Why becoming a social enterprise might be the right choice for your business
In today’s world, it isn’t enough to exist as a business. We are uniquely placed to do more for the world. If we can help those in need in some way, shouldn’t we? It’s great to see, in recent years, how many businesses have taken this responsibility seriously and used their clout to bring equality to their ranks, work ethically, help the environment, and donate to charity.
But there is a step beyond this – a way to be greater. It’s called a ‘social enterprise’ and their entire reason for existing is to help bring about social change. It isn’t about profits for shareholders, but about making a difference in the community.
A few months ago, many would never entertain the idea. But now we’ve seen the importance of working together and fighting for the greater good. We need social enterprises now more than ever. Now isn’t the time to change your entire business, but when this situation is finally put to rest, could changing to a social enterprise be the way to go?
What is a social enterprise?
Well, let’s first ask ourselves what a normal business is. They are focused on making a profit for their owners and/or shareholders. A social enterprise is almost exactly the same, except their profits are put into helping social causes.
They are run as a business is, focused on creating a product or service, it’s just their end goal that is different. They don’t make their money through donations or investments. You will know some examples, such as the Big Issue or the Co-operative. Charities can also be social enterprises, and many have social enterprise elements – just look at their high-street stores. Do note though, not all charities are social enterprises as they receive most of their money through donations.
Why should I be a social enterprise?
There are three main reasons to be a social enterprise: it’s good for the world, it’s good for your image, and it’s good for the soul.
The first point is obvious – it’s the entire reason of a social enterprise. The world can be unfair and unequal, even right on our own doorsteps. You will no doubt have something you care deeply about; if you can change it for the better, shouldn’t you? If everyone was willing to help, even in the smallest way, we could all bring about greater change.
On a business level, it looks good. Consumers and investors alike are looking for companies that put others above themselves. A social enterprise is a step above an ethical company – they’re more selfless. Consumer ideals could sway more towards social enterprises, so this may be the more fruitful choice.
But, beyond all that, doing good makes you feel good. This entire crisis has proven that. How many people have joined together to cheer on the NHS and key workers? Who amongst us has extended a helping hand to someone in need? Humans are inherently good creatures so our businesses should reflect that. The world needs people like that right now – be the change you want to see in the world.
At Big Hand, we’re here to support your in your business endeavour through any challenge. If you want to make a difference, we’ll be by your side to help. If you want to discuss anything, feel free to get in touch on 0161 327 2911. For more information on social enterprises, Social Enterprise UK is a fantastic place to start.