Sustainable entrepreneurship isn't the Holy Grail. But the way to get there is through building a network of investors, mentors, and other stakeholders. So where can you start? Here are three tips to help you build your investor network as a social founder with no prior experience.
Social founders don't establish startups with the intention of becoming billionaires, that's just not the point.
However, they can still get their hands on some serious amounts of money by building a network of investors and partners. But before you say "but I can't sell my product, I'm a social founder", here are things that you should know about being an entrepreneur without selling your soul to venture capital and being able to tap into a huge amount of startup funding.
Here is the story of a social founder who had a dream — to develop and support social projects with sustainability at the core. He had been dreaming of doing this for years, but never took action; as he doubted his abilities.
I really encourage you to read about Adam Long and see how you as a social founder can defeat self-doubt, boosting your confidence to go out there and make an impact.
Long story short, as part of Fishburner's Tech for Good accelerator program, he was telling us his story which he was impacted by the fact that children in rural Philipines do not go to school.
He was wondering what was the reason and asked the school principles. The principal responded that parents do not value education and you need to convince them.
On a mission, Adam asked parents why they do not send their children to school? Parents responded: children do not want to go to school, they rather stay at home.
So he went to a local 8 years old girl and asked her: why you do not go to school?
She responded: The toilets are broken at school.
The takeaway from the story is that asking the right questions is so important and also, a very small improvement can lead to a big change.
Now going back to our subject, my suggestion is to think about these subjects deeply before you start your journey as a social entrepreneur.
Are you a problem solver?
Successful social ventures are driven by a vision that brings together the resources and mechanics for a successful business and purposefully solves global problems with creative solutions.
Yet, setting up these organizations is a multi-faceted challenge that affects many aspects of society including politics, economics, and culture.
The lack of experience combined with an unprecedented amount of available capital leads to many social entrepreneurs jumping into creating projects without due diligence — and much of their time devoted to creating a successful venture is wasted.
You must become a grandmaster to break down all steps in the process from the very beginning to help you build your own venture with both long-term success and impact in mind.
If you are a person that shies away from problems, you need to rethink your choices.
Problems vs. opportunities
Chanel Visionary Karl Lagerfeld once said: "Never forget – your only limitation is your imagination."
While he's probably most well known for his eponymous clothing brand, his fortune came from savvy investments. There are a lot of investors searching for the next big venture that will go viral and turn a profit, but there aren't many investment opportunities out there for social enterprises focused on sustainable development. But with some creativity, it may not be as difficult to secure funding as you'd think.
While your venture might not be sexy for investors, you need to have a look at this as an opportunity.
In your case, things will not become worst!
It always improves.
Build a community
Fabrique is a start-up that uses social media to connect people who want to invest in companies with the ventures they wish to back. Fabrique has been cited by Y Combinator and the major players in social media. Forbes Magazine listed Fabrique at number 1 in its list of finance start-ups. It's all possible because of you our community, we have a legion of followers on Twitter, Facebook, and on our forum.
Do not underestimate an engaged community.
You may lose your startup, but people will follow you everywhere.
There's something special about social entrepreneurship.
It is a special place where business and impact meet each other.
The idea of doing business to change the world has been going viral like never before. There are billions of entrepreneurs everywhere who have the passion or vision on changing the world and solving important societal problems.
You are one of the millions that are trying to do the same.
The nature of a business is to create revenue and profits, but the definition of social entrepreneurship goes further than that.
A social entrepreneur generates revenues for the creation of a greater good or solves some sort of a problem.
This definition applies to social businesses, and ventures aimed at creating solutions for societal problems using entrepreneurial techniques. Such businesses generally follow certain rules to create goods or services, solve problems and make a profit at the same time.
At the same time, money equals impact.
Do not be shy to ask for sales aggressively.
Feel free to reach out to me to discuss your go-to-market strategy.