Steps to Starting a Social Enterprise and Becoming a Social Entrepreneur04 Mar 2014, Posted by Social Entrepreneurship in
Social entrepreneurs around the globe are developing new ideas and putting new plans into motion that aim to spark change, creating a better world. You, too, can think like a social entrepreneur! Ready to get started? Follow these 7 steps to starting a social enterprise; they’re sure to help you change the world in your own way.
1) Start a For-Profit Social Enterprise
Social enterprises think with the heart of a non-profit and the business brains of a for-profit organization. From inception, achieving social and environmental good need to be in the DNA of your business plan. Create a social enterprise that is for profit, where those profits will be put to use to fund your social mission. If you’re not manning your own social initiatives, commit to donating a percentage of revenue to a non-profit that aligns with the mission of your social enterprise.
2) Embrace a Solutions-Based Mindset
We do a lot of talking about the problems this world faces, but who’s talking about the solutions? As a social entrepreneur, it’s your job to push the envelope. You have to think about solutions; how is your social enterprise going to solve problems? Don’t just stop when you identify the social issue you want to address; take it several steps further by thinking outside the box for a solution to that problem, and a plan to put it into action.
3) Create One for One
Over 70 percent of the economy is made up of consumer products and services. If you’re selling products or services, your social enterprise can easily adapt a one for one model. For every one unit you sell, donate one unit. TOMS shoes is a well-known example of a successful one for one model; for every pair of shoes sold, one pair is donated. Not only does this model provide for those in need, it also promotes smarter consumption, showing consumers a way they can also help the greater good with their purchasing power.
4) Create a job
One built-in way virtually all businesses can benefit their communities is by creating jobs. Through your social enterprise, you can create employment opportunities and create skilled employees. Social enterprises can provide job training to those in need, and provide a job where those individuals can put those skills into action.
Job creation is of special importance to many social entrepreneurs, as we come out of the recession. For young people, who are breaking into the social enterprise scene, this is especially true, as they have faced uncertainty and unemployment throughout most of their careers.
5) Participate in the Shared Economy
A new mindset has emerged and created an entire new economy. Instead of owning the market, why not share it? Cut the consumption craze that has taken up so much of the 20th century when humans transitioned from having what they needed, to consuming all they wanted. Instead, businesses are now turning to a shared model, through renting and lending goods. For example, subscription rental services, like Netflix and Zipcar are cutting down consumption while providing consumers with the goods they need and want.
The same model can be applied to social enterprises. Collaborative consumption is the foundation of many social enterprise startups. The sustainability element here is huge; cut down on the amount of goods, cut down on waste. Less stuff not only benefits the environment, but can benefit individuals: renting is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying in most cases. What most individuals don’t see when they rent goods is that they are actually sharing; that car you rented last week is being used by your neighbor today. Collaborative consumption expands your personal network, creating new connections that can prove to be very valuable down the road.
6) Start a Crowdfunding Campaign
Don’t let lack of funds stand your way when it comes to your brilliant ideas. Social entrepreneurs often use crowdfunding campaigns to generate not only revenue for their startup, but to generate support for their cause. Through crowdfunding, you can create a community of supporters that will back your mission.
Sock Monkeys Against Cancer (SMAC) did just that to get their social enterprise off the ground. Their goal was to create a tangible good to give comfort to cancer patients. Their social mission was to provide one for one; every sock monkey sold earned one that was given to a cancer patient. Crowdfunding was used to gain the capital to cover not only the startup costs, but also the production and shipping of the first 500 units of product.
7) Mentor Motivated Youth
Another way social entrepreneurs change the world is by changing the next generation. Social entrepreneurs often serve as mentors to youth who are motivated by the same ideals. By providing a young person with a positive example, you can inspire the next generation to pursue the meaningful path of developing the next generation of social enterprises which will change the world. Jumping into a social enterprise business venture can be a scary step; mentors not only show them the ropes, but also can give youth the confidence they need to make that step.
Ready to start your social enterprise? Gain the skills you need to make your dreams a reality; join Heroes Economy today.