If you meet many people who have started social enterprises it is surprising how many cannot tell you when they decided to start. This is not that surprising as in most cases the social business comes to find them – some would say haunt them! Usually the person has encountered something that does not sit well with them and just reacted – doing what seems right to them.
Others look at them as the “leader”, expecting them to know all sorts of fixes that are required.
After doing it for a while the realisation often dawns that they have stepped into something different. Gradually they realise others are looking at them not with the same eyes as they see themselves. Others look at them as the “leader” of this enterprise, expecting them to know all sorts of fixes that are required.
Almost unintentionally, they have become this leader of a social enterprise, although language they would probably hate – all they want to do is to continue to have the impact they started out to have.
Labels we place on things are often dangerous as they tend to raise ghosts that we could do without “Social Enterprise”, “Start-up”, “Entrepreneurship” have widely varying meanings to people. Some like the labels, some actively seek them but if you really want to have the impact you started out on you have no time to be bothered with labels.
You are on a journey that is different, but a journey taken often before by others.
There is a truth behind them though that does matter to you – the realisation that you are on a journey that is different, but a journey taken often before by others in different areas. It is always useful to learn from the experiences of others – their reality is not yours but there can be great savings in time and mental anguish from such learnings.
For both social and commercial enterprises a small handful of people have contributed to real understanding of this journey. Unfortunately thousands of books have been written on the backs of those few, creating a jargon around start-ups that often can intimidate and plant doubt in your mind. This is the toughest part of a start-up – to harness the passion and personal drive you need to succeed, to draw the learnings you need from your experience and those relevant to you from others, and to have the reliance to persevere through the roller-coaster it is.
If there is a way you will probably find it!
It would be nice to end this with that one pearl of wisdom but there is none, other than possibly this tiny small nugget – if what started you on the path really, really matters to you, then, if there is a way you will probably find it!