
Make research on the social issue
Don’t start the social enterprise with your personal experience on the social issue; it doesn’t make you an expert. Research on the social issue to have a full grasp of the nature of the issue, your target markets, your business purpose, the competition you are likely to face in the market and the value you want to give to your customers.
Viewpoint forums, industry analysis, market research and analysis and feasibility studies will help you formalize and determine possibility of your idea.
A global viewpoint is crème
Even if your cause is a local one, don’t restrict yourself to the local viewpoint. Get resources on international websites, social networks, online blogs, events and meet-ups and beyond to give you a global viewpoint. Also don’t restrict yourself to your niche; there are some value parallels that can work for different social business in different niches.
Grasp Legal Structures
This plays a significant role in your business structure, regulations, ability to attract investors and partners, governance and taxation.
Major structures available are not-for profits, for-profit, charities and co-operatives. The major challenge here is to choose between a for-profit and not for-profit structure. Before making decisions, ensure you speak to other entrepreneurs about their experience, and do a lot of research.
A solid business plan needs to be established
The same way hypothesis turns out to become theories or laws in science, research also turn out to become business plan.
The business plan should define success measurement strategy, the goals and task of the enterprise such as;
- A clear definition of the service or product that will be offered
- A clear definition of the social objective
- Meeting plans to blend social and business goals
- Success measuring plans
- The target market and how you plan reaching them
- Marketing channels to reach out to the customers
- Plans to develop products or deliver service
- The business model
- How the business will operate, where it will be based, your team members and the day to day activities of the business.
- The start-up cost, expense and cash flow and the projected income
Note; A social purpose enterprise is for-profit business competing with other commercial enterprise that are concerned with financial returns only. Ensure the business plan is engaging and convincing to get funders, stakeholder and investors.
Find out how to fund the business
Getting capital to start can be the challenging part of running or starting a social business enterprise. First is to understand the different financing plan available and how to assess the one that best suit your purpose.
Get yourself a mentor
A mentor is a business professional that provides sound advice, encouragement and support. Having one is critical to have a mentor that understands the issues and challenges faced in social business.
Move with the right people
Just like hiring employees for any type of business, choosing the right people is also important. A tree can never make a forest, so you cannot build the business alone. Move with people that have the same mindset, commitment and goal.
Having board of directors to provide support and expertise is also important to move the business to the next level. Other skills might also be required depending on the goal of the business.
Build a company culture
Don’t just have a business campaign; ensure you have a business culture that blends the traditional not for-profit and traditional for-profit mentality. Ensure the business communicates to all stakeholders.
Disturb the media
Establishing a strong presence globally is beneficial to your business. Make good use of the company website, blogs and social media platforms (LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook and YouTube) to reach out to people about the company.
Also have it in mind that the power the social media has depends on what you share so be mindful of the contents you share and how you use your words. Avoid political and religious topics that could jeopardize your business value.