Being a social entrepreneur is more about solving social problems. It is not just about creating value for money, but about creating value for many. Developing countries like India are facing a lot of social problems in various fields like a livelihood, health, education, women empowerment, waste management. There are also equal opportunities in these areas.
There are many success stories of social entrepreneurs such as Murugan Arunachalam, known as Padman, Anshu Gupta, CEO and Founder of Goonj, who have done remarkable work. It was not an easy route for them. So whether you are a social entrepreneur or entrepreneur, you need to follow these steps to get where you want to be .
Steps to Become A Social Entrepreneur
Ideas – Every entrepreneurship story starts with an idea. But it is very important to validate that idea. When we talk about social entrepreneurship, it is very important to connect with the community whose problem we are trying to solve. Connect with the community first instead of the problem. Community engagement is very important in understanding a problem in depth and developing some ideas to pull up the roots of social causes.
Product / Service: It is very important to connect people with your product or service. It could be any product to recycle water or waste for reuse or service to empower women. Always try to focus on what smart product you can bring out for solving social problems rather than providing services. Social entrepreneurship is very difficult to sustain with services.
Sustainability: As long as you are working on social entrepreneurship to offer strong services or products for society, keep in mind that it is difficult to generate revenue. So please make sure that how your venture will be before jumping into social entrepreneurship.
Team Building: The most important part of social entrepreneurship is to work with a strong local team who believes in your vision and mission and provides full support.
Company structure: It is very important to decide a structure for your company that you want to build. Also, it will help to find that your venture would be for profit or not for profit. If you have a strong financial background and a good connection with people, then you can go for a non-profit structure. If you don’t have any backup, then I would suggest you always go for profit.
Social impact: Always measure how much value your venture created until now. Also, it is important to know how you are impacting society and bringing positive changes. Otherwise. it will be a failure in the long run if you cannot create a social impact on a large scale. For example, if you are working on women’s empowerment, then it’s your duty to know how many livelihood opportunities you have created through your services or programs.
I would like to share my real-life experience as a Social Entrepreneur and what lessons I have learned. I have mentioned key points to remember before starting any profit or non-profit organization.
Learned Lessons from a Social Entrepreneur
First, before jumping straight into social entrepreneurship or starting any enterprise, you must first have good domain expertise and experience. Then only you can sustain your enterprise, otherwise, it is difficult to last long.
Second, Still mindset of our society doesn’t accept entrepreneurship and appreciate people who are working on social entrepreneurship. That really discourages individuals from working on social entrepreneurship and success stories are less.
Third, depression is a dark side of entrepreneurship because it is a lonely journey and very few people understand it. According to a survey, most entrepreneurs go into a state of depression during their entrepreneurial journey.
Fourth, comparative, competitive environment and corruption are also major road blocks.
Fifth, working alone is always difficult and a home office is not a good idea. I also thought it was a good one, but it would slowly take you into a state of depression. You should have a team and people around you. So you can grow with new ideas and never feel isolated from the world. Being socially active is also necessary for entrepreneurs or social entrepreneurs.
Sixth, psychological mentoring and support systems are very much needed for entrepreneurs. It is a tough journey to take, and most of them are struggling with this. Entrepreneurs cannot open up as fear of society. I think a lot of introspection needs to be done before embarking on the entrepreneurial journey.
Seven, most people start ventures because they got inspired by others’ success stories or their achievements rather than their actual struggle and failure stories. It is good to be inspired by other’s stories, but swot analysis is very important for entrepreneurship.
Eight, Social & Family Perspective matters a lot. Proper family support and another major issue is that it is very important to look for like-minded spouses if you are choosing an entrepreneurial journey. This is very difficult to achieve due to social security and responsibilities in our nation.
Considerably, these are my experiences I have faced as a social entrepreneur. I hope this article will be helpful for you. I recommend that you should decide calmly and prepare yourself enough if you want to be an entrepreneur. Keep your mind positive and body healthy because it reflects you. Always surround with people who support you in every situation.