Over the last 2 years and more, I have interacted and built rapport with several social entrepreneurs and have come to believe that you belong to a special tribe. You are distinct from the conventional tech or commercial entrepreneurs. This is because you have a virtuous combination of a uber educational pedigree and a passion towards solving complex social problems. This unique trait makes you a harbinger of a socially conscious capitalism movement. Hence, in this article, it is with utmost humility that I make a few submissions on the key areas I think you should focus on in the new year and beyond.
Resolutions For You, The Social Entrepreneur
I. Align your impact with SDGs
You are already aware of the universal framework called the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Aligning with these grand vision statements can help you calibrate your social outcomes with internationally accepted benchmarks and thus standardize reporting. I am not sure if you are doing this already but I believe that if you are working towards a positive social change then following the SDGs is like speaking in one global language of development.
I understand it may be a little inconvenient for you to re-design your impact metrics to suit relevant SDGs but since when have you cared about comfort and convenience. In the article, Storytelling Needs To Follow Impact Reporting Based On SDGs I have given a glimpse into how this can be done.
I urge you to consciously make a pledge of publicly declaring your support towards achieving SDGs most relevant to your impact work.
II. Put yourself out there
I know you love what you do and that preoccupies your mind, in office or outside of it. However your company brand very much needs you. Your personality and personal reputation matters a lot to public awareness about your impact work.
No matter what stage of your startup, when media comes calling make time for interacting with them and provide them with whatever information they need. Don’t shy away from live interviews. You personal prejudices and inhibitions should not hamper you, the brand. Look for opportunities to become a keynote speaker at conferences and seminars. Express and share your opinions on social media. The more you put yourself out there, the more people know about you and your startup and this definitely contributes towards not only getting customers but also investors.
III. Tell stories of impact
I have written many articles on why it is important for you as a founder and entrepreneur to tell human stories of your venture. It does not mean projecting yourself as a rock star or a stellar entrepreneur but someone who is as human as everyone else. You will have to be honest, perceptive and open to be a storyteller.
In the article, Do You Have It In You To Be A ‘Storyteller Founder’? I have explained what it takes to tell a story. It is not only your marketing manager’s job to tell stories about your impact work but also of everyone who represents your organization to external stakeholders. In many ways its like customer-centricity. Isn’t it everyone’s lookout.
Intuitively it also follows that your storytelling should also tell how you are helping achieve SDGs and thus are a part of a global effort. You may or may not be consciously thinking about this but I sincerely believe it is time to think big albeit start small, in the new year. What say?
IV. Inspire others
The fact that you are a social entrepreneur means you are already a star. The world finds you interesting and worth talking about. Take this opportunity and inspire others. B-school students and young professionals will definitely gain from your first hand experience of identifying a social problem and starting up a venture to solve it. Who knows you may find potential employees and co-founders through these interactions.
As a social entrepreneurs you are smart and already an inspiration to many. While your venture occupies you day and night, this new year and beyond I urge you to think about these resolutions and make it better for yourself and others.