Increasing awareness around corporate scandals and murky supply chains has led to a rise in what is known as conscious consumption – a term used to describe when concerns about the origins of products affect the ways consumers shop.
It’s no surprise then that customers across all markets respond well to social enterprise (SE). And according to Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK: “Such a business model is inherently efficient.”
He said: “This way of running a business resonates with generations both young and old and so we are observing significant startup activity. This is where high-percentage growth is most achievable. Good product, price, people, accompanied with an effective route to market should normally bring success. Being able to communicate concisely what your social impact is all about is the cherry on the SE cake.”
Read more about social entrepreneurship and sustainability:
- Why should we encourage young people to think sustainably?
- Social entrepreneurs demand more recognition from companies and investors
- Five social business trends companies can’t afford to ignore
This may be easier said than done given that SEs are judged on far more than the average firm – we’re entering a “prove to me” era and consumer expectations are boundless. But after speaking to leaders in the sector, we unveil a few tips that could help your business.
For Hill Holt Wood CEO Steven Donagain success is the combination of multiple small achievements and income streams.
“Should conditions change in one aspect, another area of the business can grow and support it,” he explained. “You need a strong leadership with keen imagination and a bold streak to identify and commit to these new income streams, with a talented and enthusiastic workforce to turn ideas into reality.”
The Linconshire-based charity’s net assets are worth £1.1m, with the company being held accountable to the community via a volunteer board. And every year it creates a self-assessment report to ensure it is working in accordance to its aims and objectives.
“This performance is critical to our reputation,” Donagain said. “We need to be making a strong surplus just as traditional businesses need to make profit, yet our credibility and the goodwill we enjoy from our customers and funding is reliant on how we use our surplus.”