Category Archives: Business
In the next stage of life, there were friends and mentors who showed us the right path and helped us in decision making and choosing the best career. Then we went to our professional life and met team members, who equally put their efforts to help us achieve our targets. So, how can one claim that he or she achieved their goals all alone? It is not possible to make a success story all by yourself. People need people in every stage of their life.
Even in entrepreneurship to attain your goal, most important element you required is “team “. You cannot get through all obstacles and hardships single-handedly. There should be people who can support you. There should be mentors who guide you to familiarize with right solutions and to tell you the best strategies.
As we all know that in Pakistan there are thousands of people who are unemployed. Students after completing their graduation or post-graduation seek career opportunities. One way to help the people to gain maximum benefit from the workforce is to endorse startups and entrepreneurship as a job-creating tool. This solution has mostly been overlooked. According to a survey, there are 220 million people in Pakistan and there are almost 40% unemployment from educated people. Unemployment is actually creating so many issues around the globe.
Actually there three kinds of people in the world:
They all start with ‘u’ and ‘u’ means really ‘you’ and you should explore the social entrepreneurship and learn from unemployable to become one so all grow together and live peacefully.
If you want to achieve something in your life, if you want to attain your strategies then follow the rule: ‘Stay foolish and stay hungry’. Be stupid in your ideas and be hungry for learning. Try each and every idea that come to your mind and do experiments so you can get the best solution. Be hungry in learning from the best people around the globe. Learn from everywhere and from each kind of people to gain maximum knowledge in your mind bucket. So when you start your own startup as a social entrepreneur you have the maximum and tremendous solution to do things right.
In social entrepreneurship, you take a small portion of what you are doing and giving it back to society. It feels so satisfying to fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues alongside making a profit too. It goes side by side. You can say the two-way profit creating theory. One for yourself and the other for society. It is the finest way to start your dream as a social entrepreneur. When you start at this age of your life, you would be young and capable enough of making right things happened. This could be the time when all your capacities to create an impact would be at peak. You can better serve your society than you can serve later and by actually making money too.
In the case of acceptable definitions of sustainable entrepreneurship, where reference is made to the common good, I would like to clarify that sustainable entrepreneurship cannot and should not be about establishing some kind of social common good, as in a communal framework associated with planned economies such as the former Soviet Union, East Germany, Cuba, Venezuela and Socialists African counties. It is an oxymoron to do so. In contrast, the common good in a free market context, is about job creation which produces disposal income which begets increased demand for goods and services. This then is accompanied by a multiplier effect that allows a dollar to flow through the economy something like 2 times or more, which further begets additional demand for goods and services, which further increases disposal income, resulting in increased corporate revenue for re-investment, capital accumulation, and business growth. This compound economic activity produces increased state and federal corporate and personal income tax revenue, which allows for infrastructure investment in public works such as roads, bridges, railways, dams, and national lands like parks, wetlands, mountain ranges, and the like.
Rather, in my view, sustainable entrepreneurship is the process of sustaining a level of entrepreneurial development as to create a paradigm shift in economic activity such that national GDP, job growth, capital investment, technology advancement, and quality of life is unmatched, unsurpassed and unequalled. I realize this seems a bit altruistic and sounds like I am talking about Utopia. But I am not. We can and should strive through local, state and national efforts to seek to establish an economic mentality that is strategically focused on entrepreneurship and authentic organic economic growth at the community level across America. We can and should incorporate the concept of sustainability into the free market consciousness and allow the consummate entrepreneur, who seeks wealth creation within a tremendous risk-reward environment, through sustained invention and innovation, to achieve success. We can least forget that it was, has and will be entrepreneurial development that made our country great. We need so more of that now.
Connection. Development work is sometimes a lonely job. You work almost round the clock, you meet various obstacles along the way, and you meet difficult people, too. The pressure can be daunting and you may want to give up if you cannot air your problems and your situation to somebody who can understand your predicament. With a network, you can ask other people about their own experiences. You can trade stories and lessons learned from your entrepreneurship journey.
Relationships. As you grow your social enterprise, you will need important relationships. You can find friends, mentors and coaches through a social enterprise network. These people will constitute your inner circle and they can help you achieve your goals. The interesting thing in becoming part of the network is the access to relationships that could be mutually beneficial. You contribute your ideas and your thoughts while you get the same thing from others. As you continue to enrich each other, the network becomes better and you end up becoming a topnotch entrepreneur.
Network and Referrals. As you meet more people, you will discover more suppliers that can give you better prices and quality. You can also ask for recommendations and referrals so that you can contact suppliers and vendors in your line of work. When you approach people, you might be surprised at their willingness to help you succeed. Just be courteous and never engage in any unethical behavior or solicitation in your network.
Empowerment. This is perhaps the best reason for you to join a social enterprise network. You can receive training and empowerment. You will meet new people. As you interact with them, you become more effective as an entrepreneur and you understand the things you need to do to make your social enterprise successful.
You don’t have to go through the journey alone. There are countless people like you who need guidance and assistance. Still, there are people who have already gone through the same process and are willing to help beginners. Look for a social enterprise network today and see your growth go sky-high.
Identify the topics you want covered. When you know your objectives and you have set the theme, you can easily identify the topics that will be covered in the conference. If your target audiences are newbies, then you can come up with introductory courses or talks that would help them launch their social enterprises. If they are already veterans in the field, then offer new ways for them to improve and learn something new.
Look for speakers. Based on your topic, look for the speakers who can really motivate and help your participants grow as social entrepreneurs. Track record is important so that the participants will know that your conference is one of the best out there. Theory is great, but seeing it in practice is even better.
Arrange the venue. Look for a suitable venue for your conference. This will depend on the size of your audience. Will you need breakout rooms? Workshop area? A place for networking and chatting? What is your budget? Take these things into account as you look for the venue.
Secure vendors and providers. Look for those who will provide food, materials, and other things you will need for the conference. Don’t just settle for cheap price. Rather, look for reasonable, yet quality rates. If you just settle for cheap, you may save money but the feedback for your conference may also be cheapened. Some people are willing to pay extra for the amenities that they can enjoy.
Scout for sponsors. A lot of people are willing to support your endeavor. You just need to look for them and engage them. Tell them about your project. Let them know how they can help. You will be surprised at their willingness to give a helping hand.
Promote. Lastly, don’t forget to promote your conference like crazy! Ask members of the media to cover your event, let them know why you are doing it. Tell them of the impact of this social entrepreneurship conference.
All these and more is happening at a time when our world is at its peak in terms of cross-border connectivity, exposure to and awareness of international issues and most importantly, technological advancements that we take so much of pride and obsession in.
Creativity, innovation, wealth creation and accumulation, fund-raising efforts, number of NGOs and ‘social enterprises’ and educational standards are apparently all at their pinnacles.
We have never been, as global citizens, in a better position to reduce social, environmental and economic problems around us. So why than, is the exact reverse taking place?
Entrepreneurship has a larger role to play today than it did ever before. I do not mean entrepreneurship only in the sense of a process of starting an innovative start-up but rather a set of life skills as well.
You see there is plenty of entrepreneurship being talked about and even practiced in the sense that we commonly know of. In September 2010 alone, 4600 over companies were registered in Singapore with 74% having a share capital of below $10,000. Tech-based firms with innovative offerings remain the preferred choice of angel investors, government linked funding and even business plan competition wins.
But entrepreneurship must go deeper than all of that to serve its true purpose and to really help us create a better world. Entrepreneurship for a better world is about 3 key aspects – values, skills and platforms.
Entrepreneurial education and exposure will nurture our youths with entrepreneurial values such as passion, perseverance, innovation, integrity and social responsibility. Such values, when embedded into their hearts, minds and spirits will nurture an entire generation that will be passionate about giving, sharing and succeeding. It will enable our youths to deal with failures, overcome barriers, spot opportunities and become survivors. They will become a generation that will be more preoccupied with creating solutions rather than re-emphasizing problems. They will be a generation that will ask ‘how can I make this possible” rather than finding reasons for “why this is impossible”.
Entrepreneurship will also equip and empower as many individuals in our society as possible with the relevant skills necessary to progress. Skills such as communications, relationships management, financial literacy and computer literacy to name a few. Members of societies will be able to leverage on these skills to move forward, to break out of their poverty cycle or help those around them to live more complete lives.
Businesses must be built on the foundations and principles of entrepreneurship so that they can provide safe and sustainable platforms. They must empower those within their reach to take their first step. They must play the role of the parent that buys the bicycle, provides the support for the child to get onto that bicycle and gives that initial push and even hand holding until the child is confident and competent enough to ride on his own. They should be able to create opportunities for those in their communities, show them the avenues and channels and convince them that it is alright for them to step out of their non-ideal comfort zones and take those first steps towards positive change.
1. Socially we are moving from Ownership to Sharing: If you closely look at these companies, they neither offer any technology for you to use nor they offer direct services. The delightful experiences are delivered by someone who is sharing the goods and services with you. This is helping people to move from full ownership to a sharing model thus opening up to unknown set of people from across the globe. This mode of sharing can’t be seen as selling as the provider of services is letting you be a part of something that they completely own & probably use as part of their daily lives. The more people share more they grow & more they grow the more they share. This way we are moving from I & you to we & us leading to a harmonized happy world. This is the foundation of the new direction and a paradigm shift that is leading a new way of life – a Social Change.
2.We are trusting the unknown: Every time you consume a service through the shared economy model you trust the unknown. Yes there are reviews about the services you are planning to consume but you have to trust reviews from people whom you don’t know and hence it is trusting the unknown. Consumers from one part of the globe are trusting people from another part of the globe – which they may have never visited. Imagine this – you have planned a holiday trip in Chicago and will be travelling from the comforts of your home in Colombo. You have booked a room through Airbnb and know nothing about your host in Chicago. The only source of information are some of the great reviews about the host. You still go ahead, complete a great stay with the host and give them 5 star reviews. This is really happening and happening all around the world at a pace faster than your reading speed. Phenomenal. We as a Society are willing to trust more & take more risks to become global citizens. Looking more optimistically, this model of mutual respect & trust is succeeding more than the traditional model of consumption. This ability to trust the unknown is challenging well established brands. It is making them innovate and win consumer’s trust on the basis of improved services or value or else they clearly face extinction. We are sharing more, we are also caring more and we are now trusting more as a Society.
3. We are embracing change: When you opt for services through the Shared Economy model you are moving from the traditional set up to a completely new model of consumption. The old models are more mature and it’s easy to go with the old and trusted way of doing things but the world is embracing this change. If the growth of companies like Uber or Airbnb is any indicator then it’s clear that world is moving almost in one direction and that is to move from traditional system to a new age model. When you look at leading surveys you will find that Airbnb is booking more rooms than Hilton or Uber operates in more than 250 cities and has better market valuation when compared to many leading Airlines in the world. This is not a surprise at all. With proliferation of mobile connectivity & internet we will see this change being embraced by a larger population thus ensuring a deeper & more significant impact on the society.
An efficient social enterprise field can help drive successfully operating them towards better growth and sustainability. It is a common responsibility of investors, funders, public and the government to encourage efficient social enterprise by implementing practices and policies that create a collaborative environment.
Social enterprise is an extensively practiced method that intends to create a highly sustainable and just world. And in order to fulfill this objective an alliance works with dedication to build an efficient social enterprise field. The alliance creates its customers based on a number of criteria. They could be the starting entrepreneurs who seek knowledge and inspiration to launch such an endeavor. The customers could also be coming up or middle stage practitioners who are looking for ways and information for best practices. They could also come from the pool of advanced practitioners of established organizations who seek opportunities to connect with peers and who want to impact public support and awareness for this type of service.
The second pool of customers for social enterprise alliance include social capital investors and funders who seek knowledge about best practices in order to empower their investment strategies with information, and those who look for connections with other investors and grant makers. Customers can also be selected from advisors, policy-makers, researchers and educators, consultants and intermediaries.
The public awareness about the impact and value of this endeavor keeps increasing. The awareness for this kind of service is in the form of a method for developing a sustainable and just world. Social enterprise alliance gives a number of operational advantages to entrepreneurs who are socially motivated – they learn and adopt social entrepreneurship as a way of promoting their social objectives. The alliance makes it easy for entrepreneurs, whether for profit or non-profit, to create, operate and sustain their enterprise. It helps them to learn about opportunities, resources and capital, and about available technical assistance. Social enterprise supports itself by the social and business climate, and the public policy.
Understanding Social entrepreneurship. Any organization or foundation needs to understand what social entrepreneurship is all about. For one, it is about addressing social problems and issues. The entrepreneur identifies these problems and uses his imagination to come up with solutions to the problems. When the solutions are arrived at, he then looks at various ways to make the solution sustainable. That’s what a social enterprise is for. Any development program for this kind of entrepreneurship needs to include several things.
Creativity. It’s not only about thinking out of the box. The students of this program should learn how to use new lenses look at problems from different perspectives. This way, they can avoid the “tried and tested” formula of solving problems. If students would just allow their imagination to soar, there are a lot of solutions to the problems of the world. The challenge is to look at them in a different way until a solution is found.
Innovative problem solving. This is the natural outgrowth of creativity. Problems will not go away by themselves. They have to be identified and solved. Yet, the solutions should also be sustainable so that the solution will still stand even after several years.
Networking. Given the interconnectedness of the world today, it is impossible to miss out on the importance of connecting with other like-minded people. Networking is an essential component of entrepreneurship precisely because one person may not have the tools and the needed experience to implement everything. With a good network, an entrepreneur will be able to come up with resources and support group that will help him implement his vision.
Mobilizing people. This includes recruiting and motivating people to implement the entrepreneur’s vision. One of the biggest challenges of companies is looking for the right people. That’s why every entrepreneur needs to know how to recognize the right talents, as well as the right team for the tasks at hand.
What are you most passionate about in the world? (What social issue are you trying to solve?) Don’t limit it to your social business idea. Just list all the things out that you are thinking. This is a crucial component for a social business entrepreneur, what social matters are you most passionate about solving? What makes you most angry when you hear about it? write them out.
Now rate them. What are your top two? Once you do this it will give you more clarity into what the social business should really be focusing on.
What are you best at in the world? Or another way to say it, what do you love achieving most in the globe? This will structure the way the corporation is run. It may even adjust the whole direction of the your social business idea. Are you best at speaking, networking, writing, selling, talking, connecting with people, administration?
What drives your economic engine? (Or if you are a non-profit, in his book Good to Great in the Social Sector, Collins says this circle can be changed to How can we develop a sustainable resource engine to deliver superior performance relative to our mission). What is your business model? How are you going to make money from this venture. you’ve clarified the one biggest passion or social problem you want to overcome. you’ve stated out what you are best at in the world (how you are going to personally solve the social problem). And additionally, how you can make money, in the best way, through your socially impacting idea.
From time to time there are aspects of our ideas that we hold extremely tightly to for no reason. Which items in your social enterprise idea are non-negotiables? What utterly makes the business? What definitely HAS to be there?
If you believe it really is important then WHY? Does it align with what you are most passionate about, what your best at, or your business model? If not, then maybe it shouldn’t be there. OPA Model – Tony Robbins Now that you have done that you should have quite a bit more clarity already. Now let’s take it one step further. By the end of this, hopefully you’ll have a specific set of action items to take away and do.
OPA – Outcome / Result, Purpose, Actions
Outcome: Write out the final outcome. Try to be very specific. Don’t just say, I want to help feed orphans. Say:
My Business is going to clothe orphans all over the globe; beginning with India. I will do this through selling my own distinctive designed t-shirts and donating one shirt for everyone purchased. These shirts will be sold in boutique clothing retailers starting in Texas, and growing from there.
This is merely a quick example off the top of my head. It should overlap what you came up with in the Hedgehog principle above.
Purpose: List out 10-15 reasons WHY you are doing this.
Actions: Brainstorm as many action items you can think of that you need to do. From the biggest to the smallest. Many of them will be big projects in themselves with their own set of action items. For example, you might have:
- Call John to see about the price of buying product x from him.
- Create a business plan
- Create a website
- Start blogging regularly
- Meet with x about possible partnership
Obviously calling John is a one step process. Nevertheless, generating a business plan is a large project within itself. Similarly, designing a website is a project with several action items to finish. Don’t worry about this for now. Later on, after you have finished this whole exercise. You should go through each of these, pick out the projects and do another OPA framework for that. Rate each item on its importance. Go through each item, pick out the bigger projects and create another OPA for it.
People can smell a phony from a mile away. Consumers know if you are just doing lip service, or if you are really real.
Check it in yourself first: Are you really earnest? Is it something you are enthusiastic about or are you just doing it to try to build a competitive advantage?
Be authentic. Get passionate about an area and work to make a authentic change in that area through your social enterprise.
Tell a Your Story:
“Hi I’m Joe from xyz travel company, We are a full service online accommodation provider, offering hotels, cottages, and villas. We focus on customer satisfaction and fulfillment.” BLAH BLAH!!
“Hi I’m Justin from Ethic! Travel. We offer top quality hotel and vacation rentals online. But we are more than that. With every booking we donate a portion of profit to help build homes for someone in need. So you can have a vacation and make a difference!”
This is one of the important elements to Tom’s Shoes success. Someone says, “hey check out my shoes, and guess what, whenever you buy a pair another pair goes to someone without in a third world country. Isn’t that cool?”
That’s effective word of mouth advertising! It’s something people want to share with their friends and co-workers.
Choose the right platform:
If you want to contest with the big boys you have to find the best approach and platform to share your story. There ARE people in the market who will LOVE what you do and be incredibly passionate about it. It’s your job to be on the platforms where they are looking for something like you!
Find which platform would fit best with your organization (your culture, social mission, strategy, etc.)
- Micro Blogs (Twitter, Facebook, etc)
- Online Networking groups
- Offline networking groups
- Rotary club, toastmaster, EO Group, etc.
There are many more platforms, and much has been written on them. Just Google it and you will find plenty about marketing platforms you can use.
Find the best platform or combo of platforms that fit your brand to communicate your message.
Market Your Product or Service Too:
I know this should be simple, but you would be shocked; I have seen a number of social businesses that when you look on their twitter, blogs, or other marketing attempts ONLY talk about their cause. Remember, you are selling a product or service too. People are not JUST going to buy from you because you do good. You must offer an exceptional product or service, as well as a social mission.
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