As business owners we rarely consider the two terms “social” and “business” in the same body of thought, never mind using them in the same sentence. We split our social lives from our professional lives pretty distinctly. After all, we all know better than mixing work and play. However, the term “social” can mean a little more than catching up with friends. It can also refer to society as a whole. Here are a few ways that you can use your skills in business to help people rather than simply make profit.
What is Social Business?
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus coined the term “social business” in his books which have largely been published since 2009. In short, it is a non-dividend company that is created to address and resolve some sort of social problem. Essentially, your company holds the power and potential to do good in the world rather than simply serving as a tool to make a profit. While you won’t make any loss (you can gradually recoup the amount of money that you have invested in the project), you won’t make any money on top of that. This would be something that you invest your time and effort into for the sake of others and their happiness and wellbeing. Any profit that is gained should be invested directly back into the company to expand its reach, spread awareness and fund its campaigns. Sectors that people are often invested in can include poverty, housing, healthcare, education, environment, climate urgency… the list goes on and on. Wherever people, animals, or the environment need help, there’s space for a social business.
When to Start a Social Business
When it comes to helping others, anytime is a great time to get started. However, there tend to be two times when it is ideal to start one of these types of business. As you are not going to be making a profit, you need to only consider this kind of venture when you’re pretty stable financially.
During Your Studies
If you’re a student in receipt of a student loan and grants of some sort, you will not have to worry about your rent and bills. If you are studying an online business related degree, such as an online msc finance course, you will have much more control over the hours that you study. This means that if you are sufficiently organised, you can use your time wisely to balance your studies and the operation of your social business. Remember that the business only has to be small-scale at first. This can also serve as a good practical use of what you are learning, as you can implement the knowledge that you gain in each study session in a real-life business situation.
Once Your For-Profit Business is Stable
If you have already established your own for-profit business, it’s probably best to focus your energy or efforts on its success. Setting up a business is time-consuming, and you can quickly see it fall into problems or debt if you don’t devote your full attention to it. However, once things are going smoothly, you can then continue onto establishing a social business as a side project.
There are constant opportunities to do a little good in the world, and for those of us who are business-minded, the creation of a social business could be a project which will allow us to truly help others and improve their lives!
Founder Dinis Guarda
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