Social enterprise is a form of business whose main aim is to improve social standards as well as serve the common good. These enterprises have gained popularity in the recent past maybe for the reason that govenrments and international organizations are more focused on sustainable development. There are also a lot of organizations set up just to provide funding for novel ideas in the line of social enterprise. The need to protect the ever depleting environmental standards by providing alternative ways of doing things like organic farming, Use of wind energy, recycling industry just to mention a few. Basically there are dfferent social enterprise models.
Model Examples of Social Enterprises:
- The Employment Model- this is a social enterprise that maily focuses on employing peope with isadvantages such as proper education at a fair wage. One such organization is the Gooodwil industry in America. It employs poor peple with little or no education, they are employed and trained at the job.
- The Innovation Model- this is more popular because it operates like any other prodution industry, only difference is the products are mainly designed to bring positive social change. For instance the use of alternative clean energy such as solar technology is a good example under this model.
- Give back Model- this model operates in a way that, when a person makes a purchase f a product such as shoes, eye glasses or even cloths one item is donated to the poor for each purchase.
This gives us a bit of background as to the facets of operation and why social enterprises are gaining popularity and rising steadly all around the world. We can also predict what potential or their capacity to grow and finally create a change in the world.
The success of any establishment lies in its foundation and their are a few things that must work together for it to succeed. We will look into what factors determine the success or failure of social enterprises.
Reasons Why Social Enterprise Fail
- Lack of Resources and Proper Knowledge. Most people with passion in social enterprise lack the necessary resources and tools to implement their ideas successfully. They do not know the right channels to follow through and sometime ignre the funding part. Every Soial enterprise must be treated like any other business with capital ventures, creditors, debtors and all.
- Unsupportive Government Structures. Most governments are lagging behind in terms of implementing legislation that encourages Social Entrepreneurship. This ends up frutrating small start ups.
- Internal Strutures. The founding members and board of diretors may pose different conflicting interests. These squables end up hurting the enterprise in the long run.
Important Steps Towards Successful Social Enterprises
Change that brings with it a worldwide impact is no joke, needs a lot of work, influence, stakeholders and several key players. Something that only technology has managed to achieve so far, but if there was a breakthrough in the tech world there is definately hope for social enterprise to do even better. With time, social enterpreneurs are identifying their mistakes and trying to bridge the gap and they have made so much progress. This has been mainly boosted by the fact that social enterprise is immediate, people are able to feel and see the positive impact.
1.Identify a Clear Social Problem
Conduct a thorough background research on the social problem that you have identified then outline ways in which you could provide a viable solution. More importantly understand the needs of the end users. It will take time, patience and even resources but at the end of it all it will be worth it.
2. Write down a clear Business PLan
You can hire a profssional to help you with the minor details. You can also participate in competitions so that you gain experience and sharpen your skills. That way ycan test your ideas before implementation thus avoid failure.
3. Bring on Board Supportive Board and Staff
Social Enterprise is a relatively alien idea to most people, while starting off do not just bring people on board just because you want to fill up the spaces and hit the groung running. Frustrations and disappointmnt will hit you hard when you realize that you are the only one pushing, working and finaning the whole project. Vet your team carefully at all levels. People who can carry on with business as usual whether you are around or not.
4. Social enterprise is a typical business
In every typical business you need to make profit and stay afloat so that the normal operations are not affected. You need to strike a balance and ensure that what you are making is more than what is going out, otherwie you could find yourself barely able to pay your employees. Ensure that your ideas are effective, efficient and financially sustainable.
5. Consistent Access to Capital
Funding is the other most important aspect in any organiation espcially during the initial stages when the entity is not able to self sustain. So when outsourcing for funds, look at the one with the best offer espicially in terms of period and the expected returns. Look for a finanial adviser who will help you make the hard decisions.
6. Ensure That Your Messages are Well Alligned With Your Product
Your package shoud be very attractive and well put together. Social enterprise relies heavily on what the social appeal. Do not get mixed up and confuse people.
7. High Starndards of Operation Beyond Reproach
A Social entrepreneur must have clean hands along with all known associates and employees. The media is usually attracted to new entrepreneurs. It will only take one scandal and your business is out.
Social Enterprise is for the people as long as a social entrepreneur focuses on that, the people everything else just kind of falls into place. Whether Social Change can ever be big enough to change the world, Its very much possible. It is only a matter of time, and more and more organizations will be inclined towards this idea.