Food for thought
We have collected a series of questions (FAQ) and comments in bullet points which might help you with your impact business ideas, compiled by Alessandra Schmidt, SINE co-founder. Take a look!
Am I a social entrepreneur? How relevant is my idea for social development? Should I be part of SINE?
These are very aggregated questions- unpacking them, you might ask yourself:
- What is your understanding of a social and environmental fair society?
- What is the relationship between practice vs theory of your impact business idea, social and environmentally speaking?
- What is this ‘something else’ beyond profit in businesses?
- How much more profit-driven societies are going to be in the near future? (use your imagination to understand conflicts and tensions)
- What are SINE values and how (if) do they relate to you and your business idea?
- Which are the other existing sources of knowledge you might consider (e.g. B Corporations)? SINE Mentors can support you with contacts and networks worldwide.
- How are you and your idea aware of power relations (privileged positions)? SINE Mentors can support you with reflections regarding this topic.
- Are you and your idea recognizing differences and being inclusive?
- Is your idea searching for ways to end poverty or reduce inequalities? Are you searching for ‘equality of what’?
- Is your idea looking for enhancing citizen’s empowerment (agency,) social diversity (gender, race, age, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, and so on)?
- Note: it’s not only about you and your self-development as a social entrepreneur. It’s about your idea, principles and outcomes!
Will my idea face competition (substitute product/services) soon?
- Think in perspective in which everything is a loop in relation to the impact you aim to achieve and to your learning. Have some type of tool to ‘validate’ the current status of your idea and mitigate risks. Even if things do not go how you are expecting, you might still be in the desired direction, if you build a coherent social impact strategy and keep focused on principles and on a long term impact (structural social change).
What will I be testing as a MVP? Why and how?
- You can find interesting benefits implementing a Concierge MVP, such as:
- Bring focus and accurate social development knowledge to your impact business idea core value (efficiency to the project);
- Reduce rework;
- Create relations with your beneficiaries as soon as possible and start building trust;
- Bring focus to the most critical social business bottlenecks.
- Even after testing your first hypothesis, there are still a lot of hypothesis to test! Fix the timing and move on. You might base the solutions on other selected references you already know, maybe with new associations?
- Be clear of what you are trying to find out in your MVP, and Make sure you are focusing on the right question. What I want to find out is…? My hypothesis is…?
Which are the first steps to develop my impact business idea?
- Connect with like-minded (in principals and aspirations) professionals and other social entrepreneurs who can provide you with specific industry and complementary knowledge insights and help you carry out the next stages of your idea.
- You can find interesting benefits implementing a Lean approach, which has basically the following workflow:
- Idea! (investigating)
- Hypothesis (deliberating)
- Experimental Design (creating)
- Experimentation (making)
- Pivot or persevere? (analyzing)
- Pick one subject (defining)
- Experiments disprove ideas (pivot)
- Experiments prove hypothesis (persevere)
- Identify what competences you have and what skills, knowledge, basics frameworks you will require to build a strong and powerful team.
- Identify and test a suitable pricing strategy and resources/financial model. If that means you need to shape your impact business ideas, how shall you start?
- Create a plan for your impact business. It can be a simple Canvas.
What should I essentially find out about my market and target audience? How do my target consumers/beneficiaries behave? How should I target them?
- Map the phases of customer’s discovery of your idea. No need to test the whole model, just choose one key aspect and test an element of the core impact business in relation to your target audience. Try to have a good sample of testing, with quality and quantitative. Be relevant and provide consistent outputs to them. Make different surveys (really investigating). Learn, test, engage with users and measures (quantitative). Collect testimonials from beneficiaries and users. Register many narrative storytelling. Build and share cases (qualitative).
- It is quite a journey! A bit lonely sometimes. Therefore, remember to keep people you admire and trust next to your creativity process. Ask for help! Be open to sincere feedback and for new partnership ideas!
- Remember: it feels better when it is distributed, open source, and shared. :)
Which channels should I use?
- Understand your clients/beneficiaries’ wants and/or needs. You might start going through the distribution process manually, and then decide what and how to do next. As if “you can be the ‘driver’ first”. While testing the channels, team and tools, the main goal is the user learning journey and about experimenting the process. You might follow step by step of one user (put yourself as the person behind the scene providing the service or product). You may realise it must be too difficult to deliver.