By Traci Shoblom
Do you have what it takes to be a social entrepreneur? A lot of people talk about the things they’d like to see changed in the world. But not everyone does it.
There are six things that social entrepreneurs have in common.
First, they saw something wrong in the world and they got upset enough to want to solve the problem.
Next, they want to break free from the usual way of doing things. They understand that the problem still exists because the old way of doing things didn’t work. Social entrepreneurs are really good at coming up with creative solutions to problems.
They’re also really flexible. It’s been said that 90% of successful businesses start out with the wrong business plan. The plan is just that—a plan. It’s not written in stone. Social entrepreneurs are willing to make changes to their plans in order to achieve their goals.
Social entrepreneurs are really good at bringing different kinds of people together. They join together with others who have different ideas, experiences, and skills so that they can create a new kind of business.
Also, they aren’t in it for the money. Social entrepreneurs aren’t trying to become billionaires. They’re trying to solve billions of problems or restore justice to society. It’s about what’s right and wrong instead of making money for personal gain.
Finally, social entrepreneurs believe in their cause with a passion. They eat, breathe, and sleep their business. They get so excited about solving their problem that they get other people excited about it too. It’s hard to resist joining together with someone who has a passion for change and is able to convince others that they, too, can make a difference.
Starting a social enterprise requires the same skills and has the same challenges as starting any other kind of business. But your passion for solving social problems and your skills will keep you going through the tough times.
Now it’s time to try out your idea. If you want to get other people to invest in your business, it’s a good idea to show them that your idea works. This might mean making a simple example of your product or service—to show how it works.
After you demonstrate that your idea can work, you need show it to the people who have what you need for the business. This can be money or other resources. It involves doing some marketing and sales as well as meeting people who have the things you need in order to launch your business.
Get Social–and Change the World
Pretty much every day you hear news stories about things that are wrong with the world. People who have to drink water from dirty rivers. Kids being killed for just wanting to go to school. Animals being abused and neglected.
It seems like everywhere you turn, there are more and more problems to solve. It’s pretty overwhelming. You start to wonder, can one person really make a difference? Don’t you need money to solve the problems in the world?
The answer to both questions is, yes. Yes, one person can make a difference. And, yes, you need money to solve the problems in the world.
The good news is that one person—almost ANY person who has passion and persistence—can start a business that can change the world.
It used to be that business was all just about making money. And charities were about helping solve the world’s problems but didn’t focus on making money. But business didn’t really do much charity and charities didn’t really consider themselves business. Traditional business and charity were two completely different things with two different goals.
But did you know that there is a DIFFERENT kind of business called a social enterprise? It’s a business that is formed to help solve a social problem—but is still a regular business that offers goods and services. A social enterprise blends the best of both worlds—it’s intended to be a business that makes money but also solves a social problem.
And, there is a DIFFERENT kind of business person, too. A social entrepreneur is a person who starts a social enterprise so that they change something in the world that they see needs changing.