Investigate business incubators and be prepared to embrace constant change are among Zack Rosenberg’s top tips…
What’s great about this generation is the strong belief that business can and should be done differently. We’ve lived through decades of business models that were profitable, but too often at the expense of quality or compassion. What folks such as Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, and the late Paul Newman, founder of Newman’s Own, have proven is that businesses can meet financial goals as well as have a positive, social impact.
But how to know if your idea for a social venture is a good one, or if you are the right person to make it happen? Sometimes that realisation comes unexpectedly. My turning point took place in a meeting between a large global corporation and a social media executive. They were discussing ways to capitalise on the loopholes that helped them avoid paying taxes and pour profits into another business venture. I knew then that I could no longer devote my time and energy to furthering their cause. I was determined to develop a business model that could generate profits but also make a difference in the world. That was the start of DoGoodBuyUs.
If you have an idea or philosophy about creating a for-profit business where you can do well and do good, here are five important tips to get you headed in the right direction:
1) Three approaches to building a platform
Unlike a traditional business that is structured solely for profit, social entrepreneurs can choose one of these three methods for integrating giving back into their business: a) donate a percentage of company profits b) affiliate with a cause, community, and/or charity and develop a product or service that will raise money and c) fundraise and share in the upside.
2) Understand the role of benefit corporations and business incubators
In the past few years, numerous organisations have developed to help make social entrepreneurship more accessible and successful. They can be a source of financial support as well as provide mentorship and guidance. Incubators such as The Unreasonable Institute, Civic Ventures, Conscious Labs and hundreds of others are springing up. Investigate and make yourself known.