Your business may either be new, or you may be transitioning in some way from a more "traditional" business, with no focus on social impact, to one where social impact and business health through profit are more equal.
If so, you have a clean slate, with tremendous opportunities to grow your social impact business.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
ENGAGEMENT OF PEOPLE MOST AFFECTED BY THE PROBLEM
The first area where you struggle is in engaging the people most affected by the problem you seek to solve. You likely understand in theory that your very business survival depends on your ability to deeply understand the problem from the perspective of those you serve, and on your ability to understand how your solution fits into their context. But you may be unsure of how to practically develop strong and trusting relationships with the people most affected by the problem. This puts at risk your ability to adapt your solution to the experiences of the people who are experiencing the problem and may ultimately mean you will not create positive social impact.
By strengthening this area of your work, over time you will develop mutual trust and ensure your solution is contextually appropriate and is solving the problem. This translates into creating positive social impact and is the foundation for a strong social enterprise, which in turn will result in greater access to capital.
The second area in which you struggle is in Actionable Measurement, a term coined by the Gates Foundation. You either do not yet collect data that you can use to improve your business or do not know how the data you have can be used to improve your business. This will put you at risk of not being able to improve and adapt your solution to the inevitable changes that occur in the context of the problem you are seeking to solve.
The good news: As you develop strong and respectful relationships with the people most affected by the problem, you will be able to more quickly identify culturally respectful data collection methods and keep focused on building trust through your data collection activities. You can then improve your solution, and ensure your business is on the pathway to creating social impact and profit.
COMMUNICATING YOUR SOCIAL IMPACT
The final area where you struggle is in communicating your social impact. You may be communicating the number of people served through your business, but not the number of people whose lives have been positively changed through the support of your business. You may also not be telling compelling stories of individuals positively affected by your business. This may result in lack of customer loyalty, lack of excitement about your brand, or cynicism about the impact your business might be having.
The good news: As you work on the first two areas, you will quickly gain stories of positive change, and you also will have the foundation of respect you need to communicate it effectively. This will result in increased customer and investor interest, and ultimately in greater profitability and social impact.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP
If you'd like to explore how you could further increase your social impact, sign up for your complimentary consultation here. In this 45-minute strategy call, I'll help you identify specific actions you can take to increase your social impact.
START LEARNING MORE
You will receive helpful articles in your email over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, head on over to this article on actionable measurement.