How to Create Social Impact Before You Become Profitable
By: Shawna Curry | Health Redesigned
We all love the idea of running a business that creates a big social impact. But what does that mean and how do we get there? There’s a ton of buzz words around social impact, social good, and social enterprise, but what do they really mean? Michigan Ross University defines social impact as,
“a significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge.”
Let’s break this down.
What is significant? Significant means it should be worthy of attention, be important or have some sort of meaning. The most common ways to give are by donating time or money. If you are starting your business, every penny counts. Every hour counts. If you’re well established you’ll usually have more money than time. Regardless of how you choose to give, it should hurt a little. And it should mean a lot. At least to you. Before you become profitable, that will likely mean a donation of your time. You can do that by sharing the skills and services that you’re best at.
Find a cause that tugs on your heartstrings and urges you to make a difference. Health Redesigned focuses on tackling health care from a grass roots level. We empower women by giving up our power as the “experts” and allow them to regain control over their health and their life. Our current way of making a significant impact in that space is by donating time to do presentations at events that support women. We strive to make meaningful donations to charities and organizations that matter to us. Ones that are in line with our values.
Creating social impact doesn’t have to become an all consuming part of your business.
It’s easy to say, “I’ll start this when…” Only “when” never happens. We get busy. We forget. It’s not the right time. It’s not a priority. You can incorporate social good into your business in a way that seems manageable to you. Start by identifying a small project you can work on that will support a cause you’re passionate about. Run a fundraising campaign or charitable event for them. Have a volunteer day each year where you give back. Or you could give a small percentage of your profit as a cash donation. These are only a few ways to give. The sky really is the limit on this one. Be creative at looking for other ways that you can give back. Take inspiration from companies outside of your sector.
How do you choose what social good you should be a part of?
It makes sense to support causes that are in line with your brand. Let’s say you’re a tech company who supports starving puppies in Mexico. Awesome cause, but it’s hard to understand what the connection is. Maybe you love puppies and want to save them all, but how does that connect to your business? You may not garner the support you’re looking for. Instead, if you started a scholarship program for students who couldn’t afford to go to IT school, that would be more aligned with your brand.
Since Health Redesigned focuses on empowering women, we look for other ways to do that. Another way that Health Redesigned creates social impact is by supporting or endorsing women led or women run businesses as often as possible. Since most businesses fail in their first five years and only 16% of those businesses are run by women, we want to support them. It’s one way to give another woman a fighting chance to grow their business. It’s a small way we can give back without costing us anything. And it’s an intentional choice that we make when choosing who to work with. This choice is in line with our brand and our goal to empower women.
So how should you get started? And when?
While I’d love to issue a blanket “start today” statement, that may not be wise. There’s a few things you should think about when designing a social impact strategy. Your social good strategy should be well thought out before you implement it. Run it by several people who can offer different perspectives. Have them poke holes in why your good may be bad. Your offering may be well intentioned and at the same time, alienate the people you intended to help. This bad type of media does more harm to your business than good. A well thought out plan will be able to work through those types of kinks before they happen. When in doubt, consult with someone who specializes in social impact strategy. They’ll have all the goods to help you implement a great plan.
Not sure if you need resources?
I’ve cited this in the article so it should be good. Michigan Ross: What is social Impact? https://socialimpact.umich.edu/about/what-is-social-impact
RN, BN, B.Kin, CTI Coach
Shawna has made her mark as an Amazon best selling author, International speaker, through podcast appearances, published articles, and health coaching. Her company, Health Redesigned, has been dedicated to total-health solutions and all aspects of health. Be part of her movement at www.healthredesigned.com