Social cause enterprises have been on the rise for the past half a decade. Consumers are increasingly turning to ethical brands when shopping. The market for ethical products and brands has exploded in recent years, offering consumers options they have never had.
In the current market, there is an ethical alternative to every product. Consumers are learning more about them all the time.
It is definitely possible to start a social cause business with grit and motivation. When you are passionate about the cause, you are driven forward, and now is the time to execute. People are increasingly trying to identify with brands that are ethically oriented.
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What is social cause entrepreneurship?
An organization that does business for a philanthropic cause is known as social entrepreneurship. As legal businesses that make money, social enterprises aim to maximize profits while increasing their positive impact on a particular social issue. Social enterprises, like charities and non-profits, are primarily concerned with benefiting society.
According to Deloitte, six business drivers drive social impact directly: brand differentiation, talent attraction and retention, innovation, operational efficiency, risk mitigation, and capital access.
The intricacies of starting a social business can be challenging. Here are 5 core strategies to get you started.
- Develop a unique concept for your product
The more specific and grounded you can be about what you want to do and how you will do it - ideally in ways that haven't been done before - the more unique your social enterprise will be.
Here are some helpful exercises: Grab a pad of Post-It notes and write on each note a word related to what your social enterprise is trying to accomplish. Move the notes around in different combinations and stick them on walls or windows where they will be easy to see.
In the days or weeks to come, continue adjusting your sticky notes, keeping in mind what you want to accomplish, who you want to help, and how you can do all of that uniquely since only you can do that within your own niche of social media.
Consider ways you can contribute value to the efforts of others already working in the field you're entering, perhaps collaboratively, if you are not able to stand out from the crowd.
- Listen and connect
You should always put your customers and community first. Listen to what they have to say and reach out to them. You're offering a solution to a problem specific to those participating and supporting your social business, so keep in touch with them. The feedback you receive here will help you out!
If you want to get customer feedback, you need to keep these things in mind:
- You should make it easy for your clients to reach out to you through social media, email, phone calls, or feedback forms on your website.
- Customer service can feel like their complaint is being shot into the void when people reach out and don't hear anything from them. Companies need to engage with their customers and show them they care about what they have to say. This builds relationships with consumers as well.
- Try to reach a resolution together after listening to a complaint or concern.
- Look for ways to improve your product or business based on feedback.
- Community building
Get your customers, employees, vendors, and collaborators involved in the entire process to spread awareness about a social cause. As a result, each participant will feel that their time and money were well spent and that their contribution mattered. You should strive to build a strong community that revolves around the good of your business as your goal in this venture.
Make sure you hire the right minds that align with your social objectives. Your brand's image starts on the inside, and it works its way out.
Sharing is the best way to grow a cause and community. Whether through social media or their platforms, encouraging members to share their experiences is paramount.
- Make a business plan
Social entrepreneurship is a way for businesses to help others and find success by developing a strong business plan to support their mission. While making a profit is an important goal of yours, understanding how to manage a business efficiently will set you up for success and your outreach goals.
Being passionate is great, but being organized and business-savvy will help you create more impact. Take advantage of your unique strengths, knowledge, and experiences to think creatively.
In order to get started, you must consider three things: classification, funding, and management.
For-profit or non-profit?
You need to decide whether your organization is non-profit or for-profit. There are pros and cons to each, but you need to choose the one that best suits your business goals and the structure of your team.
- Social businesses that are non-profits can accept grants, offer tax deductions to donors, and have their operations tax-exempt.
- For-profit Social businesses, on the other hand, can accept equity investments and generate income without limits, but they cannot offer tax deductions to donors or accept grants.
Social entrepreneurs typically opt for non-profit status because for-profits retain profits while non-profits invest all profits into the business.
The budget may not be there for you to start your social business from scratch, and that's okay! Many grassroots organizations are humble beginnings. To build professional relationships, you may be able to get involved with local businesses and events. You've got a great start when you combine social media marketing with crowdfunding.
A social entrepreneur may seek funding through crowdfunding, a popular and well-known method. Although crowdfunding takes many forms, the gist remains the same: Individuals or organizations invest or donate to projects, often in exchange for a potential profit. Since social media is the primary platform for sharing information about social causes, crowdfunding is a great option for supporting a social business.
You can also engage directly with your target market and get to know them.
Most of your primary funds will come from fundraising and donations, and if your company is a non-profit, then grants will also be available. You can earn money through product sales, sponsorships, and corporate contributions. Find out what works best for your social enterprise!
Balancing the books
A social enterprise requires a balance between philanthropy and business management. It is especially important to stay on top of your finances if you are a small business that relies heavily on donations and outside funding to give back to the community.
Accounting software makes balancing your books easy, fast, and secure. You can manage invoices and generate financial reports so you can make smarter business decisions—which means you can spend less time on accounting and more time on growing your business.
- Get the word out
Make sales by marketing your social enterprise. There are a variety of ways to do this, including:
- Using social media to promote your products and share mission updates is a great way to stay connected with your target social issue and share updates on your mission.
- Tell your brand's story through blog posts, infographics, and videos. Create content that inspires people to rally to your cause.
- Make the social issue and brand more visible by organizing community events and fundraisers.
- Contact local news channels, online blogs, and influencers with a carefully crafted pitch. Talk about your mission and the work of the people you are trying to help.
- Engage compatible organizations in collaboration
Launch your business without worrying about being ‘big’ or ‘perfect.’ Instead, raise enough money to launch a proof-of-concept product in the market.
Having a larger impact can be achieved by partnering with companies and organizations that share the same mentality as you do. People will support as soon as impact initiatives gain traction and prove to work. If you join other local and sometimes national companies for the same cause, you can make an incredible donation or organize an incredible fundraiser.
By partnering with another organization, you can raise funds and allocate resources creatively.
Business with an impact
The world's biggest social and environmental problems are not solved overnight. But by taking a purpose-driven approach to business, companies can make a difference.
There is a need for social impact businesses. Social businesses usually fill the gaps left by traditional businesses, governmental agencies, and conventional non-profits when solving social and environmental problems.
By offering volunteer training and employment opportunities to socially excluded people, these organizations are more nimble and can experiment with innovative solutions.
Moreover, social enterprises are often focused on local communities. They offer solutions that consider the culture, environment, and social dynamics of participants and beneficiaries.
Focusing on local solutions makes them more likely to retain and reinvest their profits into the local economy, empowering disenfranchised populations.