How to be more than the sum of the individual parts and create “additionality”? This is a relevant question for many of my clients operating at decentral offices, often globally, with a mother base. And it was the question that emerged during this year’s international leader summit for a leading social enterprise that I was happy to moderate (pro bono) this week. The decentral leaders and organisations in the company (running as a franchise) will be able to look forward as from today to more standardised processes to support them set up a sustainable financial model in their local context. There will be a stronger global brand with global marketing and staffing (recruitment and rotation) offers for the local business owners to take on board. The goal is to retain flexibility and remain sensitive to local markets, but use the global knowledge and data structure to understand much better how markets work and refrain from reinventing the wheel.
An important discussion showed the importance of sustainable finances for every social business, regardless of their for-profit or not-for-profit status: without the cash to pay the monthly costs to operate, there’s no operation and no social impact. Even though the goal of the organisation is not to generate profits, if it’s not making enough money, it won’t be able to grow its impact. There is a strong business case for having a strong business case as a social enterprise!
It’s always fascinating to see how similar the challenges and issues are facing social and conventional businesses. But it’s really rewarding to work with people who are investing everything to change the world for the better!