A ‘social enterprise’ is defined by the BC centre for Social Enterprise as an organization that has outcomes measured around a ‘social good’ but uses trade as its method for achieving those outcomes (my paraphrase).
Does a social enterprise look and feel more like a business? Are the skill sets different? What are the implications for an organization who wants to develop financially sustainable models? I argue that yes, the skill sets are different at an operational level. I also think their method for client acquisition should be as concerned about resisting ‘product pushing’ as as ‘for profit’ enterprise should be.
An organization interested in achieving social good via trading its products and services should be having conversations with its potential customers around outcomes and usage.
The challenge for those running social enterprise organizations will be to spend time and energy developing a client acquisition strategy that develops internal skills this way. They will be tempted to develop content and programs that ostensibly fulfil their mission, and risk neglected attracting enough users of their services, to meet their ‘social good’ goals.