As the summer season starts winding down, that old familiar feeling of ‘back-to-school’ creeps in, reminding us to take action and prioritize habits that will aid in our success. Most social entrepreneurs would agree that there is no magic formula to creating lasting impact, but the key to reaching any goal rests with accountability, and Global Impact Hub is here to give you that.
Now just because you’re not going back to school per say, that doesn’t mean you ever stop learning. Check out these back-to-school inspired tips that can help you achieve your goals in building a purpose-driven brand.
1. Be prepared
Whether or not you’ve already put together a business plan or researched your competition, it’s good practice to consistently keep a pulse on all things that may impact the long-term goals for your social enterprise. Be aware of all the risks that may arise both pre- and post-launch, and develop contingency plans to handle them. For example, if you are importing handmade goods from a rural village, having a back-up supplier may serve you well in offsetting any risks posed by local unrest or issues with customs.
2. Go the extra mile
A socially conscious consumer is attracted to you for your mission, but they will return because of how you made them feel. Remember that customer service is a part of a holistic customer experience. It extends beyond the initial interaction, and after the first transaction. As social entrepreneurs often wear multiple hats, it’s not uncommon to neglect this critical piece in building customer loyalty.
One effective way to show your appreciation to your customer base is by collecting email subscriptions to share exclusive offers, promotions and insider access. Not only is this a personal approach to create more meaningful interactions, but it’s also a very affordable and effective marketing tool to get in front of existing customers who are more likely to support you again.
3. Find a Mentor
The right mentor can help guide you through the murky waters of social entrepreneurship, while also being a great connector. This person can be a great sounding board, a source of inspiration, and a well of wisdom, but most importantly, you’ll find someone to be accountable to. At Global Impact Hub, our workshops are led by experts in the space to offer you valuable first-hand experience to support your growth for the future.
4. Use a planner
When you’re in business, getting organized is more than just an option. In fact, improper planning could end up costing you. A planner is just one of many tools to help you manage your overwhelming schedule while also keeping you on track to meeting certain deliverables. For example, if you’re planning a launch date, you will likely want to develop a work-back plan to determine how much runway time is required to complete every task and ensure a seamless launch. Consider using a planner or virtual calendar to extract all the to-do’s from your brain. You’ll feel lighter, trust us.
5. Join a community of change-makers
There are countless benefits to linking up with like-minded social entrepreneurs, one of which is the potential for collaboration and new opportunities. You’ll find comfort in building connections with others navigating the same space as you, who have not only faced similar challenges, but can expose you to unexplored solutions for a clear path forward. Global Impact Hub offers a place to develop supportive relationships with fellow change-makers from around the world, while also providing access to marketing tools and resources.
6. Be flexible to change
While a business plan is a solid starting point to establishing the direction for your social enterprise, it’s important to accept that sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. An idea might look good on paper, but in practice can be more labour intensive to execute than what was initially expected. Adapting to changing customer needs and pivoting your business model is essential for your company to reach its growth potential.
7. Write down your idea of work-life balance
It’s easy to assume that owning your own business will hand you freedom and flexibility to balance work and life responsibilities, but this expectation vs. reality will throw you for a loop unless you clearly define what that ideal looks like. Take a few moments each week to time block both business and pleasure so that you don’t forget to experience the things that bring you the most joy, such as time with family, friends and your favourite past-times. Managing your time effectively will protect you against burn-out and ultimately make you more productive in the long run.
8. Practice patience
Building a business takes time, but building a sustainable social enterprise requires a lot of patience. As passionate, purpose-driven people, the social entrepreneur is eager to see the impact of their work as a measure of their success. It can be frustrating when projections aren’t met, especially in the early years, but this should not discourage you from persisting and adapting to meet your goals. As Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard said, “To do good, you have to do something.”
9. Prepare to find the lessons in failure
There are many factors that can lead to a failed idea, some of which are out of your control. Regardless, there is a lesson to be learned in every experience, be it positive or negative. Prepare to accept each lesson as it comes, but don’t stop trying. Just remember, the world needs more social entrepreneurs like you, and perseverance wins every time.
10. Prime your mind to continue learning
If you solely rely on trial-and-error to learn from your mistakes, you will be outnumbered by mistakes. There is simply too much knowledge to acquire on your own, and innovation waits for no one. Unless you’re an expert in business, being a self-taught entrepreneur will consume you, leaving you little time to change the world with your magic. Invest in your personal and professional growth and development and you will get to where you need to be. Global Impact Hub is a one-stop learning hub for social impact entrepreneurs. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified when we will be kicking off our first round of webinars this Fall.
11. Create a vision board
Distractions are inevitable, but have you ever tried curating your ideal reality? A vision board allows you to do just that. It is a visualization tool that leverages the power of images to realize or manifest your dreams into reality. One study conducted by TD Bank found that 82 percent of small business owners who used a vision board early on in their business accomplished more than half of their goals thus far. Apart from your personal goals, as a social entrepreneur, it’s likely that your objective is to have a positive impact on people and the planet. So when curating your vision board, try and incorporate some visual reminders of your ‘why’ and wish for a better future.
12. Work in an environment aligned with your mission and goals
The social impact journey is a long and often lonely road, but the good news is you don’t have to walk it alone. Your environment can support you in achieving your purpose and accelerate all the great things that you want to do. Global Impact Hub allows social impact entrepreneurs to connect, educate, empower, and amplify diverse voices, all in one place. Visit globalimpacthub.org to learn more, and sign up to reserve your spot when we launch.