However, in all the many definitions, there are always three key elements, as follows:
*Note that the term “social need” includes human needs such as meaningful and gainful employment, adequate shelter, alleviation of poverty, protection of human rights as well as environmental, cultural or recreational needs.
There are many elements to running a successful business, and the choice to embark on a journey to create a business that supports a social objective can be a bold endeavor, especially for the uninitiated. Nonetheless, it is wonderfully rewarding if you can affordably create and sell a product or service that somebody wants to buy. If those sales simultaneously fulfill or further your social mission (education, employment, historical preservation, cultural awareness…) then social enterprise is a worthwhile option to consider. Here are a few tips for those just considering social enterprise.
If you understand your current expenses on infrastructure, staff, maintenance and other costs, it will help determine the scale, scope and price structure of a future business endeavor.
If nobody has the skills and/or interest to conceive, plan, or run the business, it will fail. Consider planning the business to create sufficient revenue to pay for a business manager or an operations staff person that will bring the right skills to the revenue generating job. If you need help with planning, financing, marketing or operations, consider making a modest investment in a social enterprise consultant’s time to help. A professional in any field can help save you time and money in the long run.
Take the time to consider the best possible investment in a business venture. Learn about competitors, collaborators, trends, and opportunities in that industry. Make informed choices about investments of money, time, and other assets in the new venture. You don’t have to paralyze yourself in a planning labyrinth, but do consider the key factors that will affect your business success and impact.
The business won’t likely create massive financial returns in the first year or two. There may be time when you are spending money and don’t immediately see when you will be making money to compensate. Building an iterative plan helps to set realistic interim benchmarks to help you gauge your success during design, investment and launch.
There are many business ideas, and there may even be many viable business ideas that you’ve considered. Be sure to choose the idea that has the greatest net benefit to achieving your social mission in society, be that environmental, cultural, recreational, historical or otherwise.