For Impact


How to Run a Social Enterprise in Three (Not So) Easy Steps

Blog | | Tom Suddes

This was an interesting sidebar in Ode magazines article about Social Entrepreneurism. It’s taken from a book called Mission Inc.: The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Enterprise by Kevin Lynch and Julius Walls Jr. I haven’t read it but I just ordered it.

The first of the three (love the number) not so easy steps:

Step 1: Get Better to Get Bigger to do More.

There are overwhelming statistics regarding ‘business failure’ rates. More businesses close their doors than survive, and even more stay small than make it big.

Social enterprises are no different. The authors make a great point: “Of course, social enterprises fail. Because businesses fail.”

They actually talk about the reasons being the same as for other businesses… lack of cash, lousy marketing (I would add no sales), failure to innovate, etc. They add another set of factors (zingers) that can detract from social enterprise success, including unwarranted optimism, failure to cut losses, and belief that the mission will prevail over reality. (That reality, in Covey’s words, translates into No Money. No Mission.)

Read their great stuff about the equally powerful set of factors that are not generally available to traditional businesses. (Compelling market proposition, greater than average chance of attracting great talent, etc.)


(Or in Feller’s speak: SCALE & GROW.)