Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to do well financially even while caring for the planet and humanitarian issues. It might seem naive, but it’s the best way to stay true to our values and humanity while still being realistic about the fact that we still need to make a profit. If you are someone who wants to do good for the world while still earning enough to make a decent living through your business, the title you are looking for is “social entrepreneur.” Here are some tips to help you become one.
Be a visionary
If being a businessman is all about finding gaps in the market and working hard to fill in those gaps, being a social entrepreneur is all about finding community-based problems and working hard to solve them. Both require having vision and foresight and seeing things through a big picture perspective while finding practical answers and solutions to real-world problems. What are the problems in your community that you think need help? Here are some examples you can look into:
- If your community lacks alternative products filled with clean and good ingredients, you may be uniquely positioned to provide them with those products. Some people have sensitive skin and bodies in general, and there is a gap in the market for clean and affordable hygienic products.
- Is there a massive gap in wealth equality in your city? Is there a passion in your heart to understand and eventually explain the systematic structures that cause poverty? Study more about issues of poverty and how it relates to your community’s specific context so that you can gain an insight on how you can help.
- If there are young adults in your community who have a hard time financially because they haven’t paid their student loans, consider assisting them in finding a debt settlement attorney who can help them resolve their financial troubles. Many of these fresh graduates don’t have the financial and emotional resources to get a debt relief consultation, so they could use the help in getting connected with a reliable lawyer.
To be a social entrepreneur is to first have a burning passion in your heart to help the underserved, so the first step is to find problems in your community first before you can make more concrete plans.
Draft a mission statement
Once you’ve zeroed in on the problem that you want to find a solution for, it’s time to identify the following:
- Who do you want to serve?
- Where are they located?
- How exactly do you want to help them?
A simple mission statement may be less complex than a business plan, but it will provide the building blocks for all the details you can work on later. Be clear about the issue or problem you want to create a solution for, identify your target demographic, and create a foolproof service or product that can help solve that problem.
When thinking of a particular area of need you want to address, think of the answers to the following questions:
- What are your skills, core competencies, and natural talents that make you uniquely positioned to provide a solution to this community issue?
- Do you have access to the resources and networks you will need to see this project to fruition?
- What value will you be providing to the community in need? Will you be of help, or will you be someone they might need to accommodate instead of receiving from?
The answers to these questions will help inform your mission statement for this project or business.
Develop a viable business model
It’s one thing to dream about doing good things for others, but getting it off the ground is another story altogether. You need to establish a roadmap for how you want your enterprise to help the community and how it will turn a profit. Think about how you want your service or product to expand one day. Here are some major points for consideration when making a business model:
- Will the beneficiaries pay for the services or products themselves? If this is the case, it’s called a micro-lending venture.
- Choose the best kind of social enterprise business model for your chosen advocacy and concept.
And lastly, don’t hesitate to be inspired by successful social enterprises, like TOMS, Justea, and Grain4Grain. Back up your passion with practicality and hard work, and you will be helping so many people soon enough, and you will find yourself doing well by doing good for others. Good luck!