Building an effective team for your social enterprise
August 14, 2014
In the last few days we have gone into a number of different elements dealing with the developing the first stages of your social enterprise: understanding the what the problem, gap in the market and opportunity is for your idea, product or service, clearly articulating your mission statement and the need to keep it simple, the need to develop a planned process for testing market demand and the relevancy of your idea.
Of course they are all important elements of getting your initial plan right but then so too is something that is not paper or process related – its human and that’s ensuring you have the right team on board.
I have often quoted Harvard University Professor Allen Grossman who once said:
“People are key, most venture capitalists they’ve heard all the ideas you can imagine same with donors it’s not that they are sceptical it’s that good ideas, aren’t worth that much. What is worth something? What’s worth something is your ability to deliver.”
“Most people, who invest, even in a social enterprise, would rather invest in the top quality person and a mediocre idea than a really superb idea with mediocre people.”
“Do you have what it takes to deliver on the promises you are making?”
It is imperative you have the right people on board and try and imagine it this way when categorising them:
Your Board or Advisory Board
When constructing your team take a look at how you may possibly construct your board. Don’t be tempted to stick with people you know, reach out to people who may have the skills and connections that can assist in getting your enterprise off the ground. Also, keep in mind that you don’t want to stack the Board full of people who may just take more time away from the primary purpose. You should always try and identify talent and skill in one.
For any start-up my suggestions are that you look at people who can play the following roles:
Government relations: has experience in dealing with governments and has an understanding of the policy frameworks of the sector you may be operating in
Communications and public relations: has experience in developing campaigns and can assist in the development of a public relations and marketing campaign
Fundraising: these people are like golden tickets found only a select few Willy Wonka chocolate bars! They are a fundamental resource for any social enterprise who can open doors, seek funding and also develop your fundraising strategy
Legal: we all need a get out of jail free card on the odd occasion and its no different with a social enterprise.
Always try and have a good legal mind on your Board If you don’t want to have this as a formal board or you are having trouble attracting the right talent because the social enterprise doesn’t currently have a history then you may want to consider turning to the formatting of an advisory board.
An advisory board traditionally has no legal liability unlike a formal board of directors who have to comply with a range of rules, laws and regulation. Your next group is your management team. Some people will be good as the enterprise forms but you need to understand that people play critical roles and different points in time.
For example, if a social enterprise is in the growth phase then the leader for those times needs to be dynamic, able to present in public and sell. Yes, god- forbid a sales person enters the social enterprise world but that’s exactly what is needed. The second key resource is having someone who compliments the style of business development oriented CEO – a great operationally and adminstraively sound COO.
You need to invest in a solid management team and test the team dynamic to ensure that everyone is always on message.The final group you need to focus on is attracting ambassadors to your cause. Yes, the will be popular, famous or even of the celebrity kind.
Many of these people honestly do want to get involve in a good cause or the social good and often struggle (as a result sometimes of their agents being uninformed) to select the one that fits their personal passions and not ambitions. Take Angeline Jolie in her role with the UN – a personal passion. Angelina has also set up and financed many charity organisations.
In 2003, she founded the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation (after her first son, Maddox, who she adopted from Cambodia) which is dedicated to community development and environmental conservation in Cambodia.What people like Angeline do for various charities or social enterprises makes the difference between scale and success as opposed to success and failure.
So, identify someone who can be your spokesperson and your ambassador – someone who resonates with the community and has broad appeal.People are fundamentally important to the success of your social enterprise.
There is no doubt that we sometimes fail to see that important truth as we focus all of our energies on the problem we are trying to solve. In doing so a social enterprise can fail in its endeavour.Come back tomorrow when we cover measuring results through social impact, risks and the all-important financial plan.
You can’t go past a news paper, radio show or television news story these days without being flooded by all things Bitcoin or Crypto Currency. Some say it’s the new world of money while others suggest its all just a passing fad. Whatever your position or preference of...
This week I announced a suite of measures for the Government to consider when it comes to small and medium sized business and what we can all be doing as we start to look at emerging from the COVID19 lockdown. The reality is that a good number of small business owners,...
As someone who has been working in suicide prevention for some years now i know that often having a simple conversation can make all of the difference when a loved one is doing it tough. COVID 19 and the lock down tends to amplify how we feel when we are isolation or a...
We know that mob out there are uncertain as to what the COVID-19 / Corona Virus means for them – this can cause us all to panic and some in community more so that others. Panic attacks can compound the situation so we gather some information about what you can do now t...
Don’t forget our elders can suffer in silence too: suicide prevention
Many people think that mental health and suicide are not topics that impact our elders but they could not be more wrong. The data tells us there continues to be an emerging trend when it comes to peop...