Rethink Work As a Way to Help Others and Feed Your Passion, Says Jeff Nock Iowa
Social entrepreneurship is the act of founding and operating a successful business that makes a transformative positive change in society. It has been gaining in popularity since social entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work with the Grameen Bank, a business he founded to help eradicate poverty through microlending. “The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many people to rethink their lives and careers to reflect their values and passions. Customers and potential business owners alike want to live in ways that benefit society,” says Jeff Nock Iowa, founder and CEO of Prescient Consulting, LLC. “This makes now a great time to become a social entrepreneur,” he said.
“Social entrepreneurs have big hearts and deep passions, but, they also must have entrepreneurial skills,” says Jeff Nock Iowa. “Entrepreneurs see opportunity and seize it, think creatively, and are determined to do whatever is necessary for their ideas to become reality,” he said. A social entrepreneur has an idea borne out of his or her values and passion, such as feeding the hungry, combating illiteracy, improving infant mortality rates, or combating climate change. To work as a sustainable entity, the idea must be worthwhile, meet company goals, and create sufficient cash flow each period. “Just as with any enterprise, the entrepreneur needs an exceptional strategic plan,” says Jeff Nock Iowa.
The strategic plan should include a mission statement the company’s vision, a study of the landscape including potential competitors and collaborators, a look at the business’s differentiation from other available solutions, a business model, and a marketing plan. A mission statement clearly describes the purpose of the organization in terms of who will be helped and how that will be executed. Research into the current landscape will analyze companies’ themselves instead of profits that already exist while placing the focus on understanding gaps in what is being offered. After the research, an entrepreneur will consider how he or she will offer a different product or service, or offer them in a different and better way. “This involves awareness of the entrepreneur’s own gifts and interests,” says Jeff Nock Iowa.
The business model examines exactly how the organization will make money. “For example, will those who will be the beneficiaries also be the customers, or will they be two different groups of people?” questions Jeff Nock Iowa. Bombas gives one pair of socks to homeless shelters for every pair purchased. This is an example of customers paying for something on behalf of beneficiaries. Microlending businesses, on the other hand, lend directly to the beneficiary who pays interest. The business model also answers questions of how the business will scale up if needed. A good marketing plan is also required. “[It] should clearly define who the target customers are and how to find and sell to them,” says Jeff Nock Iowa.
“The strategic plan also needs to include the metrics by which the entrepreneur will judge success, such as, the social impact (number of people helped/problems solved) and how money is generated and used to accomplish these goals,” says Jeff Nock Iowa.
Finally, the entrepreneur must determine how to obtain the capital needed to start and grow the organization. Many social entrepreneurs start off organically and grow as new funding sources allow. Some use crowdfunding. Another option is high net worth individuals, companies, and organizations that share the same passion for the cause. “Entrepreneurs also need to cultivate a team of partners including lawyers, accountants, consultants, and other business-savvy mentors,” says Jeff Nock Iowa.
About Jeff Nock
Jeff Nock Iowa is an experienced executive and consultant, with a demonstrated history of growing startups, non-profits, and established companies. Jeff Nock Iowa is skilled in business planning, strategic planning, management development, application development, and comprehensive marketing, sales, and presentation development.