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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