People start social enterprises, become social entrepreneurs, and become Founders of nonprofits for various reasons. Some of these are personal, and some are societal. No matter their intentions, they soon realize that desire and passion are not enough to sustain the business while impacting their communities. As a potential founder of a social enterprise, here are a few steps you need to consider before driving into the social impact business pool. Here are a few things you want to consider:
1. Are you ready for the commitment
Starting a social enterprise can be time-consuming, and there are various problems that you will encounter along the way. You have to be strong enough to weather the storm. What is the storm, you might ask? Well, the biggest storm is usually not having enough funds to sustain the business initially, but that can be fixed with time or a good business model, of course?
2. Programs and Services will be offered.
When you create a social enterprise, you need to know what you will do and how you will do it. This means knowing the programs and services you will be offering to the community to treat or solve the identified issue. We never suggest that you make these decisions on your own. You need to consult with the demographic you will serve to assess their wants, needs, and desires for practical solutions to their issues.
3. Plan, Plan, and Plan some more.
A good plan will magnify your chances for success. Starting a social enterprise or any
other company for that matter without an excellent strategy for customer acquisition, funding, and growth, amongst many other things, is just a recipe for disaster. Although these plans will be fluid, meaning that they will change as circumstances in the community and company change, they still are a solid foundation for success.
Creating an itemized budget will be crucial to the company's success. It would help determine your expenses to determine how much money you will need to make to break even, then make a profit, and put into savings for a rainy day.
5. Where is the money coming from?
When you are plan, plan, and plan some more, you will inevitably explore this question – Where is the money coming from? This could be from earned income, sponsorship, contributors, membership, or a myriad of other sources. Those can be bank loans or credits cards and personal investments, finance leases, various grants, and state subsidies.
6. Build a Network of Professional.
You need to have a team of paid and free professionals around you to bounce ideas and
strategies off to make sure that you are running your business efficiently and effectively. If you are not already well connected in your community, networking is a fantastic way to do so. This network can be comprised of consultants, mentors, coaches, Administrative Assistants, etc. Make sure to check out 808 Talent Source for ALL of your Virtual Assistant needs.
7. Build Partnerships and Collaborations.
You cannot do everything on your own. You need the help of other organizations and businesses within the community to provide sub-services that will help fix the issues that plague the community you serve. Networking will help you meet and build relationships with the leaders of these entities. This will allow you to cross-promote, reach, and impact a wider audience.
8. Market, Advertise, Promote, Brand
You need to enter the market with a bang. This will define your success in the marketplace. But what does it take to enter the marketplace successfully? It takes expert planning. If you are not very well-versed in marketing, you need to consult with an expert. You want to make sure that your first impression is lasting. You also want to make sure that all of your advertisement and promotional materials are on-brand and convey the message inspiring people to act.
9. Know the Laws that Govern Your Entity.
You need to make sure that you understand the laws that govern your organization’s activities. Every state operates a little differently and even counties and municipalities within those states, so make sure you know to avoid penalties.
10. Launch Your Enterprise.
It’s opening day, and because you have taken the time to plan and execute with the assistance of other experts, this should go off flawlessly. Make sure to invite and acknowledge all the key players who helped you get here. Also, invite some of the people in the community you plan to serve. Tell the audience your “why " any impact stories you may have and drive home the mission and vision by highlighting the programs and services you offer and how they will transform the people and community.
If you need help putting a social enterprise together that will be profitable from its inception, Tracy and the Team of Consultants here at TVA Consulting Group are here to help. Book a Micro Strategic Session or inquire about our other consulting packages. If you have any questions, drop them in the comment box below.