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Jumpstarting Your Entrepreneurial Idea to Solve a Social Problem

A Guide to Success

29Jan

The most successful companies are those that give back in some way. While charitable gestures are good, a company that helps to solve a social problem is even better. While these may not be the most profitable companies, the sheer amount of social support is enough to keep them alive. This works in a sort of feedback loop: as the business grows, so does the solution to the problem. They feed into one another, which yields nearly infinite growth.

1. List out potential business ideas.

There are as many problems to solve as there are solutions to offer. Think of the largest issues facing our society today, and then draft up potential ideas for how to solve them. These don't have to be huge, overarching ideas; something as simple as a more efficient way for watering crops can do the trick. By narrowing your focus onto one part of a problem, you can more easily come up with possible solutions to the problem.

The key is to create something that addresses the problem itself, rather than a symptom of the problem. You want to create a long-term solution, not a band-aid that covers up a side-effect of a larger issue. For example, a solution to clean the air of smog isn't as effective as a solution to eliminate the amount of smog factories produce. To narrow that down further, finding alternative fuel sources for factories instead of fossil fuels would be an even better answer.

An example of an answer to a major problem are corporate training companies. These businesses train the employees of other businesses, saving the original company the cost of training and liability. Because there is always a need for more training, these corporate training companies find themselves with no shortage of business.

2. To grow your business, crowdfund it.

Many social solutions are tough to get started. If you don't have the startup capital necessary, funding the initial costs can pose a problem. In the same vein, obtaining startup funding from venture capitalists can be difficult if you don't have a business that appears immediately profitable. However, by using social media and crowdfunding, you can generate the necessary revenue to get the business off the ground. In the process of generating the necessary funding, you can also grow brand loyalty and have a steady fan base for when the company finally takes off.

3. Have a fail-proof business strategy.

Business plans are a thing of the past. Rather than creating a rigid, inflexible path to follow, it's better to have a business strategy. This alternative to business plans allows you to be more flexible and adapt to changing situations. At the same time, it allows you to come up with a number of possible scenarios before they occur. If you can show that you have solutions for even the worst case scenario, you're more likely to gain the trust of angel investors and others who can provide you with funding you need.

To do this, think of the possible paths your business can take. Draft out a brief plan of attack for each of these, putting more of your focus onto the most plausible ones. You don't need an in-depth answer to every possible problem, but at least having a basic idea of your response will be helpful should any of these situations occur.

The amount of solutions and potential companies is limitless. With a bit of thought and creativity, you can solve a number of different social problems and pave the way for a better tomorrow.

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