It seems like every business owner is in pursuit of sustainable growth; it appears that this desire is universal. What isn’t universal is the path toward achieving that growth. In recent years, a new type of entrepreneur has emerged. These new entrepreneurs are looking for ways to differentiate themselves—to innovate, to access better talent and customers, to improve their access to capital…and to grow their businesses by being socially responsible.
If you are unfamiliar with social enterprise and haven’t yet explored what being a social entrepreneur means, then you’re most likely missing out on many of the advantages that come with this different way of thinking and new model for doing business.
So let’s delve more deeply into what being socially responsible means, and investigate how becoming more socially aware could benefit your business.
How can raising your level of social awareness benefit your business?
Social Awareness within a business can be defined as understanding the impact you have on your staff, customers, community, and environment. Every business makes an impact. The pivotal question for every socially aware entrepreneur is this: How will you increase your business’s positive impact on every level?
Human emotion drives consumer purchasing decisions. For this reason, your ideal clients are searching for a company they can believe in, relate to and feel emotionally drawn to. In this new age of connectivity, your customers want to establish relationships, find commonalities and feel “a part of something.”
By raising the level of social awareness in your organisation you will find the following benefits:
• the attraction and retention of talented staff members who believe in (and who will promote) your brand
• the opportunity to differentiate your business from the competition
• more ease in attaining financial support for your business
• the opportunity to express your corporate values through social interaction—which will attract clients who share those values
• the chance to get something done that you really believe in, whilst benefiting your business
• access to more ideal clients, through marketing by social partners
• an authentic spirit for innovation, cultivated by new personal/corporate connections and new attitudes surrounding collaboration and contribution
Being socially aware can mean different things to different people. Aligning your company behind a compelling vision and clear values will immediately help to raise your level of social awareness and create greater staff engagement in your organisation. Raising your social awareness can also mean finding areas in your business where you can have a greater impact in your community.
Whatever you choose to do, no matter how big or small, eg changing some of your procurement to socially responsible companies to donating 100% of your profit to solving a social problem, your efforts must be authentic and consistent. And it doesn’t mean taking on a social cause solely for the purpose of gaining publicity. When Starbucks planted recycling receptacles in their stores for their special “recyclable” cups, and then dumped them in landfills because they weren’t truly recyclable, the public’s perception of Starbucks as an environmentally friendly company was negatively affected. Don’t let this happen to your business.
Choose socially aware business activities that you can get behind and believe in, wholeheartedly. If you want to have a bigger impact, choose a social problem that your target audience believes in, too. Connect with organisations that specialise in this cause. Market your intentions. Engage your staff in looking for innovative ways to make a greater difference. Let your customers know what you’re up to and give them opportunities to get involved. Publish case studies of the impact you’re having in your community to encourage more support.
There are many different ways you can become more socially aware in your business and the benefits to your organisation of doing so will be varied, but will ultimately lead to greater staff and customer engagement and better business growth.
To find out more about how to become a socially aware business and learn practical things you can do in your business now, register for the FREE upcoming event called Access to Impact, to be held at the British Library on the 4th February: 5.30-9pm
At the event I will be joining other Social Enterprise experts in teaching growth-focussed business owners how to become successful by being socially responsible businesses. Seats for this event are limited, and are filling fast, so reserve your place now by clicking the link here.
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