A couple days ago, we found a great resource that featured four ways to get ahead as a female social entrepreneur. As the economy becomes increasingly uncertain, social enterprises have become increasingly popular due to their focus on meaning AND money. Here is a paraphrased version of these tips:
1. Get over the “Hero” Complex: While in traditional business practices it is a bit backwards to want to work with competitors, in the social enterprise space, your competitors might be your biggest allies. Sharing similar goals, pushing towards a sustainable future, and facing similar complex and multi-layered challenges, make this natural collaborative relationship. By realizing we are not the one to make the change (“the hero complex”, but part of a bigger movement, social enterprise can be a powerful tool to build the capacity to solve social and environmental problems.In short, competition cannot be the only driver for innovation for social entrepreneurs.
2. “Social Entrepreneur” is JUST a Label: The “social” part of the label does not make you any less of an entrepreneur. In fact, it only aids the extra element of “social returns” to your already expected financial returns. This means following basic economic practices such as ensuring there is a demand and market for what you want to offer. Ensuring this market is the first step before an entrepreneur can consider revolutionizing an industry. “Get over the label and focus on using social value to provide a competitive advantage.”
3. Girl Power: There is strong evidence that women in leadership/executive positions create a higher level of trust and often financial outperform their male counterparts (View this evidence from Magus Consulting). So get over the stereotype of male executives attracting more investors and credibility in the technology sector.
4. Invest in Personal Development: “A compelling mission and a strong business model are only as successful as the strength of the individuals that implement them.” Instead of solely focusing on improving technical skills or market knowledge, don’t forget to ensure there is valuable personal and team development within your organization. A culture that believes in coaching, learning and community will ensure meaningful dialogue and innovative ideas to tackle the challenges of being a start-up.