This week, we continue with four additional lessons for those ready to, or who have recently, launched an impact focused start up. If you missed last week’s lessons, you can view them here.
- Anticipate technical challenges. Technical talent isn’t as readily available in the social sector as it may be in its for profit counterpart. Build in more time for revisions, miscommunications, and turnover.
- To scale or not to scale? One reason this field is sparse is because of scalability. Many of the ‘wicked’ problems demand scale, but their potential solutions become inherently scale-adverse. When not driven by typical market forces, the drive to scale becomes unnatural, forced, and often times riddled with insurmountable hurdles. Navigating this conversation can be a challenge – and one your team of advisors should be involved in deciding.
- Be wary. While there are a number of credible, helpful, and burgeoning resources in the social sector for start ups, one should be wary of any program that requires you to invest funds. Similarly, while most incubators will take an equity interest in your start up, you should ask around and compare the benefits you get from one incubator to the next for the percent that they are asking for in return.
- Lastly, remember the little people. With the social sector, the clients (or customers) don’t have the same resilience as the for-profit start up’s clients and customers have. Similarly, the products of social enterprises are often life saving or improving and you will (if you haven’t already) have to be asked to make decisions that might not be the most operationally sound, but may be necessary to best serve the community in need. Don’t forget the people on the receiving end of your start up regardless of how complex or inefficient it makes a decision.
Do you have advice for an impact focused start up founder or are you one? Join the conversation on twitter at @StarfishMarta.
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