If you are looking for a career that empowers you as well as turning a profit, you may be interested in a career in the path of a social entrepreneur. However, just because you have a good mission behind your business doesn’t mean that money is just going to fall into your lap. You still need to have an excellent business strategy, and you still need to follow sound business practices. Following this strategy will mean the difference between a successful business and one that fails.
Tips for a Sound Business Strategy for Successful Social Entrepreneurship
• Be the Expert. If you want to get into helping the homeless, educate yourself on the issue you are trying to solve. You probably aren’t the first person to recognize the problem, so figure out where other people failed. Find out who the important players are. Read up on the challenges, and what has succeeded in other areas. You want to know as much as you can about the field that you are entering.
• Market yourself and the Issue. Although marketing sounds issue, it really is just communicating your mission. If you believe in your mission, it shouldn’t be hard to get other people to believe in it to. But sometimes branding it correctly takes skill. Make sure that you can properly send the message of what you are trying to do with your products.
• Remember the Bottom Line. Don’t forget that you won’t be able to help everyone if you go out of business. Even though your mission is an important part of your business, you still have to be financially accountable.
• Get the Right Staff. Hire people that have skills and experience in the areas that you don’t. You don’t need another clone of you – you need someone to take the weight off of you and do the things that aren’t your specialty. If you don’t have experience in accounting, hire someone who does. Don’t be a martyr trying to everything. You will burn out and your business will fail.
• Communicate well. People want to trust social entrepreneurs, so make it easy for them. Be very clear with your communications, and be transparent in your business practices. One of the reasons that people want to do business with a social entrepreneurs is because they want to support their mission, so be as clear as possible. If someone is a funder of your business you will probably have to disclose those names at some point. Just be very upfront with everyone whenever you can.
• Don’t forget the non-internet world. The internet is a given when it comes to marketing and supporting your business, but don’t forget that much of the world exists without the internet. Good old-fashioned connections mean a lot, so get out there and meet people on a face-to-face level and ask them what they would like to see out of your company. Listening to your customers can be great for any business.
While you are making your business grow, even businesses with valuable social entrepreneurial missions still need to practice sound business strategies.