Social Enterprises – Top 5 Tips

Published: 20 Mar 2013 By Third Sector Jobs

For some people who are really keen on working in the voluntary sector, some people are taking it upon themselves to set up their own social enterprise. So the question is why would you set up your own enterprise compared to working for a traditional charity? There is usually a very deep and meaningful story behind someone’s desire to pursue this route that has spurred from personal experience. Whatever your reasons, if you are passionate about your cause, the journey is likely to be very rewarding. Here are some tips to help point you in the right direction.

1.     Check Your Numbers and Then Double Check Them

In order for you to continue helping others you need to make sure your business model is going to stand the test of time and not collapse. A very good point to remember is a social enterprise is not a charity. A lot of social enterprises sometimes focus too much on the social aspect of their work which puts the business at risk. The business needs to be profitable and then you will be able to continue helping more and more people.

2.     Create a Business Plan

Business Link are a Government supported helpline so ask them for advice when putting your business plan together. Start by writing a cash flow forecast as this can be the Achilles heel for many new businesses. This is not easy to predict but try to envisage what could go wrong and cost you money; also imagine what could go well and develop your strategies around both these points.

3.     Networking

Networking can be a great tool for social enterprise but for business it can be hit or miss. There are lots of people out there keen to help others so it is vital to tap into those social groups. It helps if the people you network with have experience and the ability to help your cause, this way any business related decisions you make a going to be better.

4.     Seed Funding

Another early decision to get right is where your finances are going to be sourced from, this can be very challenging. If you are able to negotiate a seed fund and you are able to prove how to make your social enterprise sustainable then that is a brilliant start.

5.     Fear Can be Detrimental

This type of venture can be very scary for anyone to take on, but if you are passionate, really believe in the project and the math’s all add up then go for it. This is still a relatively new movement in the charity sector so there are plenty of different ways for you to make your stamp on it and help many people.

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