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A B U S I N E S S P L A N N I N G G U I D E TO D E V E LO P I N G A S O C I A L E N T E R P R I S E : P R E PA R AT I O N

Why is your culture important?

“Sometimes culture change is like trying to put lipstick on a bulldog! It’s exhausting work, it doesn’t look right and even if you can get the lipstick on, it’s still a bulldog!” Liam Black/Jeremy Nicholls, There’s no business like social business

Organisational culture is difficult to pin down. Every organisation will have its own culture, approaches, values and traditions. Even within broad sectors, such as the private or public sectors, these can vary enormously. However, we have found that there are some generic and fairly fundamental differences between social enterprises and established voluntary and community organisations; these should be borne in mind when developing a social enterprise.

Key similarities and differences between organisations in the social enterprise and voluntary/community sectors Commercial focus Social enterprises use commercial operations as a vehicle to achieve their social and/or environmental purpose. Customers Within a social enterprise, the focus of activities is on ensuring that customers buy the goods or services that the social enterprise is aiming to sell. (This is not to be confused with services provided to a client group.) Market The development of the business will be influenced by changes/opportunities arising in the market. Avoid the “need” driving the business idea. Long-term planning A social enterprise will usually be business planning for a three to five year period looking at developing its market share. This approach is different from the usual project planning approach associated with grant funding in voluntary and community organisations.

Carrying out a cultural assessment for your organisation will help you to think about the implications and practicalities of the culture change required to turn your organisation into a successful social enterprise.

Culture Assessment involves thinking through the following: What style of leadership and management do you have in the organisation? What are your organisation’s values? And how are they lived out? What principles underpin how your organisation operates? Who, in reality, are the really important decision makers within the organisation? How does the organisation respond to change? How do your staff engage in the planning processes for the organisation?

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What is your current focus in terms of organisational development? How have you developed up to this point? What experiences do you have that would be useful in running a social enterprise? What challenges do you think you would encounter in running a commercial business with respect to your current operations? What changes might you have to make to your current operations in order to be in a position to run a successful social enterprise?

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Profile for Keith Murray

A Business Planning Guide for Social Enterprises  

The much loved Social Enterprise Planning Guide. Proving to be very popular. Brought to you by Forth Sector Development.

A Business Planning Guide for Social Enterprises  

The much loved Social Enterprise Planning Guide. Proving to be very popular. Brought to you by Forth Sector Development.

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