Social entrepreneurship is an excellent way to profit and change the world at the same time, offering a business model that will be pivotal for many years ahead.
As the world shifts its thinking and consumers are more educated about the products and companies that they give their money to, one of the keys to success in business today is the nurturing of qualities in yourself that are central to social entrepreneurship.
Here are some of the ways you can do that.
Social entrepreneurs are well-known for attacking everyday problems and social issues that have been often overlooked due to their complexity and size. They do this so well because they possess creativity, and foster it in others. By working with a team of people around them that see these social issues as an opportunity for innovation, they can take an idea that may seem far-fetched and turn it into a profit for their business, while accomplishing a significant amount of social good.
Whether the societal issue is education, poverty, health, or the environment, entrepreneurs are at their best when they think outside of the normal realm of solutions and surround themselves with others who feel comfortable expressing their ideas. A great way to think about the creativity of the best entrepreneurs is that they become the person who creates the space for solutions to occur, not just simply reacting to a problem when it arises.
Many CEOs and other business leaders may feel that the learning process can stop once they have reached their company's top tier. That is a fundamental mistake, and those leaders can learn from leadership in social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs are keenly aware that they must continue learning, growing, and adapting their leadership and management skills, as the social issues they wrestle with are also constantly evolving.
Great social entrepreneurs understand that having a solid leadership team and nurturing partnerships with other leaders strengthens them. Surrounding oneself with those who have visions for your company's future as well as for your social focus is a step that leads to more communal problem solving, which ultimately can bring a greater intellectual return and a higher solve rate on difficult problems.
A good temperament is an essential quality for social entrepreneurship. Because social entrepreneurs are looking to tackle global issues like poverty, education, and the environment, they must possess more than just the dogged energy that may have gotten them through their first startup. A charismatic demeanor and understanding of varying types of cultures open up doors for solutions to change the world. Whether asking for donations for a cause or fostering support for a movement, a relatable personality is integral to success.
Temperament can be a unique challenge for entrepreneurs who may not feel naturally charismatic. This can be worked on continuously so that when the time comes to turn on the charm it’s as easy as flipping a light switch.
Since childhood, we have all heard that persistence pays off. That is innately true about social entrepreneurs. While all business owners and CEOs have gotten where they are due to persistence, even they have to level up when embarking on social missions. There will always be pushback on the proposed solution or plan to a social problem, and social entrepreneurs must use that winning temperament to cut through red tape and get over the many other hurdles they face.
Learning to be a diplomat is essential. A leader must communicate vision convincingly to the public, media, investors, and their internal team, even when they find themselves up against opposition. The passion for social entrepreneurship must stoke the fires of persistence. Not only will this get the social entrepreneur through the tough times, but buy-in will occur quicker as more people see the social ent With this approach, the clarity has to be on the plan entrepreneur as truly passionate about its selected cause.
Belief fuels passion. No matter which causes a company has adopted, when the leader is vocal with their strong beliefs there will be a fundamental shift in how customers, investors, and media view both a leader and the company. A company and CEO who care will find themselves with customers who are more loyal to a brand. The company will garner much more support than one that appears to be only about the bottom line.
Having personal passions may be the most important quality a leader can possess. It is essential, though, to know how to harness those passions when there may be too many of them. Many impassioned leaders make the mistake of attempting to fix everything at once. This can strain resources and can make the leader appear disjointed or overly ambitious, which in turn casts a shadow of doubt over the vision. It’s important to keep the passions alive but to selectively choose which ones to set aside momentarily and which to utilize as a tool for success.
Also published here.