Social entrepreneurship is the fusion of entrepreneurship with social impact, to be precise. So, it’s like having the burden and responsibility of two jobs at once. Herein lies the tricky part. The focus of a social entrepreneur cannot just be inclined to any one side of the job, but it needs to find a balance between both the ends – ‘social’ and ‘entrepreneurship’. This balance is what many fail to achieve. There are certain things that a social entrepreneur must always have in the back of his mind. The task at hand is hard but it is worth the effort.
So, if you are a social entrepreneur or are aspiring to become one, this goes out to you:
- You work for the greater good.
Social entrepreneurship is the new way to create an impact in the lives of many and it is quickly taking hold all over the globe. Social entrepreneurs are usually highly inspired people who primarily care about social change and social impact. As a social entrepreneur, you work for the greater good. Problems are where your act comes in. Your innovative solutions, be it products or services, is dedicated to eradicating the sorrows of the people and communities you choose to assist and uplift.
- Be prepared for the winding road.
Your journey as a social entrepreneur is going to be like a winding road. You might start with a particular idea, and make a hypothesis about how it’s all going to work out, but that is definitely not how things will flow. You will face a lot of hardships as you go, such as lack of resources, difficulties in finding investors, mobilizing everyone in your team to get on board with your vision, to name a few. With changing times and situations, you should be prepared to be flexible and adjust according to the demands of the moment. You should be open to new experiences and lessons. The only thing you should stay put at is your vision with which you started in the first place. Never compromise your vision for anything else. Only then can you be truly successful in bringing about a real change in the world.
- Innovation is the key.
When you are a social entrepreneur who’s set out to change a bad situation for good, you know that conventional and old ways ain’t gonna work anymore. You have got to be innovative, creative and come out with fresh ideas to find solutions to problems that haven’t been fixed yet. For instance, if you’re out there wanting to eradicate poverty, then don’t just donate, rather teach people how to be self-reliant and how to be one’s own greatest help in times of need. Be radical. Be passionate. Be the key to the lock and open the door to the world of new possibilities.
- Start small and gradually pace up.
Having a realistic and practical business model/strategy is true of any business. Since your job as a social entrepreneur is doubly challenging, you have got to chalk out a clear-cut and rational business strategy that will not only help you in making a difference but also ensure that you gain profits for you enterprise to thrive. So, the wise thing to do would be to start small, focus on a particular area and once you see that your plan is working well, you can expand your project gradually.
- Don’t keep your vision restricted. Think global.
While it is true that you should start small, your vision or outlook shouldn’t be restricted to being local or to satisfy just a small community of people. Have a broad vision and work in such a way that your model can be used worldwide. Once the world sees that your model is world class and sustainable, capital and other resources will come your way.
- Collaboration makes you stronger.
When you collaborate with the right investors and such organizations with the similar vision as yours, you only emerge stronger. Not only does it reduce your financial risks but also is a great means for a constant influx of ideas. Building strong connections with individuals or other organizations helps you extend your reach to a much more wide network. In case yours is a nonprofit enterprise, the matter of financial viability and sustainability, in the long run, becomes tough. You need to think outside the box and learn from others who are experienced in the field.
- It’s overwhelming and that’s alright.
There are highs and lows of everything. You will face both of these in your fair share. There is a lot to do, a lot to deliver, and a lot to accomplish. So, it’s no doubt that you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed at times due to all the pressure. This is perfectly normal. The important thing is to not crack under pressure and keep going. Do not keep basking in the glory of your success. Rather prepare yourself for every possible hardship and face them bravely. As Winston Churchill wisely said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
These are a few basic things that’ll help you to keep it together while ensuring that you are making positive changes with your actions. There will be surprises and shocks, both good and bad, but hold on and keep a clear head. Every little experience and each mistake is an opportunity to improve and grow. Be open minded and keep learning from your mistakes. Expect the best but be prepared for the worst. Good luck!