The entrepreneurship process for any social venture typically follows the algorithm:
Scaling is a process of internal and external growth of the enterprise. Once you have set up and launched a successful organization, you should start thinking about the next step and how to maximize your impact even further. Scaling includes:
Growing your impact is not always as simple as increasing the level of operations or volume of production of goods and services. Not always the increase in those activities leads to increase in impact.
Moreover, there are many directions in which the enterprise can grow. For example, it could expand the geographic scope (work on different places) or expand the demographic scope (reaching different people).
It can also means diversifying the output with new products and services. Those approaches will lead to the expand of the breadth and depth of the impact.
Expanding the venture can happen in different ways:
New social enterprises can grow by increasing the number of users or buyers, by developing more and more widely available outlets, offices or units. This is the most common way of growing a new social enterprise. It is a form of organic growth built on existing assets, staff and skills. Key challenges include more efficient use of resources while maintaining high product quality.
Diversification implies using various resources and activities to produce a large range of products and services. This approach leads to both- corporate growth and a competitive advantage.
Developing new products takes time and dedication. They have to comply to the same quality standards as the products/services that are already being produced by the company. Diversity must be included as a part of the development vision, but sometimes the resources (either material, human or technology) may not allow rapid expansion via diversification.
The social venture can maximize their impact by optimizing the distribution and the delivery channels that are currently in use. May be the production of goods and services is at a satisfactory level, but it still cannot reach all needed users for some reason or another. The case of Aravind eye care hospital demonstrates the classic example how important is to reach people in the remote, rural areas (via mobile hospitals) who otherwise won’t be able to have access to blind treatment and surgeries. In order to maximize the distribution, the following steps should be taken:
The main techniques for maximizing deliveries are three:
To maximize the social impact means to cover the community needs of growth and to create an appetite for novelties and changes. The main techniques for maximizing impact are three:
Expanding also includes moving outside the venture into partnerships with others. You alone are not able to reach the entire spectrum of change that you are aiming at. The first step towards collective impact is stepping back and inviting others. Example of expanding the impact externally are creating network to lobby or advocate for social policy, or make business associations with other companies. Other way to achieve this is by franchising your activities to others, providing them with know-how and resources to do what you do.
Franchising is a system through which goods, technologies and services are distributed on the market. It is implemented through close and continuous cooperation between entrepreneurs – the franchisee and the franchisee. The entrepreneur gives the recipients the right and at the same time assigns them the obligation to run their businesses according to its concept.
Know-how is derived from the English “I know how to do it!”.
In general, know-how refers to knowledge and experience in the field of technology or other creative asset that can be applied by an authorized and knowledgeable team or individual.
The possession of know-how can gain economic advantages over competitors. Know-how is provided through the necessary documentation and training.
Staff training is also a widely used method of conveying know-how. Typically, this method is used when a specific practical experience is provided and when personnel need to acquire certain production habits and skills.
In some cases, the know-how is a subject to licensing and legal protection.
The franchiser is the originator of the franchise network, consisting of the franchiser and the various franchisees, and is their long-term leader. The franchiser provides training to the franchisees.
The obligations of the franchiser are to develop a concept based on at least one pilot enterprise. The franchisee is a legal user of a company name and the organizational specifics.
The franchisee has obligations to work on the development of its franchising enterprise. It has to protect the collective interests as well as the good name of the franchise network.
New businesses can increase their social impact and grow if they form exclusive partnerships with other organizations. Those partnerships could have various forms and models of collaboration. For example, in the case of affiliation, the originator company retains its features almost entirely, while the affiliates keep their autonomy only in terms of internal work and recruitment.
Adoption by the government is another way to take a successful social venture and apply it at a much larger scale. The independent enterprise can demonstrate best practice in a certain area. The government can facilitate adoption of these practices and innovations for a widespread implementation.
Influencing the way things are done outside your venture, can be viewed as an ultimate step of scaling your impact. This include setting new trends and changing the behaviour of users and other stakeholders and building an advocacy platform to induce more changes even on legislative level. You may join forces with other stakeholders to lobby for policy changes or for allocation of resources on a larger societal level. Creating and disseminating knowledge is another way to spread information, ideas and know-how.
New social enterprises can increase their impact in the community by training other organizations and improving product quality. This may be part of officially accredited courses or more specific courses offered for a specific topic by the social enterprise team itself.
The exchange of knowledge through networks can be informal as well as formalized. This include organizing forums that bring together decision makers and other stakeholders and publishing findings, results and viewpoints. It is also a way of sharing good practices.
Social enterprises can use their resources and experience to provide open-source materials – manuals, guides, visualizations and other training materials. This can reach a large number of organizations.
Growing the social venture presents an opportunity, but also a set of threats and is not always the best decision. Actually, growing too fast can lead you off track, presenting risks of bureaucracy, inefficiencies and increased distance between management and end frontline (employers, community, volunteers, end users. Expanding also sometimes put the quality of work at risk, resulting in long-term reductions. Growing can also strain the resources and jeopardize the viability of the enterprise, thus decreasing the chance of success. It is of an extreme importance to distinguish whether the moment is good for growth, or consolidation might be a better tactic.
Finally, the growth does not signify more impact. For example, reaching more people or producing more volume output does not necessary mean that your goals are better met, or that the changes in the societies are for good.
Source: Chahine, 2016
Christine Clifford: Selling the Invisible: Four Keys To Selling Services: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HdA924aqbM
Answer the question: What are the three reasons why people would buy/include/use your product or service?
What kind of groups will you include in your research to understand the customers’ attitude to your product/service? Describe the groups and justify your choice.
Jenifer Willing: How Can “Traditional” Business Use Partnerships to Scale and Create Social Impact? http://youtu.be/fOprCKDHPks
What/Who inspires you? Describe this phenomenon/personality.
Which of its/her/his qualities do you possess? Make a list.
Identify and study other entrepreneurs and organizations that are working in the business field that you are interested in. Explore their products and services. Make lists of the most useful and useless components of products / services.
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