Adesoji Adegbulu

How to Succeed In Social Entrepreneurship

Planning for success mimics the requirements for success in any new venture: a plan, customer focus, and execution.

The Plan

The greatest fallacy in business planning is that there is a good template or software that will help you create a winning business plan. The very opposite is true. While there are some standard topics that must be covered in a business plan, borrowing language from a template or software is simply self-defeating.

Customer Focus

For a traditional business, customer focus is relatively straightforward. The customer is the person who trades her money for the product you sell. For a social venture, there could easily be three customers: 1) a donor or sponsor who derives little or no personal benefit from the exchange, motivated by altruism, 2) a traditional customer who buys a product or service from the business, and 3) a beneficiary of the organization’s mission. All three customer types require focus and attention.


It is tempting to argue that social ventures require flawless execution. The fact is, however, they don’t. They don’t need to do something better than anyone else is doing it; more fundamentally, as with any great start-up, they should seek to do something that no one else is doing.

This is a summary. You should read more on Forbes about the things you need to do to succeed in social entrepreneurship.