Entrepreneurship | Futurism | Success

Social Impact For Startups & Social Entrepreneurs

Social Impact For Startups & Social Entrepreneurs

I created a philosophy called Maximum Positive Impact and wrote a book about it, I created health a center for a village in West Africa, I created WRD with NM, I created film festival in New York that focused on promoting filmmakers that want to maximize their impact with their movies. My TEDx Talk about how to find your passion has more than a million views – my point being – I have been living and breathing social impact for twenty years.
We can easily get into a long and complex discussion about it but my objective in this video is to provide a very brief, practical, and succinct outline of how you can maximize your impact with your business. I will provide more detailed and sophisticated frameworks in other videos down the road.
For now, let’s start with a simple framework that any business owner can implement right now.
The simplest way to think about the impact of your business is to break it down and review your impact on your stakeholders. Almost every business has the same stakeholders and they are:
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Owners, shareholders
  • Community
  • Environment
Let’s talk about each category.
Employees
Always start by answering the obvious question – what can my business do that will have the biggest positive impact on my employees? Possible answers include:
  • Alignment of business goals (and what the business stands for) with employees’ goals
  • Workplace policies that encourage inclusivity and equality
  • Encourage individual expression
  • A respectful and positive attitude toward co-workers
  • Enough pressure to be challenging but not so much that it becomes stressful
  • Reasonable compensation and bonuses or profit-sharing
  • Enjoyable work that allows employees to take advantage of existing skills and develop new skills
  • Comfortable workplace: comfortable furniture, temperature, noise levels
An easy way to review the impact of your business on your employees to simply ask what impact your business has on the LIfewall of each employee. The Lifewall is a variation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It breaks life down into 21 critical elements. You can use an interactive version of the Lifewall on ‘I Imagine’. It’s free and there’s virtually nothing to learn. Start by using it for yourself then use it ot think about how your business impacts the Lifewall elements of your employees.
Customers
What can your business do that will have the biggest positive impact on your customers? Possible answers include:
  • Focus on target customers: you can maximize your impact by targeting specific people that need more help e.g. a specific minority group
  • Focus on a target result: you can maximize your impact by offering products or services that help the customer achieve a specific result that has a positive impact on their lives e.g. services that help with weight loss, mental health, getting out of poverty, etc.
  • Focus on the quality products & services: the higher the quality of your products and services the bigger the impact they can have on your customer
  • Think about how your product or service is made: If you use forced labor or do something that harms the environment a proportion of your potential customers will not buy from you.
  • What do you stand for? People like to buy from people that share similar values
When creating your products or service you can start by asking – What can I do that will have a positive impact on my customers and make a list. But you can take this a step further by asking – If, hypothetically, anything was possible, what is the one thing that we can do that will have the biggest positive impact on our customers?
The answer to this question could reveal that you should be doing something very different from what you’re doing right now. And that’s why this question is so important. You have to review everything you’re doing and decide whether to continue doing what you’re doing or change course and do something different.
At some point in time in the future someone will challenge you by asking you this question – if you really are committed to this cause, why are you doing this instead of that. You need to have a clear answer to that question in order to make sure that you don’t waste a lot of time, money, and effort and avoid waking up one day with a massive pile of regrets.
Owners
The owner of a business could just be you but it can also be a family, partners, or, if it’s a publicly-traded company, it could have thousands of owners. Regardless of your situation, you will still need to answer the same question – What can my business do that will have the biggest positive impact on the owners of the business? Possible answers include:
  • Make sure you spend their money wisely. Get their input in order to make sure that your objectives are aligned with your owners. The easiest way to have a negative impact on your owners (and subsequently on yourself) is to lose their money.
  • Look for the optimal balance between giving all of the other stakeholders (employees, customers, community, and environment) everything they want while retaining enough money and resources to be able to grow the business. For example, one fantastic way to maximize your impact on your customers is to give your products or services away for free but, if you have no other way to generate revenue, your business will die. Your business will not have a positive impact on anyone or anything if it ceases to exist.
Community
Your community might be geographic or it might include people from all over the world that have a common interest. So, as usual, answer this question – what can my business do that will have the biggest positive impact on my community? Possible answers include:
  • Publicly promote and, if necessary, defend your community
  • Help members of your community directly with your products and services.
  • Help members of your community indirectly by supporting other businesses that treat your community well or supporting nonprofits and causes that have a positive impact on your community.
Environment
What can your business do that will have the biggest positive impact on your environment? Possible answers include:
  • Minimize your footprint. Research all of the ways you can minimize waste and maximize the use of sustainable products and renewable energy.
  • If you sell physical products then you have a supply chain. Think about what you buy and who you buy it from then answer these questions:
    • What do these businesses stand for?
    • How do they treat their employees, customers, owners, community, and environment?
You’ll need to review the members of your supply chain to see if they have the same view of the world as you then add and subtract members as required in order to optimize the impact of your supply chain.
I mentioned at the start of this video that I would talk about some free apps and tools that you could use, so let’s talk about them now.
How to use ‘I Imagine’ to maximize your impact
  • The Lifewall breaks life down into 21 elements and allows you to rate each element on a scale of 1 to 10 – all according to you! It allows you to see a ‘big picture’ graphic representation of your entire life on one screen. Then you can use the result to create and manage goals.
  • The canvas is like a vision board that includes the goals you created in the Lifewall as well as images of people that are important to you, things you’re passionate about, meaningful quotes, what you’re grateful for. It was designed based on scientific evidence indicating that all of these elements can have a powerful positive impact on your mood, your ability to focus, and your overall mental health. It makes your day more enjoyable and it increases your likelihood of success. The Lifewall and the Canvas are both free.
  • If you’re a SE you can use the Idea management platform to crowdsource solutions to solve any problem. We believe it’s the most advanced Idea development platform in the world. Just create a listing that states the problem you want to solve then your friends, colleagues, employees, or followers can suggest solutions or comment and vote on solutions from other people. You can use it for product development, community management, or customer feedback.
  • One of the best ways to grow your business in the shortest amount of time is to collaborate with other SE’s in a way where you cross-promote each other’s products and services to each others’ customers and followers. You can do this by using the Collaboration platform and the Referral platform on ‘I imagine’. The more social entrepreneurs succeed, the bigger our collective impact.
  • Finally, ‘I Imagine’ is also a fully-featured social network so you can use it to connect with other SE’s.
These apps and tools are free so you might as well use them.
Social entrepreneurship is a movement and every movement needs a community. ‘I Imagine’ is that community but, as you can see, it’s a lot more advanced than just being a place for people to chat. So create a free account and join the movement.
Conclusion
It all comes down to this: Be clear about what you stand for in order to attract certain people and repel others.

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