What is a social entrepreneur? How to become a social entrepreneur? Are there any steps to become a social entrepreneur? In this post, we will help you get an answer to all these questions for a better understanding.
What is social entrepreneurship? Some of us may not know the answer, but I am sure you must have seen it in action. When it comes to defining the term, Wikipedia defines Social Entrepreneurship as an approach by individuals, groups, start-ups, established companies, or entrepreneurs, in which they develop, fund, and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues.
To simplify the jargon mentioned in the above paragraph, you can understand social entrepreneurship as a business model aimed to make profits while tackling a social cause. It is also known as the ‘Do-Gooder’ business model.
For a long time, the business has been associated with a cut-throat competition where generating profits come at the cost of harming someone, be it the environment, communities, or people. We are all aware of the instances of rapid deforestation at the Amazon, usage of unsustainable resources, and the hiring of low-wage laborers from underdeveloped countries to produce designer goods.
Social entrepreneurship is not a novel idea, but it did gain traction in the early 2000s after the publication of “The Rise of Social Entrepreneurship” by Charles Leadbeater. Now, several companies and organizations across the globe have emulated the idea and ventured into the plan of making profits while solving different social issues.
Social entrepreneurship means different things for different people. For some, such as TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, it means donating the profits to the people in need with each product purchased. On the contrary, for some such as Defy Ventures founder Andrew Glazier, it means creating opportunities for incarcerated people through launching training programs in prisons.
Social entrepreneurship as a movement is aggressively moving forward to the mainstream. With the rise of ethical brands and transparent business models, this idea has already taken its wings and soared to the skies while generating significant profits for all the people involved.
So now that the idea of social entrepreneurship has caught your attention, you must be interested in the know-how of how to become one yourself. Frankly, there is no set path to becoming an entrepreneur. Each entrepreneur and successful business model is focused on some unique elements that have set them apart from the rest.
But to help you start the journey of social entrepreneurship, here are eight steps that would help you set clear goals and become a successful entrepreneur.
1. Choose your Social Cause
Social entrepreneurship is a business based on a cause. So it is a no-brainer that you would need to find a reason even to start making a plan. Maybe you already have a cause you are passionate about, or perhaps many have caught your fancy over the years. Whatever the case, the first step in the journey is to finalize the social cause you wish to work upon.
2. Write a Strong Mission Statement.
A mission statement is a document that explains your company’s goals. It is a straightforward storyline for your company. Why did you start it, what is the process behind the company operations, what are your dreams, goals, and aims from the company, what do you wish the customers to know, etc.
A strong mission statement would start with clearly defining the problem you wish to solve, the demographic you’d like to target, and how you would do it? Think of your core skills and talents, what you have learned over the years and what you can offer to these people, and then define the first set of products and services you can provide to your customer base. Answering these simple guiding questions would allow you to come up with a quality mission statement.
3. Do the Market Research
Market research is the most integral part of starting an entrepreneurial venture. Market research would allow you to test the waters for your business plan. Even if your idea seems unique to you, there are high chances that someone else must be doing something similar to that. Hence, thorough market research would allow you to find out about people who are your competitors and people you’d like to collaborate with. It would also help you solidify your plan’s significant elements, such as target demographic, the products and services you wish to offer, and who you would be competing against.
4. Form your Team
Starting an entrepreneurial venture requires all hands on deck. So after you have done your market research, the next step is to form your team. You can hire members or simply ask people to join your initiative. One piece of advice while adding team members is to understand what they could offer to the project. At this stage, you will have neither the means nor the resources to get a full-fledged team. Hence having members with cross-functional or varied skillsets would allow you to hit all the bases without hiring a lot of people.
5. Develop your Business Model
Once you have finalized your essential business elements, it is now time to create a business model. A business model is the roadmap of your business that talks about how your business is going to function. It must answer questions such as how your business will make money, who will be the beneficiaries, how you will pay your employees, how much you will make out of the venture, and the essential questions regarding financing your social enterprise.
6. Identify Funding sources
Money makes the world move, and it is the same when it comes to starting an entrepreneurial venture. To create a business, you’d require seed funding. And hence you need to figure out how you’d be financing your operations. You can go for a traditional business loan or choose to self-finance. You may also seek funding from your friends and acquaintances or reach out to investors.
7. Make an action plan
As the old saying goes, a dream without a plan is just a dream. Hence, if you genuinely wish to materialize your goals, you’d need an action plan. Now an action plan is not synonymous with your business plan. While, your business plan involves official procedures like financing, registration, taxation, etc. An action plan is more like a detailed to-do list.
Bonus Point! To be a successful entrepreneur, you must be a hero in your targeted audience’s eyes, and hence here is the bonus point for you to complete the journey of being a successful social entrepreneur.
8. Get the word out
Once you have formulated your plan and started working on your products, it is time to start tooting your horn. Even before your products and services are ready to hit the market, you should focus on building a community that agrees and coincides with your views. This community would give you the motivation to move forward through your lows and would act as your customer base. Hence, you would help you to get customers from the very first day of your launch.
In this society of socially aware and conscious consumers, social entrepreneurship ventures’ demand is increasing tenfold. So, if you are interested in being a social entrepreneur, you couldn’t pick a better time than this!