When we think of a Social Enterprise the word ‘issue’ only seems to appear when considering the Social issue the Enterprise helps to address. We never really stop to think about the issues that could arise during your Social Enterprise journey.
Today I want to address three key issues which can get in the way of your Social Enterprise. I started my Social Enterprise journey 30+ years ago now, so I have had experience facing these tough issues. That is why I am here to share my experience with you, as well as lend you a hand if needs be.
When I first launched my first Social Enterprise, it was an uphill struggle to grow the enterprise, keep focused and motivated. I did all these without having a mentor by my side or support network to learn on. In the beginning, it was a very lonely path to walk. I promised myself that, if I was ever in a situation where I could help other likeminded people to feel less alone on their journey, I would extend my hand and walk with them on their path.
Whether it’s me, your friends, customers or family, we all need a support network whom we can lean on. In the sense of customers, you may not talk to them about ideas or ask for advice, but by them purchasing your product or service, they are supporting you.
Being scared of your dreams is not uncommon. You have these goals in your head, but you have no idea how to accomplish it, or you feel as though your dream is too big.
When you first start your Social Enterprise, a question might pop into your mind ‘who will buy my products or service anyway?’ This doubt can cause you to devalue yourself and can make you feel as though your Social Enterprise is not worth it.
For me, it all boils down to the support you have. Feeling isolated, feeling scared and feeling like you can’t obtain clients, boils down to your support network. When Social Entrepreneurs tell me they are facing these issues I ask them the same questions:
- Why are you feeling isolated?
- Why are you scared?
- Who are you getting your support from?
I could sit here and tell you that it mainly comes from coaches and mentors, but sometimes support can come from strange places. In your team, your staff, even your babysitter. Support can come from the most unlikely places.
This support can make you feel less scared, less isolated and much more confident in your value. Even your customers can be your biggest supporters. As previously mentioned, you might not go to your customers with your problems, but they support you through their purchases.
This is also why, when entrepreneurs come to me asking where to get new clients, I say ‘what about your existing/old clients?’ You can go back to your old/current supporters to find out what their next needs are. In my experience, I always spend time nurturing my old clients and I find that these people already trust me, support me and know me so they are more likely to make another purchase.
Building meaningful relationships can help you address each of these issues.