December 4, 2013; Entrepreneur

The authors of this article suggest that the following three lessons are worth thinking about if you are starting or running a social enterprise. NPQ would suggest that they are very good things to remember, full stop.

  1. Focus on qualitya lesson that comes from Annie’s Homegrown, which makes excellent mac and cheese mix and then piles the “doing good” stuff on top.“That focus on delivering an incredible product has now led to an incredibly loyal customer base, tons of products and an extremely successful IPO. Along the way, they’ve had a massive impact on the lives of the farmers and customers they touch. It all started with putting quality first.”
  2. Offer transparency—a lesson drawn from Patagonia which informs “customers through an interactive tool on their site, the good and bad inside their jackets. The choice is up to the customer to make the purchase or not. While skeptics predicted doom and gloom for the company’s sales, the opposite happened. Sales rose. Customers appreciated going into a purchase with all the facts, and, through the process, the company helped push the entire industry forward.”
  3.  Find good partners—a lesson apparently drawn from the authors’ venture capital partner, Fund Good Jobs. Its mission is to create good jobs, defined as positions that offer growth potential, health benefits and a positive work space. The lesson is to not settle for business partners who don’t believe in your vision and values.

—Ruth McCambridge