Every social entrepreneur should have these key qualities

Many business entrepreneurs have become successful in their chosen field not only because they had the resources to start their own business but also through the unique skills and characteristics that they have deployed and exhibited in the process. Anyone who has the same set of skills can be an entrepreneur but how about taking on its more socially responsible counterpart? Answering this question means understanding the difference between business and social entrepreneurship and pointing out the key qualities that make the latter more unique and more sustainable.

So what are the primary characteristics of a good social entrepreneur? First of all, they should be:

Passionate

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While many people believe that passion in entrepreneurship is overrated, it’s actually one of the most important qualities that every social entrepreneur should have. Passion acts as a self-motivator not only to achieve greater heights in business but also to have the genuine willingness to make an impact to the community it serves. The lack of it, on the other hand, can weaken one’s interest in planning long-term efforts and aiming for sustainable goals.

Empathetic

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Social entrepreneurship is about building a business while making the world a better place. This is why it’s important to understand people not just by listening to what they need to say but by also seeing their reality from their perspective. Through empathy, you can get the necessary insight to create a better and more suitable strategy to further your cause.

Lastly, one should be:

A visionary

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Success in any field always starts with a vision, an optimistic and creative take on what’s ahead. Social entrepreneurs should be imaginative, innovative, and most importantly, should have the vision to value wisdom when planning for the future of their enterprise and how it can help its community for the better.

REPOST: Balancing Rebellion And Collaboration In Social Entrepreneurship (Forbes)

Even in the most unusual of business approaches, collaboration is key to achieving success on any venture, advancing the lives of others, and creating societal change. Read this FORBES article for more meaningful insights.

 

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Rebellion and entrepreneurship often go hand in hand. For successful entrepreneurs, it’s a skill that must be fostered in order to make your way through the crowd and build a successful business. But although entrepreneurial rebellion is an important skillset, there’s a fine line when this rebellion is helpful to your cause and when it becomes detrimental to your organization.

 

For social entrepreneurs, this balance must be handled delicately.

 

Social entrepreneurship requires perseverance and the knowledge that you may need to break the rules – within reason – to get things done and build your business. This should be done in an intentional, well-thought-out and strategic manner. If you’re going to break the rules, know why you’re breaking them – and then blaze the trail for a new status quo.

 

Entrepreneurial rebellion should be done only when something about the current process or outcome needs to be improved. Being rebellious should not be done to spite others or make a statement – leverage rebellion intentionally with the goal of advancing your organization’s mission. And for social entrepreneurs, this mission is likely advancing the lives of others or creating societal change. Understand that your actions have downstream impacts and execute your strategies wisely.

 

When rebellion is used, it often comes with downfalls – alienation, bitterness, bad-mouthing traditional processes and organizations, or more. This puts entrepreneurs in a silo, often left out of the conversation and uninvited to the table. Handled inappropriately, entrepreneurial rebellion can backfire, so it’s important to do it the right way while working with others.

 

As you embrace entrepreneurial rebellion in hopes of advancing a social mission, make sure to stay balanced in how you work with others. Here’s how you will benefit:

 

1. Meaningful collaboration

For entrepreneurs who are overly rebellious, the opportunity for meaningful collaboration is often missed. Working with others, sharing tools and tips, and even working together on special projects can help transform small, incremental change into systematic change that can impact entire communities or societal systems. Collaboration brings diverse minds, skills and perspectives to the table. And if you’re working toward a common goal, collaboration and partnership may be the differentiating factor between winning and losing.

 

2. The ability to share failures

A valuable aspect of working with others is the ability to share failures. Although you may bash “The System,” this system likely has failures you can learn from. Don’t throw out and disregard the learnings that may exist in the experience of corporate culture, even if it’s not the culture you hope to emulate. Learn from it, and embrace the stories and advice from those who have tried and failed. This will help you avoid the same pitfalls as you continue your own entrepreneurial journey.

 

3. A network of support

If your rebellion burns bridges with other organizations, mentors or former colleagues, you lose valuable support. Entrepreneurship is hard, and building a business to impact others is challenging. Support from peers and others who know your industry or particular business is an important element to being a successful entrepreneur. If you cut off the community that can support you on good days and bad, your morale, team and company may suffer the consequences.

 

Best said by Marissa Mayer, “When you need to innovate, you need collaboration.” Be rebellious, break the rules and create a new status quo if this is what it will take to make societal change. But as you blaze the trail and develop new social innovations or models for impacting the world, don’t lose sight of the value in working with others.

 

Learn the balance and strive to maintain it.