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6 Steps to Build a Business with Positive Social Impact [+ Examples]
Social impact and business outcomes are closer than you may think.
They’re interdependent – they cannot exist without one another. Businesses must exist within societies, and they necessarily respond and provide for what the community needs. Likewise, society relies on companies to fill all kinds of needs that fall outside of the public sector.
Regardless of the nature of your business, you need to consider how your business is affecting the local community. A commitment to social responsibility has contributed to the success of many companies, especially in recent years, because they provide services that are useful and important to society.
It’s not just about doing good work, although that is wonderful – it’s about building a truly sustainable business model.
Social impact can vary from the relationship between the company and stakeholders, to how workers are treated, and how your products or services affect lives. It can extend to supply chains and sustainable development overseas, and takes into account your environmental impact.
As a business owner, you need to make a social impact assessment of your business to know what things to do to create a positive impact and create social change.
Here are six things a business owner needs to do as to build a sustainable business that has a positive impact on society.
1. Research an idea
There is no way you can build a business without fully understanding what your customers want. You need to understand what society demands. What are the urgent problems your products can solve?
For example, you can’t be selling refrigerators in a town without electricity.
You need to analyse your market and come up with a good business idea. You can do your research in the form of a survey, asking people various questions about what affects their lives the most in society.
The more problems your business can address, the more sustainable and prosperous it becomes. You can research what issues the community is going through. This will make room for a more effective solution.
You can also seek the help of other experts to help you out in structuring your idea. You need a carefully planned approach to create a positive impact on society with your business.
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2. Put people first
The human mind is one of the most powerful assets of any business. Think about it: this article you are reading right now was written by a human being somewhere that you don’t know. But you are reading it because it will possibly add value to your business. And the outcome of your business, positive or negative, will affect your mind.
When it comes to building a business with a positive social effect, first realise that you are surrounded by human beings with emotions and start creating a connection with them. We are not robots – we each have a mind of our own. The people around you can also think.
Be it your team, your customers, your family, or your friends; you need to start putting people first. This is why some business experts advise that you sell a product that you can buy personally. Every human being is a genius in different fields. Start putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, listen to the voices and minds around you, gather inspiration from people’s opinions and your business will turn around positively.
3. Don’t be afraid to promote your cause
After you have carried out the proper research, and you have come up with an idea, the next step is to start promoting your cause. This can make some business owners worry about what the community will say or how people might react. Don’t let fear hold you back. Your voice needs to be heard.
You need to market your cause so that you can impact the lives of the people surrounding you. Take the bold step of launching your cause and start inviting your friends and colleagues. Network to as many other businesses as you can and look for more support.
Start addressing the smallest problems in your community, such as the homeless guy Tom wearing the same old shoes, people begging, and so on. Promote awareness and reach out to as many people as you can, with the following methods:
Use social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to promote your mission and build a community. Here’s the lowdown on Social Media Marketing.
Post it on your organisation’s website.
Start sending out emails to your subscribers with weekly updates.
Document with photos
Share photos on various sites like Instagram & Flickr. Is it time to brush up on your photography skills?
Just take one step to promote your cause today, and you will see a positive turnaround.
When people see that you are willing to help them solve their problems, they start joining hands with you.
4. Build a community that cares
Businesses built around a social goal can help attract an audience that believes in the same belief. For example, rubbish removal companies can position themselves to help reduce illegal dumping, an issue that affects both the environment but local communities.
There are many underlying problems that the government is not paying attention to; you can position yourself and a few others to take care of these problems for the community. For instance, you may be able to provide a technology platform for a health care service that will allow people in regional areas to access advice from nurses on small health issues – so they don’t have to spend lots of time and money visiting doctors far away.
You can start making small donations within your team and start pursuing these goals. When people see that you are willing to help them solve their problems, they start joining hands with you. Set yourself as an excellent example to society.
Instead of doing it for the instant reward, put in your best efforts and make it your goal to create a better community. In the long run, people will be motivated by your actions and give you a helping hand. Just make people see the good in you.
5. Work with a range of charities
There are various non-profit organisations and charities out there with the same goal as yours to help create a better society. You should start connecting with these organisations.
There are people out there who feel the need to make a difference and give back to their communities, which allows you to meet different people with different stories. It makes you feel more connected with your society. You get to know the things you don’t know before about your community.
The most important aspect is that you get to touch and impact people’s lives more effectively. When you work with people that share your passion and goal, your objectives are simplified, and you can quickly achieve your social goals.
6. Don’t forget about financial sustainability
Creating a positive social impact is important, but there is little you can do if you don’t have enough money. The effort is not sufficient as inadequate funds can delay your goals. Aside from the donations and contributions from people, you need to figure out a way to make profits, even though making profits is not your primary goal. That’s where the concept of social enterprise comes in – a business that sets social impact as its central aim, rather than generating profit for profit’s sake.
You need to carefully plan your expenses such as money you spend on marketing, manufacturing, and buying your products, and other activities. This saves you from debt, and if you can easily repair and replace damaged materials, you can even reach out to more people effectively. This will go a long way in sustaining your business and helping you solve future problems for society.
Building a business with a positive social impact can come with various challenges and roadblocks. Still, with the proper mindset, preparation, focus, and determination, you can realise your social goals and make a difference.
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