The Developing Your Social Enterprise toolkit is based on the Canadian Social Enterprise Guide. We present a common set of enterprise development stages and briefly discusses the key elements and goals you can achieve at each stage. After the introduction to each stage we provide key resources & links to assist you in exploring these concepts.
There are many approaches to developing a non-profit enterprise and many starting points for this process. You should know that, in reality, your process may not necessarily be so linear. Opportunities and challenges will arise that require you to improvise, accomplish some tasks before others, and take measured risks. Ultimately, your ability to work through these unforeseen circumstances will depend on the strength of your vision, and how well your vision is communicated to your partners and allies.
The process of building and operating a sound business is difficult enough. Passion and commitment are what get any business idea off the ground. In the non-profit world, where participants are already motivated to making the world a better place, entrepreneurial zeal will help you stay up later at night, make one more phone call, and motivate others. This energy can be sustained by an individual, but more often it requires the support of a team of dedicated advocates. Either way it should not be reckless. Passion for achieving your goal needs to be matched and informed by a grounded planning process. In fact, your commitment to a clear process for developing the enterprise idea is key to managing the business once it gets off the ground.
To stress again, the path of social enterprise development moves through a succession of necessary phases, from clarifying your vision and objectives to mastering the challenge of growth and change in your business.