3 Questions You Should Answer Before Starting A Social Enterprise
So you want to start a social enterprise? First of all, good for you! It takes a special sort of courage to start your own business, and if you’re seriously thinking about being an entrepreneur, that is inspiring. But before you go out and ask your bank for a small business loan, make sure you’ve carefully thought about the following questions. Your answers will predetermine, at least partly, the strength of your business and will hopefully lead you on the path to success!
01 | DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY NEED WHAT I'M GIVING?
There’s a reason you don’t see any social enterprises dedicated to giving iPhones to children around the world. Before you start your own business, it's important to make sure that your company is founded on providing something that people require -- whether that's food, water, education, or even jobs. Finally, make sure whatever you're doing is not disruptive to local economies, but rather, complementary. We chose to focus on food because millions of children lack this basic necessity and that doesn’t sit too well with us. What are you going to give?
02 | AM I PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PRODUCT AND THE CAUSE?
The cliché, in a lot of ways, is true: If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Running a young social enterprise can be hard, and if you don’t firmly believe in your mission, your product, and yourself, it’s going to be even harder. Try to minimize the “work” you have to do by forming your business around a cause that drives you. Our work days revolve around two of our passions: delicious fruit and nut bars and fighting worldwide malnutrition. It’s a pretty sweet gig.
03 | HOW AM I GOING TO MAKE A REAL, MEASURABLE IMPACT?
Before you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, be sure you have the giving side of your business thoroughly planned. When we were at the refugee camp in Liberia that inspired this crazy dream of ours, we were constantly told that they simply did not receive enough food aid. While it wasn’t realistic for us to be able to produce and deliver Plumpy’Nut ourselves, we also knew that we could still help malnourished children receive the treatment they need. That’s why we joined up with our giving partners -- organizations with well-established networks and proven histories of real, positive impact (like Action Against Hunger) -- to assist and amplify their efforts against malnutrition. This way, we ensure that the people we want to help actually receive the aid they need while also adding a great deal of transparency and trust to our business.
Now that you’ve given some serious thought to your social enterprise, get out there and change the world!
FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, remarkable people and organizations inspire us, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight human interest stories, global initiatives, innovation, community development, and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe
Editorial Collaborator: This Bar Saves Lives Founders join Conscious with a monthly column to share their ideas about creating a social enterprise. Read our interview with This Bar here and follow the monthly column here.