Grow your socent” they said. “Should be your biggest goal” they said. “Nonsense” I say!
Obviously, growth is important to any business.
No need to state the obvious as to why.
But, for social enterprises, why is it seen as the number one goal priority?
Surely being sustainable and delivering impact should come first?
After all, that is what separates us from being solely for profit.
I talk a lot about impact led strategies – where the focus is on delivering as much impact as possible and identifying how you can prevent a problem occurring rather than just intervening afterwards.
To me, that’s the beauty of social enterprises – the core passion and desire being to do good.
And it’s for that reason I just don’t see why a sole growth goal is always right, because, in blunt terms, your impact plan should be to solve the problem then close.
“But what about long-term employment for those who work in the social enterprise, Heidi?”
I hear you, but, unless your socent was set up to tackle the unemployment crisis, then that’s not your priority.
And I see this all the time. Social entrepreneurs chasing the wrong priority.
This leads to most social enterprises getting lost in a cycle of chasing more funding, creating new jobs and posts, and then running around like headless chickens trying to keep all those people in jobs rather than identifying if they’re actually having an impact.
Honestly? It’s one of the reasons why the charity sector gets such a hard time.
They receive billions annually in donations, but, for a large portion, can’t actually show what impact they’ve had by using those donations.
As social enterprises, it’s so very easy to fall into the trap, too – looking at growth as utopia, forgetting what our ultimate goal is and why we set up in the first place, and ultimately what change we want to see in the world.
Look, I know this opinion is divisive. I understand that. But, it comes from a place of focus. A place of helping you understand what, as the brilliant social entrepreneur you are, your core focus should be.
So, to wrap this up, I’d love you to consider these questions…
What is your ultimate goal?
How much of your activity/delivery is focused on achieving this ultimate goal and reducing the problem?
And finally, how could you increase the proportion of your activity that is focused on prevention rather than intervention, and have more long-term impact?
If that’s resonated with you, then I invite you to reach out and talk to me.
I specialise in impact-led strategies for social enterprises – which as a CIC, is my mission to aid other socents with the knowledge and support to do this.
It all starts with a hello.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org today and let’s get the conversation started.