Social Business: How to Clarify Your Idea – From Vague to Focused and Actionable

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How to Clarify Your Social Business Idea – From vague to focused and actionable

It is common among many entrepreneurial thinkers. They had a big and great idea. However, in her head it was too large and too overwhelming. Clarity is needed in your social entrepreneurship pursuit, or any business idea. Make it simple. Otherwise it will be too big and too random and you will be unable to make it actionable.

Now get a notebook and pen, computer, or iPad, and get ready to work through these techniques. Make sure to write it out. This is very important. If you do not write it out it will keep on fixed in your head looping the same un-actionable cycles over and over.

Here are two frameworks to help you clarify your idea:

  1. Hedgehog Concept (from Jim Collins Good to Great)
  2. Tony Robbins OPA

Hedgehog Concept:

What are you most passionate about in the world? (What social issue are you trying to solve?) Don’t limit it to your social business idea. Just list all the things out that you are thinking. This is a crucial component for a social business entrepreneur, what social matters are you most passionate about solving? What makes you most angry when you hear about it? write them out.

Now rate them. What are your top two? Once you do this it will give you more clarity into what the social business should really be focusing on.

What are you best at in the world? Or another way to say it, what do you love achieving most in the globe? This will structure the way the corporation is run. It may even adjust the whole direction of the your social business idea. Are you best at speaking, networking, writing, selling, talking, connecting with people, administration?

What drives your economic engine? (Or if you are a non-profit, in his book Good to Great in the Social Sector, Collins says this circle can be changed to How can we develop a sustainable resource engine to deliver superior performance relative to our mission). What is your business model? How are you going to make money from this venture. you’ve clarified the one biggest passion or social problem you want to overcome. you’ve stated out what you are best at in the world (how you are going to personally solve the social problem). And additionally, how you can make money, in the best way, through your socially impacting idea.

From time to time there are aspects of our ideas that we hold extremely tightly to for no reason. Which items in your social enterprise idea are non-negotiables? What utterly makes the business? What definitely HAS to be there?

If you believe it really is important then WHY? Does it align with what you are most passionate about, what your best at, or your business model? If not, then maybe it shouldn’t be there. OPA Model – Tony Robbins Now that you have done that you should have quite a bit more clarity already. Now let’s take it one step further. By the end of this, hopefully you’ll have a specific set of action items to take away and do.

OPA – Outcome / Result, Purpose, Actions

Outcome: Write out the final outcome. Try to be very specific. Don’t just say, I want to help feed orphans. Say:

My Business is going to clothe orphans all over the globe; beginning with India. I will do this through selling my own distinctive designed t-shirts and donating one shirt for everyone purchased. These shirts will be sold in boutique clothing retailers starting in Texas, and growing from there.

This is merely a quick example off the top of my head. It should overlap what you came up with in the Hedgehog principle above.

Purpose: List out 10-15 reasons WHY you are doing this.

Actions: Brainstorm as many action items you can think of that you need to do. From the biggest to the smallest. Many of them will be big projects in themselves with their own set of action items. For example, you might have:

  • Call John to see about the price of buying product x from him.
  • Create a business plan
  • Create a website
  • Start blogging regularly
  • Meet with x about possible partnership

Obviously calling John is a one step process. Nevertheless, generating a business plan is a large project within itself. Similarly, designing a website is a project with several action items to finish. Don’t worry about this for now. Later on, after you have finished this whole exercise. You should go through each of these, pick out the projects and do another OPA framework for that. Rate each item on its importance. Go through each item, pick out the bigger projects and create another OPA for it.

There you have it. Hopefully you’ve clarified your business idea; boiled it down to one area to focus on. You should also have a clear set of action items ordered in priority to get you going.

Write out the outcome and purpose on your computer, maybe add some fitting invigorating pictures and quotes, and hang it on the wall to look at everyday. This is important. There’ll be days when you don’t want to do it, when you don’t want to get out of bed, and don’t want to write that next article. Days when you don’t want to make that next sales call, or book that next meeting. Look at it, let it re-stimulate you!

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