A much needed book in the area of social entrepreneurship,
This review is from: How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When I hear "social enterprise" a part of me can't help but feel it's the new "dotcom" bubble: full of nice ideas, cute business models and presented as something rather worthy, exciting and hip but ultimately doomed by its own hype. This book is a nice antidote to all that.
The book is less "feel good" than other books on the subject and, instead, takes a much needed, pragmatic, step-back to consider the bigger picture of running a social BUSINESS. It is a methodical look at all the factors an aspiring social entrepreneur will need to consider: different business structures; writing a business plan; finding funding; selling to customers; managing money; team management; getting publicity and so on.
It's a wake-up call. The author doesn't preach but does show the reader that there is more to social enterprise that simply going out and "doing good". There are many aspects to be considered and many questions that first need to be answered. Some people may begrudge the need to "slow down" and think things through and some might even resent what they see as "negative thinking" but I think they would be making a mistake to ignore these points. (Sorry, "build it and they will come" is not a good start to any business venture)
From what I've seen of the social enterprise sector (I'm researching it as a possible career move), it's full of decent people but many of them are so focused on the "social good" aspect that they ignore the "well-run business" portion of the equation. This book redresses the balance.
The author tries to cover a lot of different areas. Whilst some topics are well covered, many are only touched on and you will no doubt need to do further research. The important thing however is that the topic is brought to your attention with a paragraph or two of what to consider and the rest is up to you. However, the book does a good job of having lots of bullet points throughout of the key points in each topic you need to think about.
I imagine some readers may find it dry - and I'm inclined to agree - but it's necessary reading if you're serious about running a successful social business. After all, you can be doing the most worthy work in the world, positively impacting hundreds of people, but if your enterprise fails after a few months due to poor planning or operation, that good is lost.