A few things I’m teaching students in Business As Mission about how social enterprise has potential to create sustainable impact in the world:
Be Prophetic With Profit
It’s not only okay to create profit it’s essential for sustainability. But be prophetic. This doesn’t just mean telling the future it’s speaking truth over or into something. Create a business and earn a profit. Social enterprise prophetically speaks truth over and into that profit as you direct it to impact others for sustainable good.
Teach A Person Not Just to Fish But to Start a Fishing Business
Many people in need already have a skill. But they don’t have access to the “pond.” One of the most sustainable ways to help someone is to equip them with an entrepreneurial framework for using their skill while pointing them toward sustainable resources.
Excellence In Your Business Lends Credibility To Your Mission
Don’t just create an excellent mission that you communicate well but simultaneously design and implement an excellent product or service. Never build a social enterprise around a half-hearted effort toward a product or service that you use to tug at heart strings because of your mission. Create amazing products and services that will enable you to carry out the impact you desire to see.
Broaden Your Perspective of Stakeholders
All who interact with your business are essentially stakeholders in your mission — customers, employees, those who are part of your supply chain, suppliers, and those you are seeking to help with your mission. Love and serve all with excellence and compassion.
Invite The Consumer To Be Consumed
Customers long to use their consumer buying power to do good. Your social enterprise is inviting the customer to have their need met by a product or service you provide while empowering them to help bring change in the world through a purchase. Make them the hero of the story as they partner in the mission.
Transaction To Transformation
It’s amazing what can happen when you invite a consumer into the mission of your social enterprise. What begins as a transaction can lead to a transformational journey.
Multiplication > Addition
Donations toward a cause are good. Generating a sustainable profit that can keep giving toward that mission is better. A social enterprise has the potential to multiply dollars through sustainable business.
Compassion. Strategy. Sustainability.
Compassion is Good. Compassion + strategy is better. Compassion + strategy + sustainable is life changing.