• Social Enterprise and the Benefits for your Business

    Unsure how best to grow businessHave you ever felt conflicted between the need to grow your business and the desire to make a positive impact in the community you serve? If so, I have two pieces of good news for you:

    1. You are the perfect candidate to find out more about Social Enterprise, a new and rapidly developing business model—one that will help you differentiate and grow your enterprise.

    2. You can have it all—sustainable business growth, as well as a positive impact on your people, your community, and the environment.

    Contrary to popular belief, Social Enterprise is not about being a charity or a not-for-profit organisation. Though the definition has been up for some debate in recent years, I see the most comprehensive definition being the following:

    Social Enterprise: A profit making business with a social objective or purpose, where a significant part of the profit is reinvested into the business or local community to create further social impact. As the business profits grow so the benefits to society grow.

    Another way of clarifying the meaning of Social Enterprise would be to look at the principle of Tripe P Bottom Line Investment. This business theory places equal amounts of emphasis on People, Planet, and Profit…with the idea that all will benefit with a focus on each.

    • People: the business take steps to ensure that benefit is felt by all people involved…from employees to community members.

    • Planet: the business avoids making a negative impact on the environment, and goes as far as reducing energy consumption, waste, or emissions, for example.

    • Profit: the business focusses on earning (and increasing) profits in its trading activities and by being socially aware. These profits will benefit not just the shareholders but stakeholders and the wider community.

    The Advantages of Becoming a Social Enterprise
    Let’s face it: corporations are increasingly being held responsible for their actions (or inaction!), as well as for the actions of their sponsors, suppliers, the communities that accommodate them, and the people who patronise them.

    What does this mean for you, the small/medium sized business owner?
    1) Do nothing now and wait until society deems that your activities are identified as being Socially Unaware,
    2) Take the initiative now to alter your business model to become a “social enterprise” and bound ahead of the competition in terms of profitability and social impact.

    There is a broad spectrum on what and how social enterprise is classified, and different examples to model across all sectors and company sizes. There are many benefits to becoming a Social Enterprise. Here are some of the advantages you can expect:

    • Innovation: With new connections come new viewpoints; and with new viewpoints come fresh, new ways of doing things. This is how the seeds of innovation are planted.

    • Investment: When your business showcases itself as a Social Enterprise, investors’ attention is piqued. The astute ones know about the social enterprise movement, and are quick to align themselves with businesses who are embracing this new business model.

    • Engagement: The social impact you choose to make, through your Social Enterprise, says a lot about your corporate values. People who share those values will pick up on this and choose to associate and make conversation with your company. These are the people who hold the most potential for becoming loyal clients.

    • Problem-Solving: As a business your role is to serve your customers by identifying a problem and then solving that problem for them. A Social Enterprise solves customer problems and looks to solve social problem at the same time. Social enterprises are therefore seen to be more innovative and dynamic and are more likely to gain the attention of potential employees, customers and investors.

    • Publicity: The conventional profit-centred business model is under attack; however, there’s a counterculture going on, too. The Social Enterprise model is being promoted and highlighted in the many news and social media outlets. By raising your level of social awareness and incorporating social responsibility into your business model you will find many opportunities to raise your social profile – again making it easier to gain new customers, employees and investors.

    The advantages of operating as a Social Enterprise certainly do not end there…and neither does the good news. If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of running your very own Social Enterprise, you can learn how to accomplish that in my upcoming FREE event, Access to IMPACT. In this evening event, to be held at the British Library on 4th February, you will learn how…

    Business + Social Impact = Enterprise Growth.

    This event is for business leaders from all sectors and all size companies (start-ups, SMEs, and corporations), entrepreneurs, public institutions, and universities. Join me and two other Social Enterprise experts as we show you how to make the most of this new business model—for the good of your community, your environment, and of course, your business. Click here for your ticket.

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  • “Good Business” is Good for Business

    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

    Business + Social Impact = Enterprise Growth

    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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