Generosity in the World of Entrepreneurship – Week 8

Entrepreneurship and the business realm are no exceptions to the opportunities of generosity. Perhaps many of us think that giving charitably is something that is best done on a personal level, in our personal lives. Although I would very much echo this sentiment, I believe that creating a link between our personal and entrepreneurial worlds with a central vision of “doing good” can be a powerful thing. Of course, anyone can take the profits that they make from a business and turn that into philanthropy – but for the purposes of this article we will focus on a different method of doing good. This involves weaving sustainability and social causes into the very fabric of our business, and not just doing so frivolously but profitably.

Doing good can still be profitable

And in many cases, we should aim for the goal of profitability while doing social good with our businesses. Granted, our profits may come in the form of long-term benefits to our business, but they will come all the same. Additionally, the meaning of the term “profit” should be modified when used in this sense to include achieving greater benefit than capitals expended. This is because long term benefits cannot always be easily quantifiable since the benefit matures at an unknown time in the future. Taking this a step further, we can see that doing going may require us to calculate in good faith that a benefit will happen in the future with a reasonable level of certainty.

What are some ways to transform into a social entrepreneur?

  1. Solve a (social) problem that you care about. Few things would be worse than trying to solve a problem that you had no interest in solving. Instead, find a problem that is dear to your heart. What problem in the world out there breaks your heart when you hear about it on the news, makes you uncomfortable or “itch”? Writing in an article on Forbes, environmental activist Bren Smith states, “Usually if something makes you itch, there will be others who feel the same way. If those people are easy to find, you’re on to something.”
  2. Revisit your company mission statement and make it clear. Sophi Tranchell, the CEO of a socially responsible chocolate company, tells aspiring social entrepreneurs that “The mission must remind all your staff and partners why they are doing this work. It should encompass the benefit(s) you want to deliver, the people you will be impacting, and how you’re going to accomplish it.”
  3. Partner with other businesses (and people) who care about the same thing. “Not only will established enterprises have potentially helpful connections for you and your business– they can include you in their supply chains and you may in turn inspire them to adopt social entrepreneurial practices within their own company as well” says Sahar Wahbeh in an article on Entrepreneur. Strategic partnerships like this can rapidly quicken the process and impact of your venture when dealing with social issues.

In conclusion, let’s remember that social entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be complicated. It is simply making the world a better place through your entrepreneurial efforts, which, granted, it could be argued that any business that makes a profit does this since they are providing for their employees. Social entrepreneurship simply takes the good that a company does and puts it on center stage for all to see, with a special focus on those social actions the company is committed to. But remember, the benefits of social entrepreneurship aren’t simply enjoyed by your business and other businesses. You will personally be rewarded for your efforts, sooner or later. As successful entrepreneur and social entrepreneur Steven Schussler writes in his book It’s a Jungle in There, “When you invest your time, energy, or money in serving others, you will gain great dividends in your own life.”


Sources:

Harrison, Kate (2016). 7 Tips For Success For Social Entrepreneurs. Forbes.com. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2016/07/26/7-tips-for-success-for-social-entrepreneurs/#7b1ad09820e9

Shussler, Steven (2010). It’s a Jungle in There. Newyork, NY: Sterling Publishing

Smith, Bren (2014). 7 Tips For Being A Successful Social Entrepreneur. Forbes.com. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2014/09/23/7-tips-for-being-a-successful-social-entrepreneur/#29c7f777a3c1

Wahbeh, Sahar (2015). Five Tips On Becoming A Successful Social Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur.com. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246821

What did you think? Leave some feedback! :)

5 thoughts on “Generosity in the World of Entrepreneurship – Week 8

  1. Austin,
    Great post on how to move from an entrepreneurship mindset to a social entrepreneur mindset. Very useful suggestions. In today’s business climate, there seems to be an unsaid expectation that companies will do good on some level.
    Cece

  2. Enjoyed your post.
    Sharing and serving your business success with other social entrepreneurs will highlight your success between you and your employees, without expectation of return. Pay it forward, way to maintain relationship with community and businesses.

    Mary

  3. Austin,

    Great post on generosity, I too believe it is beneficial to combine your sustainability and social causes in business. I like your ideas to transform your business into social entrepreneurship. This seems like expand business, get involved with the community, and do good.

    Thanks,
    Mackensie

  4. #1 really speaks to me and, while it is not why I chose entrepreneurship, it is exactly what inspires me to keep going. I see too many windows of opportunity to do good in this world and give back to society outside of a corporate 9-5 setting. My only hope is that this kind of attitude inspires others to do the same.

  5. Great article! I like how you pointed out that we should join force with others and solve a problem together. I agree! We’ve already built an amazing networking circle, and I bet some of those connections care about the same things you care about. Join forces and tackle the problem together with each of your expertise you can really make a big difference. I love to think of it as “team work makes the dream work”!

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