We know that success doesn’t come overnight. All entrepreneurs know too well. For The Venture’s global report, Redefining Success in a Changing World, more than 550 social entrepreneurs were surveyed about how they reached success. Here are five tips from some of the most successful social businesses.
1. Aim to have impact in each layer of activity of the business
Your business model has the potential to have a positive impact on your employees, supply chain and end consumers, as well as serving a societal need. The model needs to be designed with multiple, mutually reinforcing impacts in mind from the outset. That will make it more successful and allow you to turn a profit.
2. Shout it from the rooftops
Try to generate as much awareness of your business and accept offers of support from experts and big business as possible. Most social entrepreneurs see lack of consumer awareness as a significant barrier for scaling their ventures and solutions. Organizations like crowdfunding platforms, for example, are excellent resources for helping social entrepreneurs grow and establish themselves.
3. Partner with big business
Not only will established enterprises have potentially helpful connections for you and your business– they can include you in their supply chains and you may in turn inspire them to adopt social entrepreneurial practices within their own company as well.
4. Be passionate and business-savvy
Making the right business decisions will likely translate into positive outcomes for your social mission. Remember that business sustainability can lead to the sustainability of your social impact.
5. Remember that you are a business
Socially-minded businesses still need to generate revenue, pay employees and provide services. Don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow social entrepreneurs and businesses to find out how they did it. Pablo Gonzales of Café Punta del Cielo talks about the importance of getting your idea from being conceptual and out into the marketplace, “Some people think that ideas are very valuable, but the ideas only get their value when they are done. So we always tell entrepreneurs that if you have an idea, you have to [take] it to the market.”
The Venture is a new global social enterprise initiative searching for extraordinary startups and new ideas that use business to create positive change. Sahar Wahbeh, founder of Dumyé is the GCC representative for the global finals in San Francisco. Vote for her at https://www.theventure.com/gb/en/finalists/dumye