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Here's What You Need to Know Before Starting a Social Business

Updated on March 7, 2018
Angelique Moss profile image

Angelique is a London-based entrepreneur, writer, and traveller. Her cup of tea includes business, finance, health, media, art and politics.

While some people are born for business and the world of finance, others get into entrepreneurship to help save for a better tomorrow and today. Money is big in entrepreneurship if the business succeeds in its chosen sector. For others though, a business can do a lot of things other than making money as social entrepreneurs have proven time and time again that everyone can make a difference in the world with enough effort and perseverance.

Social entrepreneurs are individuals who kickstart businesses with the goal of solving community problems in mind, says Investopedia. Businesses by these individuals vary in sizes depending on the problem they want to solve. There are entrepreneurs who aim to solve a city-wide problem, and there are those who choose to help solve problems on a bigger scale.

The common thinking is that there’s very little money in social businesses and some even believe that entrepreneurs lose more than they earn. That’s not true at all: 45 percent of the social enterprises in the United States have a revenue below $250,000 while 22 percent have a revenue over $2 million.

Entrepreneurs-Journey says there is a way to generate profit while making a difference, and like with standard businesses, the key to high revenues is through success.

Social entrepreneurs want to do good, but that doesn’t mean they are able to do so immediately. There are people who want to social business as soon as possible but have no means to do so financially.

For a headstart on a financial aspect, what some entrepreneurs would do is start a profit-oriented business first. Once that business has become successful with a steady stream of income, then the entrepreneur can incorporate a social element to his or her budding enterprise.

It’s important to choose one specific problem to tackle instead of trying to solve several issues at once. Not only will this cost a lot more, the target audience will fail to see exactly what the advocacy of the company is. To get people onboard, it’s imperative to help them understand what the primary goal of the entrepreneur is.

A social enterprise is still a business, not  charity work.
A social enterprise is still a business, not charity work.

The key to success is understanding the problem

The best social entrepreneurs have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to their approach to doing good. According to Forbes, social entrepreneurs share a few things in common when it comes to how they make sure their purpose stay clear and their business afloat.

One of the common grounds they share is that they all focus on one problem instead of trying to tackle several minor ones. As an added tip, it would be wise for a budding social entrepreneur to find his or her own niche first. They must first see a problem that they can relate to and want to help solve in their own ways. This ensures that they will be passionate about their stint from beginning to end.

Quardean Lewis-Allen, for example, created Made in Brownsville to help alleviate the number of youth-related crimes and help increase employment in his hometown. Growing up in Brownsville, New York, Quardean was a witness to how the youth are led astray through crimes and joblessness so it was easy for him to relate his business to his purpose.

Getting into a social enterprise is a lot of hard work. There are a lot of things to consider first before starting one but what’s important is that entrepreneurs' hearts are in the right place, and they have a clear idea of what they want to achieve exactly.


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    • mczarnec profile image

      Mike Czarnecki 

      12 months ago from Pennsylvania

      This article calls to mind a concept in which Professor Michael Porter of HBS has been advocating. He co-wrote a paper with Mark Kramer called Creating Shared Value. The concept is that business can solve societal problems and make a profit. In essence, they address Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and take it a step further into a sustainable business. Very similar to what you have outlined in this article.


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