Anh Thư Lê with her team in a community event
Recently, Diinsider conducted another small scale survey and asked what social entrepreneurs need most in order to sustain their efforts, and our results show besides financial support, business plan development, partnership opportunities rank high. To summarize these needs, what a social entrepreneur needs most (apart from passion), as far as we believe, is the capability to secure all sorts of resources. It does not mean that you must have all of them resources at the beginning, but you have to find all of them as your social enterprise grows. If you would love to hear more, here are a few suggestions:
Business Model Development
Transforming your idea into a business model is the first step of starting a social enterprise. It involves many analysis, from defining a problem, knowing your customer, design your product/service to value proposition and revenue streams. Some analysis may seem deceptively simple, such as defining a problem. Social entrepreneurs usually assume that they know the problem in their communities, because they live there, they know all members of the community. However, what at first seems to be the problem is often merely a symptom of a deeper problem. For instance, deforestation could be a symptom of livelihood, so instead of planting more trees, you may want to offer alternative livelihood to the community.
Knowing your customer involves intensive resource mobilization, as you will need to your target customers to participate in co-designing so that the product/service can suit their tradition and lifestyle best. All these step and analysis require to use professional skills and tools, such as SWOT analysis, business model canvas, focus group study, etc.