How a business can become a social enterprise

This article was published in the June 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 11 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This particular article discusses eight tactics that businesses can use to introduce social enterprise thinking into their business model. It also sheds light on how businesses can start the journey to become social enterprises.

Develop a brand so it engages your community

This article was published in the May 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 10 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This particular article discusses the value of building a strong “social brand” around which you engage all your stakeholders.

GreenPop, a leading social enterprise that runs campaigns to “green” communities and promote environmental awareness is profiled in this edition.

Collaborate with businesses and give them real value

This article was published in the April 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 9 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This particular article discusses the importance of seeing businesses as potential partners, rather than just a source of funding.

CapaCiti from the Cape Town IT Initiative is profiled in this edition, and its experience collaborating with IT companies to place train and place interns is discussed.

Sell benefits to customers

This article was published in the March 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 8 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This particular article discusses how successful social enterprises ensure that their customers get real value for the goods and services they purchase. This requires investing lots of time and effort in trying to understand their customers’ needs and designing products that genuinely benefit them.

The Clothing Bank is profiled in this edition. This social enterprise is helping hundreds of women to setup small retail businesses. It also helps large retailors to put their excess stock to good use.

Market your successes more than the social problem you’re fighting

This article was published in the February 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 7 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This particular article suggests that organizations should market their successes more than the social or environmental problems they are trying to solve. Donors, impact investors and other partners are attracted to success and want to be part of it. We have all had enough hearing about how bad the world is.

This edition profiles Pat Pillay from LifeCo UnLtd. It discusses how both Pat and his organization has worked hard to build a positive brand in national media.

Don’t just rely on grant funding for your survival

This article was published in the January 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 6 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This article discusses the problem of relying on donations or grant funding for one’s survival. It argues that this short-sighted approach increases risk and limits social impact.

Greater Capital is profiled in this edition. This social enterprise earns 100% of its income from its research and consulting services.

Refine your business model and show value for money

This article was published in the December 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 5 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This article discusses how organizations must be able to demonstrate value for money. In other words, donors, investors and beneficiaries must feel that they are getting a good deal given the price versus the quality social outcomes that are being achieved.

This edition profiles Malcolm Boyd from Our Governance – a social enterprise that has developed an online training programme to improve the governance of non-profit organizations.

Gather evidence to prove your social impact

This article was published in the November 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 4 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This article discusses how too few organizations are able to provide solid evidence of their social or environmental impact. All they can do is explain how busy they have been. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help them to get funding or investment. It also prevents them from innovating.

James House is profiled in this edition. This children’s home in Cape Town is extremely successful at rehabilitating children with severely dysfunctional behavioural patterns. James House’s success in monitoring and evaluating its work is also highlighted.

Define the positive outcomes your enterprise achieves

This article was published in the October 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 3 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This month’s article discusses why it is so important to measure social outcomes. It presents the logic model which describes the relationships between inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes. It also discusses how the measurement of outcomes can help organizations to refine their business models and attract funding and investment.

Josh Cox from Trade-Mark is profiled in this edition. This social enterprise links skilled township tradesman with suburban households in need of their services. This profile discusses how Trade-Mark made a major breakthrough after its started measuring its social outcomes.

Clearly define the purpose of your enterprise

This article was published in the September 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 2 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

When I started in the social sector in 1996, it was common for organizations to have vision and mission statements. These tended to be extremely abstract and provide no strategic focus. It is unfortunate how many organizations wonder through life without a sense of where they’re going. This article discusses the importance of clarity of purpose and the ability to clearly state one’s purpose without using jargon.

This edition also profiles Karen Moss from Steps, and organization that has healed clubfoot in over 8,200 children in Southern Africa since 2005. This organization has incredible clarity of purpose and this clarity has been a building block in its success.

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