The Creation Of A Social Enterprise Business Essay

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The above framework details ten building blocks which need to be assembled in the creation, or development, of a social enterprise. Completion of this blueprint is seen as a good starting point in creating a new social enterprise but it can also aid the development of an existing social enterprise. As importantly, to the individuals involved in the creation of the new enterprise, is the fact that the process of completing the blueprint will highlight the likelihood of success of the business idea. With the help of a social enterprise practitioner this template can be completed within 3 - 6 hours. For those of you who are using this publication it will of course take a little longer.

The remaining part of this chapter will help you to complete each building block. I have included example statements for each of the sections which we have constructed for the Telecentre And Business School Ltd, the social enterprise I have led since 1994.

Start of course by completing the top line with the name of the business and the name(s) of the person(s) completing the template.

Each box in the blueprint is referred to by the SEB acronym (Social Enterprise Blueprint) and a box number and in summary includes the completion of EIGHT STEPS covering the TEN building blocks.

STEP 1: SEB BOX 1: Values/Vision/Mission statements

Requires an analysis of the values and beliefs that the social enterprise will be built on and the vision and mission statements that directs its business strategy

STEP 2: SEB BOX 2, 3 AND 4: Business Objectives (Social, Economic, Environmental)

This will involve the identification of business objectives in three areas, namely social, economic and the environment

STEP 3: SEB BOX 5: Equal Opportunities and Diversity

Requires an understanding of the law as it relates to equal opportunities and an investigation into the value of introduction a diversity action plan

STEP 4: SEB BOX 6: Key Stakeholders

Introduces the idea of stakeholders as beneficiaries of the business rather than customers

STEP 5: SEB BOX 7: Key Business Resources

This will involve the identification of the main resources needed to create and run the business

STEP 6: SEB BOX 8: Distribution Channels

This requires an understanding of the physical and electronic communication systems required to deliver the business products or services to its markets

STEP 7: SEB BOX 9: Cost Structure

This involves an analysis of all key expenditure required to run the business

STEP 8: SEB BOX 10: Revenue Streams

This requires an identification of the key income generating opportunities

In order to complete the following steps please download the associated workbook in PDF format from

STEP 1: Values/Vision/Mission statements


Creating a new business can involve strategic planning. This simply means creating a long-term plan.

Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this direction. In order to determine the direction of the organization, it is necessary to understand its current position and the possible avenues through which it can pursue a particular course of action. Generally, strategic planning deals with at least one of three key questions:

"What services or products do we deliver?"

"Where is the market for these products or services?"

"How do we shine in the market place?"

In many organizations, this is viewed as a process for determining where it is going over the next year or more typically in the next three to five years, although some extend their vision to twenty years.The critical components of strategic planning include an understanding of the firm's vision, mission, beliefs, values and strategies.

The vision and mission are often captured in a Vision Statement and Mission Statement.

Vision: the vision is the dream, a clear ambitious, even outrageous, short statement of what the organization wants to be, or how it wants the world in which it operates to be. It is a long-term view and concentrates on the future. It can be emotive and is a source of inspiration. For example, a charity working with the poor might have a vision statement which reads "A World without Poverty."

Mission: the mission states the purpose of an organisation or an enterprise, succinctly describing why it was created and what it does to achieve its vision. For example, the charity above might have a mission statement as "providing jobs for the homeless and unemployed".

The vision and mission statements are often built on a set of organizational beliefs and values.

Beliefs: Beliefs are something that is believed to be true. They are often opinions and convictions. As such they do not always require scientific proof. As many personal development programs state, as a person you act on what you perceive to be the truth and not what may be the actual truth. Beliefs work mainly at the sub conscious level and lead people to act in a habitual manner. Beliefs are powerful and are the building blocks of a value set. They are as important to a business as they are to an individual. The beliefs of a business help generate the value set of the business which then drive its culture and priorities and provide a framework in which decisions are made. I suggest therefore that all social enterprises identify clearly what their belief systems included and that this advises the creation of the value set it wishes to operate within.

Values: Values are a set of preferences that help people determine what is right and wrong and are the building blocks of decision making and action. They are as important to a business as they are to an individual. The value set of a business drive its culture and priorities and provide a framework in which decisions are made. For example, "Knowledge and skills are the keys to success" or "give a man bread and feed him for a day, but teach him to farm and feed him for life". For me social enterprise is about creating an ethical way to do business. It is about more that making money it is also about doing social and environmental good. To my mind all social enterprises should be created on a solid and clear value set that all people linked to the enterprise are aware of and work within.

The business strategy should be built on the work undertaken on the vision, mission, beliefs and values

Strategy: A strategy is simply a long term plan which details the actions necessary to achieve a goal or outcome. A strategy is sometimes seen descriptively as a roadmap or path taken to reach the vision. The most important part when implementing the strategy is to ensure the company is going in the right direction which is towards the vision. This may seem a little obvious but I have seen many examples of leaders taking the eye of the end vision as they are seduced by external, but unrelated, business opportunities. No more true is this than in the attraction of grant funding. Even social entrepreneurs are occasionally turned by the lure of money and sometimes to disastrous effect.

Organisations sometimes summarize goals and objectives into a mission statement and/or a vision statement. Others begin with a vision and mission and use them to formulate goals and objectives. Many people mistake the vision statement for the mission statement, and sometimes one is simply used as a longer term version of the other. However they are meant to be quite different, with the vision being a descriptive picture of future state, and the mission being an action statement for bringing about what is envisioned (i.e.. the vision is what will be achieved if the company is successful in achieving its mission).

For an organisation's vision and mission to be effective, they must become assimilated into the organisation's culture. They should also be assessed internally and externally. The internal assessment should focus on how members inside the organisation interpret their mission statement. The external assessment - which includes all of the businesses stakeholders - is valuable since it offers a different perspective. These discrepancies between these two assessments can provide insight into their effectiveness.

Constructing Beliefs and Values

I believe that the plan should start with some advice I was given many years ago by a very experience community guru. 'Any community organisation worth its salt would be based on strong social values'.

I have found over the years that getting individuals to draw up a set of values by which they run their lives is difficult. To get an organisation to do this is virtually impossible, based on the fact that an organisation is a collection of people. Getting lots of people to work to a set of collective values is some ask. Still I believe that should not deter us.

I realise that this is an area that could envelope us in very long-drawn out debate and that is something that must be avoided. It must be kept simple however I will offer a brief overview of issue surrounding value systems which I suggest you explore in the determination of your organisations Vision and Mission statements.

Values can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person's sense of right and wrong or what "ought" to be. Values are therefore built on a belief system. Beliefs are the assumptions we make about ourselves, about others in the world and about how we expect things to be. Beliefs are about how we think things really are, what we think is really true and what therefore expect as likely consequences that will follow from our behaviour. Beliefs are valuable resources, generalizations that people use to give themselves a sense of certainty and a basis for decision-making in an uncertain and ambiguous world. Many of the limitations you face in life are self-imposed. What you believe about yourself can keep you locked behind your fears or thrust you forward into living your dreams.

"We are what we think," taught Buddha.

"Change your thinking, change your life," said Ernest Holmes.

"If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you're right," advised Mark Twain.

You become what you believe you are. Think of yourself as a work in progress. Actually, we all are. Identify old limiting beliefs that may be holding you back and get rid of them.

The first step in the construction of the social enterprise blueprint is to clarify your values set. I realise of course that you are attempting to create a value set for your social enterprise but I think that this value set must, initially at least, come from the values that you, or your group, personally hold. Personally you would ask yourself, "What values and virtues do I most admire and wish to incorporate in to my life?" This would lead you to your personal value set. As a social enterprise you need to ask this question on behalf of the business so, 'What values and virtues do I / we most admire and wish to incorporate in to my / our business?" Often, both companies and individuals will choose values such as integrity, quality, respect for others, service, profitability, innovation, entrepreneurship, and market leadership.

To answer this value question on behalf of the social business you will have to identify the beliefs about managing a social enterprise that you and any other people involved in the venture hold. There are a number of techniques you could usefully employed to determine your beliefs and value set and perhaps the use of a brainstorming session could be a starting point. Either you or the group simply write down all of the beliefs you hold about social business and then select the beliefs you think are critical to the management of the business. As an example - Do you believe that everyone has the ability to achieve their potential? If so engrain it as a belief and then ensure that all people engaged in the management and delivery of the business deal with people in a way that enables them to maximise their potential.

There is no limit to the number of beliefs that you want to build your social enterprise on but try to limit the number to a realistic and manageable set. Quality is very often more valuable that quantity in this area.

Once you have written down the key beliefs you want the social enterprise to adhere to you then use them to build up your value set. Using the example about relating to the belief that everyone is capable of maximising their potential you need to identify the values that must exist in the business for that belief to be demonstrated. This will be for you to decide of course but it might include values such as treating people with respect, with empathy and delivering services positively and with enthusiasm.

As perhaps some additional help in the construction of the value set for your social enterprise it is worth considering that the values you choose, and the order of priority you place on your choices, will determine your approach to your life and work, and therefore the way you manage the social enterprise. Your emotional intelligence helps you understand how emotions run your life and the lives of those who need what you have. Your ability to master the study of emotions is really no more than understanding the value systems that people have. There are six values that behavioral psychologists agree are fundamental to all human beings. These six values are universal to every human being living today…and in the past…and in the future and are;

The quest for more knowledge

The desire to make or save or spend money

The desire to set yourself free and express your unique abilities, talents & expertise

The need for love

The desire for power to feel secure and safe

An organized setting - people like to have rules, policies, regulations, systems and detailed plans to help them organize their lives.

Basic assumptions are our long-learnt, automatic responses and established opinions. We are, ourselves, almost always unaware of the nature of our own basic assumptions, but they are enacted through our behaviour - what we say and do. Basic assumptions are usually rooted in our infancy, early family life and social context. More widely, assumptions shaping our behaviour relate to cultural context.

Attitudes are the established ways of responding to people and situations that we have learned, based on the beliefs, values and assumptions we hold. Attitudes become manifest through our behaviour.

You see what you believe. You attract to yourself those experiences that match your existing belief system. Change your thoughts to improve your life and expand your mind. Replace beliefs that are hindering your development with positive ones that will help you.

What you create through your thoughts is a belief system, and that belief system is ultimately what determines whether you live a successful life. The key to changing your belief system is changing your thoughts.

Orison Swett Marden wrote in How to Get What You Want, "Stop thinking trouble if you want to attract its opposite; stop thinking poverty if you wish to attract plenty.  Refuse to have anything to do with the things you fear, the things you do not want." Instead you must think rightly about those things you want to attract.

Mark Shearon once posed a very enlightening question to a telephone audience,

"Are you thinking about what you're thinking about?"

Read that sentence again and read it carefully. It's not a play on words.

Marden goes on to write this passage about how much our thoughts influence the outcome of our life:

"How often do we hear it said of some man, "Everything he undertakes succeeds," or "Everything he touches turns to gold".


"Because the man is constantly picturing to himself the success of his undertakings and he is backing up his vision by his efforts. By clinging to his vision, by vigorous resolution and persistent, determined endeavour he is continually making himself a powerful magnet to draw his own to him. Consciously or unconsciously, he is using the divine intelligence or force by the use of which every human being may mould himself and his environment according to the pattern in his mind."

My suggestion is that you consider some of the above and take some time to ensure that all your key beliefs that you want to build your social business are identified and that you use them to advise on the drawing up of your companies value set. Make sure that the value set at least is written down and once the business is running ensure that everyone whom you engage with is aware of them. As a small piece of advice, and from a management perspective, I strongly suggest that they are then referred to when measuring the performance of the business.

Example Beliefs and Values: Telecentre And Business School Ltd



We believe that all people have the ability to achieve their potential

To treat everyone with Respect (treat unemployed people as we would employed people)

We believe in the value of lifelong learning and its power to change people's lives

To work with Integrity at all times

We believe that learning should be fun and exciting

To Empathise with all stakeholders and only build working relationships on a Win-Win basis

We believe in the value of employment as a way to fulfil people's lives and we believe that people want to work

To build business relationships and partnerships on Trust and Loyalty

We believe in the concept of community and its value in improving people's lives

To deliver all services with passion, commitment and enthusiasm

We believe in the power of the social enterprise business model as the business of choose in the 21st century

We believe that social enterprises should aim for long-term sustainability and gain all of its income to fulfil their social objectives through commercial activities

We believe that social enterprises should trade with other social enterprises and that profits should be reinvested in areas that enable an increase in social objectives

We believe that social enterprises should undertake its work activities in a way that has a positive effect on the environment

We believe in recruiting people with talent to grow our social enterprise and we believe in rewarding these people above market wage rates

I suggest that when constructing beliefs and values you do so under the headings of the Triple Bottom Line, namely social, economic and environmental. Also experience has shown us that these beliefs and values get added to over the years so accept that this task is just the starting point.

SEB Task 1

Create a list of Beliefs and Values you want your social enterprise to be built upon



Constructing a Vision Statement

The power of a Vision is not in the wording itself, but in how much your Vision truly reflects the aspirations of your social enterprise and the people engaged in it such as the clients, partners and investors and in how much it is embodied in your entire workforce everyday behaviors. These sample vision statements represent a tiny fraction of the universe out there, but they will give you a good idea of the different options.


To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women - globally.

Boeing 1950:

Become the dominant player in commercial aircraft and bring the world into the jet age.


People working together as one global enterprise for aerospace leadership

Ford Early 1900s:

Democratize the automobile


To become the world's leading Consumer Company for automotive products and services.


Our Vision, quite simply, is to be "The world's premier food company, offering nutritious, superior tasting foods to people everywhere." Being the premier food company does not mean being the biggest but it does mean being the best in terms of consumer value, customer service, employee talent, and consistent and predictable growth. We are well on our way to realizing this Vision but there is more we must do to fully achieve it.

Honda 1970:

We will destroy Yamaha


To Be a Company that Our Shareholders, Customers and Society Want

Kraft Foods:

Helping People Around the World Eat and Live Better

Nike 1960s:

Crush Adidas


To be the number one athletic company in the world

Sony 1950s:

Become the Company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products


Sony is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications, and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its motion picture, television, computer entertainment, music and online businesses make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world.

I have found that many people confuse Mission statements with Vision statements - for instance, I have found several websites claiming that Nike's Vision statement is: "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the World" - but this is Nike's Mission statement.

A Vision statement by definition is something you want to become, to achieve; it is a seductive image of an ideal future.

A Mission statement explains the purpose of the organisation - why it exists - it captures the organisation's soul.

What is a Vision Statement?

A vision statement is a written view of your dreams: the way things should be. So it should be bold, exciting and challenging. You do not need to know how the vision is going to be achieved at the time of its writing. Don't ask 'How' - let that come later. In terms of a social vision the process of developing a vision is a great opportunity for people to come together to take a pragmatic look at their area and to work co-operatively to describe a direction they want their community to go.

A Vision statement can be a single statement or a number of bullet points. What is important is that it is focused, clear and easily understandable. Visions are based on reality: they are not wishful thinking. What is Realistic? Basically if you can picture it in your mind then it is realistic - the use of visualisation.

Where the vision is produced through a group effort other advantages may accrue. The more people involved in the process then the more imaginations are accessed which generally create the most possible outcome. Also where people have had an input in the creation of the vision it tends to lead to more buy in by them and a feeling of shared ownership.

Why a Vision Statement? How would a Vision Statement help?

A Vision helps to unite people towards a purpose. According to the Disney corporation a successful vision accomplishes 6 goals

gives a sense of the future

guides decision making and strategy

creates a shared purpose

provides guidelines that determine behaviour

inspires emotion

connects to values

The main use of a Vision statement might be to promote the work of the organisation. Basically the Vision is the message you are trying to get across, so use it on

stationary and correspondence

use on websites

on tee-shirts, bookmarks or other promotional materials

in press kits

annual reports

Exceptional vision statements can take a long time to generate. Dee Hock, the founder of Visa, who sees the value of a vision statement as being the one thing that makes exceptional businesses, suggests that takes up to a year to do it properly.

My advice is based on pragmatism. Generate a working vision statement and revisit it after a year of business operation. Almost certainly you will have a better understanding of the business and where it is going and therefore whether or not the vision statement fits the bill.

Example Vision Statement:

Vision Statement: Telecentre And Business School Ltd

To be the leading community based regeneration agent in South Wales


Construct a Vision Statement for you social enterprise that will reflect the core values and beliefs of the organisation

Vision Statement

At this stage see this as a starting point only. If you decide to establish the business then be sure to investigate the vision statement in detail.