5 Ways to Change Your Firm to a Social Enterprise Model

You sometimes feel as if your business development is cold-hearted.

You ask: Do they care about you? Or does your workplace only care about the bottom-line (i.e. profit)?

Have you ever wondered about this?

You’re not alone.

Old Business Model Leaving People Cold

Mary Jo Keating writes her article “New Model Passes Business As Usual“, written in the Hartford Business Journal.

I found her article insightful. It’s interesting particularly because it mentions the story of Kate Emery who had owned her own business, an IT-services firm, and then felt that its conventional business model was inadequate.

The article mentions:

The old business model is leaving many people cold — literally — and the rest of us are feeling the pain in one way or another as well.

As companies continue to lay off the people they once called their “greatest assets”, we, as consumers get less and less service and satisfaction from our purchases. It’s brought into question the traditional business model with its laser focus on profits.

There must be a better way.

5 Principles of Kate’s Newer Social Enterprise Model

I like that Kate then took action after examining her frustration. She transformed her older business model into a newer social enterprise model.

She outlines the 5 major principles which governed the new changes towards social enterprise. These principles could help you, especially if you are keen to move your business model towards a social enterprise. They are as follows:

  1. Participatory Governance
  2. Transparency
  3. Socially Responsible, Ethical Business Practices
  4. Fair and Equitable Compensation
  5. Profits Distributed to All Contributors

She makes a very intriguing comment: That once her business model moved away from profit-making to greater social purpose, her firm actually became even more profitable.

Many Flavours of Social Enterprise

Kate’s newer model and 5 principles are just one sort of model that can be used for social enterprise. There are a number of ways to create and move towards social enterprise.

In my point of view, Kate’s business development model seems to be more of a “socially responsible company” rather than a “social enterprise”, whereby social enterprises tend to be primarily directed towards a social or environmental mission for the community outside of the organization itself. Nevertheless, “socially responsible companies” often do fall under the general term of “social enterprises” – I think it’s often a discussion of semantics. ‘Social enterprise’ is quite a new concept, and so the concept is constantly developing.

Share your thoughts on Kate’s model. What do you think of her 5 principles?