Tips for Starting an Ethical Business or Social Enterprise

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Tips for Starting an Ethical Business or Social Enterprise
Anneke Zwart, Moderator
A big advantage of starting an ethical business is that people tend to be positive about what you do. After all, you are by definition commercializing strategies to improve human and environmental well-being. However turning the idea of ethically responsible business into practice seems easier than it truly is, according to Chanrai. With a business partner he wanted to start a business in ethically made clothing. Chanrai provides 5 useful tips for starting a social enterprise:
  1. EDUCATE YOUR CUSTOMERS: An ethical business’ stands for a social or environmental mission; its aspiration for success lies in its values. In contrast to charities, however, their earnings are made through trading within the marketplace instead of donations for example. Of course, you cannot make sure that all your customers truly care about the social or environmental values behind your product/service. However, it is important to explain your customers why those values are particularly important, because they only way to be different is by creating something sustainable.
  2. UNDERSTAND THE NON-PROFIT WORLD: It is extremely important to thoroughly research the NON-PROFIT environment so as to make sure your business will align with your non-profit sector partners. Simply said it is important to know the ins and outs of a sector you are going to work with.
  3. EXPECT SCEPTICISM: A common misconception around foundations is that they will cooperate with just anyone in return for donations. Partnering with foundations also requires investing in a long-term relationship that will create trust. Continuously keeping contact, for example through regular updates and transparency is necessary in a trustworthy relationship.
  4. RESEARCH AND TRANSPARANCY: This is needed because you need to take responsibility for the way your products are produced; where they are produced. In other words, you are responsible for the degree that your products conform to the values of your business.
  5. DON’T HASTE: Your social business’ ambition to success is driven by its values. If baby steps are needed to work towards your aspirations, then that is what it takes. It is better to take small steps to understand the environment you are operating in to the core.
⇒ Can you mention other useful tips for starting a social enterprise? Please drop a reaction below.
Source: Chanrai, S. (2016) “Want to start an ethical business? Don’t forget about the business part of it” CNBC


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