Overcoming Bureaucracy as a Social Entrepreneur

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The problem of many larger social and environmental organizations is the problem of bureaucracy that stops good business ideas from happening.

Bureaucracy, Barriers & Excessive Procedures

Now larger social and environment organisations often have this challenge because of the systems that they have in place. Often those systems are there to ensure a control of corruption, to ensure a control on finances, to ensure a control on the quality of the products and services provided, among many other reasons.

While there are benefits to having the procedures in place, at times it can choke and suffocate an organization from becoming innovative.

Social Entrepreneurship: Starting Up Your Innovative Ideas

Now social entrepreneurship is one interesting cure for bureaucracy.

If you yourself are working for a larger organization and facing lot of ‘red tape’ in order to get meaningful results and positive change to other people and to the world around you, then do consider that you yourself can start up your own organisation or work in a smaller team in order to produce those results and harness innovation.

Social Intrapreneurship: Taking Initiatives From Within

While social entrepreneurship and starting up your own organization is one solution, one other way to overcome bureaucracy is through the notion of intrapreneurship.

Underlining that is the notion that even though there is some bureaucracy, you still have the confidence and you still have the ability to change things. And it does start with having the confidence and drive to believe that you can.

I made a video post recently about the concept of intrepreneurship and I would suggest looking into social entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, and gaining the entrepreneurial spirit within yourself to build good business ideas.

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Social Entrepreneurship Within Your Current Organization

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Entrepreneurship is a term often associated with the idea of a person or a group of people going out there in the world to use their innovation and ideas to create a system which makes a profit, produces results, creates jobs and succeeds. It can also refer to the use of social networking for business ideas that are for the greater good.

But is it possible for someone, an employee for instance to tap into that entrepreneurial spirit even though they work inside a larger organisation?

Apparently it can.

Social Intrapreneurship Vs Social Entrepreneurship

I came across an interesting word a few days ago and it was ‘intrapreneurship’ and I like to look at that word in context of social entrepreneurs and social enterprises.

Now intrapreneurship is the idea that an employee within a larger organisation can actually harness an entrepreneurial spirit to use their skills and influence of the people within their organisation and using the system of the organisation itself, changing it and influencing it, to then produce impactful results.

Be a Social Entrepreneur Within Your Current Organization

From that concept of intrepreneurship, it can then extended to larger social enterprises if you yourself are an employee working in a larger organisation.

Do consider the idea that you too can be somewhat of a social entrepreneur through being a social intrapreneur. That could mean going inside your organisation, finding the gaps and finding ways to use innovation, to use your creativity and using your influence of the people within your team to really find ways that help improve your organisation to improve our world.

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Scaling Up Your Social Business Model

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One of the powerful advantages that social businesses have over non-profit NGOs and also over governments, is that social entrepreneurship can scale up their model, and they can scale it up quickly and effectively.

Scale Up What Works From Smaller Projects

Scaling up means the ability to have a smaller project, testing it and seeing if it works, and then when it does work (based on the criteria that you have set usually based on the financial return on investment and social return on investment), social businesses have the capacity then to duplicate that model. And they can duplicate that model indefinitely, or to the extent of the limits of its own circumstances and factors that surround it.

Celebrate Success But Also Write Down the Details

For social businesses to duplicate such a model though, it’s very important for social entrepreneurs to think in terms of systems. While a pilot project can show the benefits of certain actions and certain activities, it’s great not to just celebrate those activities. It’d be very important to go beyond those activities.

Look outside the success factors of that pilot project or that pilot system, and then look at what works and what doesn’t work. Throw out what doesn’t work. Keep what works. Fine tune the areas that do need improvement, and then, write it down.

Write down in clear detail the specific actions and steps for that system to be duplicated again and again and again.

Scaling up a social entrepreneurship model is the great thing about social enterprise overall. They have greater financial resources and business acumen (mixed with their social purpose) to do it.

Note: Please excuse the poor sound quality of the video. As I was living and working in Bangladesh at the time of this video, it was the rainy monsoon season. Therefore, the sounds in the background were the fierce winds and pouring rain. Thank you for your understanding.

5 Ways to Be Persuasive

Guy Kawasaki, who has his own blog entitled ‘How to Change the World‘, has written 5 ways to be persuasive.

Now this is really important for social entrepreneurs, and people wanting to influence others through new business ideas.

Guy lists the 5 ways as:

  1. Be the first to give.
  2. Don’t offer too many choices.
  3. Argue against self-interest.
  4. Losses are more persuasive than gains.
  5. Make people feel as if they’ve already made progress toward a goal.

If you want to read more about his tips on persuasion, check out his article here.

Giving First

Out of the 5 tips, I would particularly emphasise point one: “Be the first one to give when it comes to new business ideas.” I like to think of this point as meaning that you must give more value than the other person could expect. It works very closely with the ‘law of reciprocity’, and the way that humans tend to want to give back to others who have given to them. I’ve seen it in my own life and experience, especially when other people give things to me for free, and I just feel a natural urge to want to help them out, too. This is very useful to understand as a social leader and influencer.

Help the People Inside Your Own Social Business

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In running a social business, we think of the triple-bottom-line (people, planet, profit – PPP). When we think of ‘people’, sometimes we think of the outside people – the beneficiaries, the community in which we work with and which we have a social impact. For the ‘planet’, we think of the external environment around us, and for ‘profit’ we think of the financial sustainability and financial growth of the social company. Part of this is social networking for business ideas and support.

So in all three, we tend to think of external factors to judge the success of a social business.

‘Helping People’ Means Helping Those in Your Team Too

I’d like to point out, though, that ‘people’ – that first P – can often mean the people within your own social business, the people who make a part of your team. Looking after them is an essential part of creating a lasting and impactful social enterprise.

When you have top-quality people who are engaged and motivated and challenged, you will have a high effective social business.

Develop that Special Quality of Your Staff

In the end though, what you’ll find is that many people especially in the social business are a lot more passionate and driven than those in a conventional business because people in a social business are not only financially sustained through the fact that social businesses earn better profit margins than NGOs or non-profit organisations, but also the fact that social businesses do have a social mission that they believe in.

Overall, taking care of people within your organization really means helping them to become better people – helping them to better themselves and developing them. That’s what’s great about social business. Because of its profitability and sustainability financially, social businesses have the capacity to develop its staff – develop them and train them – and also motivate them.

Look After Your Team & They’ll Look After You

So I encourage you as a social businessperson to really look after your people through social networking for business support.

Help them to become better.

Note: Please excuse the poor sound quality of the video. As I was living and working in Bangladesh at the time of this video, it was the rainy monsoon season. Therefore, the sounds in the background were the fierce winds and pouring rain. Thank you for your understanding.