For those who aspire to make a difference while making money, every social entrepreneurship offers the opportunity to join both pursuits into one goal. A variety of companies, from Toms to Warby Parker, have paved the way for up-and-coming social entrepreneurs to continue to provide quality goods and services while making a difference in the world.
Like many professional tracks, there are certain skills that help to distinguish successful social entrepreneurs.
Finding business opportunities that others miss
One of the skills of every social entrepreneur is to find business opportunities that are overlooked by larger corporations. For example, extending microcredit to women in rural areas, such as was done in Bangladesh, has been shown to increase lending opportunities that were previously not available and improve overall economic activity, ultimately leading to a return on the investment through interest paid on loans that can then be extended to other customers.
In this instance and many others, creating a business opportunity to help those who are traditionally excluded from more available economic opportunities creates greater economic opportunities for all.
Ultimately, social entrepreneurs are operating for-profit businesses but with the intention of providing social or environmental good. Skills such as producing an effective business plan, product testing and marketing that are relevant to other for-profit businesses continue to have relevance, but the emphasis is on applying these attributes to finding economic solutions to global problems.
High emotional intelligence and empathy
The ability to be sensitive to the plight of those less fortunate while connecting with others through high emotional intelligence are critical skill for social entrepreneurs.
These attributes allow social entrepreneurs to recognize those who can most benefit from socially-motivated economic ventures while also identifying how to best form partnerships that can create the greatest improvement.
Finding viable solutions to social and environmental problems is half the battle as a social entrepreneur, and emotional intelligence creates the platform upon which successful entrepreneurial visions can be developed.
Ultimately, emotional intelligence and empathy improve not just relations with the targeted market but improve the attitude and performance of social entrepreneurs themselves.
A greater ability to connect with others facilitates the development of products and services that are viable and functional while achieving real results. Emotional intelligence provides a win-win for all parties involved as social entrepreneurs strive to achieve real change through their projects.
Optimism and Resiliency
Optimism is the ability to see opportunities where others see the failure that propels a plan to enact change and improvement. Social entrepreneurs are intrinsically optimistic in order to create businesses that provide valuable products and services to markets that others have neglected.
In order to be a successful social entrepreneur, one needs an infectious optimism that propels pursuing business ventures that take one into areas previously neglected in order to transform them into fruitful economic hubs.
Similarly, resiliency is the tandem benefit of an optimistic outlook. When encountering diversity, resilient individuals are capable of picking themselves up, recognizing the limitations of their previous approach and finding a new path to success.
Resilience in social entrepreneurship doesn’t just affect the entrepreneur’s outlook on forming a viable business but can become a large-scale phenomenon that can transform a community into a viable business sector.
Whether as rural doctors in Australia or in rural Greek villages rebounding from economic turbulence, resiliency plays a crucial role in finding long-lasting solutions to improve social situations.
Leadership training plays a crucial role in developing a social entrepreneur because of the nuanced approach that social entrepreneurship entails. Rather than promoting the profit-driven incentives that drive most corporations, social entrepreneurship puts social responsibility and impact on par with economic viability.
Thus, social entrepreneurs are leaders who create value-driven, goal-oriented, and change-enabling practices in the corporate sphere. Social entrepreneurs provide long-term visions that seek to empower marginalized groups, particularly women, in an effort to create greater integrity and economic parity for all.
Thus, inspiration plays an important role not just for social entrepreneurs but those they work with. Social entrepreneurs are masters at finding creative incentives to promote productive solutions to create as much change as possible.
Public speaking and motivation
In the vein of inspiration, social entrepreneurs should feel comfortable presenting their ideas to as many people as possible, whether through traditional business pitches or public speaking engagements.
Constantly promoting the values that drive the business is essential to garnering support, improving funding and potentially enlarging markets. Public speaking also helps to maintain morale and vision that can stimulate further developments within and outside the organization.
Ultimately, social entrepreneurs should always be conscious of the impact their business can have and use this purpose to motivate employees, collaborators and sponsors alike to seek greater change.
The tenacity to take direct action
Having the ability to find one’s niche, stay the course, and continue to pursue all opportunities relevant to the project are essential to succeeding as a social entrepreneur. Taking direct action and being involved in the heart of communities seeking economic betterment places social entrepreneurs in an influential role that can affect change while growing as a business.
With tenacity in mind, social entrepreneurs have the ability to continuously seek improvement in operations that can gradually increase the scope and impact of their businesses.
Creativity is inherent to success as a social entrepreneur because many of the decisions and goals inherent to social entrepreneurship are not generally promoted within the world of business.
Presenting an outside-the-box mentality that finds solutions where others find challenges allows one to exploit one’s niche for maximal gain, yielding profit and impact simultaneously. Social entrepreneurs are adept at finding ways to accomplish tasks with minimal resources and inputs and which create successful change for as many people as possible.
Fortunately, these skills are not strictly inherent for those who wish to be social entrepreneurs but are trainable and learnable by anyone wishing to combine social impact and profitability.
As social entrepreneurship continues to gain in popularity, more businesses will continue to embrace the potential growth possibilities available in undervalued markets that also bring demonstrable social impacts. Harnessing the above skills will pave the way for success in the world of social entrepreneurship while providing real impacts throughout the world.