Key Steps to Starting a Social-Enterprise Venture
Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter LinkedIn LinkedIn Email Email 0 Comments Comments
Block and Gleason laid out the following key steps in the journey to become a successful social entrepreneur:
1. Start with a common understanding of the basics.
- Mission, vision and core values — The groundwork for social enterprise.
- Internal and external forces — What is motivating your organization to develop earned income?
- Mission and dollar goals — How will you measure success?
- Stakeholder communication — Who are they? What are their concerns? How will you communicate with them?
2. Build an inventory of assets.
- Core competencies — What you do extremely well (e.g., your products and services).
- Physical assets — What you have that is underutilized.
- Technical and knowledge assets — What you know (e.g., training).
- Relationship assets — Who you know that can help with social enterprise (e.g., people with influence and a business background).
3. Set objective evaluation criteria.
- Set parameters to evaluate potential earned income opportunities.
- Narrow the field to serious potential opportunities.
4. Brainstorm opportunities, and leverage your assets into earned income. Some options are:
- Service opportunities — Deliver a service to a market that you currently serve or a new market. An example they shared was a human-services agency that bundles current and new programs for seniors, marketing to their adult children and caregivers.
- Knowledge opportunities — Deliver knowledge to a current or new population. For example, a nonprofit training agency develops training programs for small businesses.
- Product opportunities — Produce or deliver a tangible product. For example, a food bank expands its product line to include non-food items.
- Employment opportunities — Provide direct employment to current or future customers or clients. For example, an agency serving people with disabilities expands its greenhouse program into the organic market, employing the disabled.
- Unrelated venture opportunities — Take advantage of underutilized assets or develop an opportunity unrelated to your asset inventory. An example is an agency that holds an online auction in partnership with a for-profit business.
5. Evaluate opportunities.
- Rank and score the opportunities.
- Use objective criteria.
- Select those with highest initial potential to reach mission and dollar goals.
6. Market research and feasibility.
- First research the customer(s). Is it a case of market push or market pull? What are the trends in the market? Who is your target market? What is its size? Are you targeting buyers or users? What's the buyer motivation? What are the buyer profiles? What features and benefits will you offer them?
- Then research the competition. Is it direct or indirect competition? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competition? How will you compete and differentiate yourself within the market?