As a social enterprise, your primary focus is to generate positive social and environmental impact alongside financial sustainability. Though this is a praiseworthy and significant objective, it is equally crucial to ensure that your business is primed for success when presented with opportunities, such as engaging with corporate organizations. For social enterprises looking to engage with corporations, being "corporate ready" is essential. Below we explore some key areas that social enterprises should focus on to ensure they are ready to engage with corporate purchasers.
Point of Contact
One of the first things that social enterprises need to consider is who will be their point of contact for engaging with a potential B2B purchaser. This individual or team should have the right skill set and experience to effectively communicate the value proposition of the social enterprise to the potential buyer. They should also have a good understanding of the corporate team's needs, goals, and objectives. This will enable them to tailor their pitch to meet the specific needs of the purchaser.
Governance is essential for any business, and this is especially true for social enterprises. In order to succeed in the corporate world, your business needs to have strong governance practices in place, including effective decision-making processes, transparent communication, and accountability.
Have all documents, policies and procedures in place
Social enterprises should prepare a clear and concise pitch deck that outlines their mission, impact, and business model. This will enable the corporate team to quickly understand the social enterprise's value proposition and determine whether it aligns with their goals and objectives.
Furthermore, it is crucial to establish smooth procurement processes, encompassing procedures for order placement, fulfillment time, packaging, dispatch (if required), payment terms, and other related aspects. Also make sure that pricing plans, brochures, website, etc. are updated to reflect the latest data and information.
Verifications and certifications are essential for social enterprises looking to engage with corporations. These provide third-party validation of the social enterprise's impact, credibility, and legitimacy. Social enterprises should consider obtaining relevant verifications that independently prove the company's social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency e.g. verification by SEWF that has a global verification system for social enterprises.
Additionally, social enterprises should consider obtaining certifications relevant to their industry, such as certified organic by USDA Organic or Fair Trade certified by Fair Trade Federation for companies working in the food and beverage industry.
Meeting Large-Scale Volume Requirements
Meeting the large-scale volume requirements of corporate purchasers can be a challenge for social enterprises. This challenge can be addressed through capacity-building especially via strategic partnerships and collaborations with other social enterprises and organizations that support social enterprises. These partnerships can help leverage shared resources, expertise, and networks to build capacity for scaling operations, product development, and supply chain management.
The TRANSFORM Support Hub, powered by MovingWorlds, is a joint initiative between MovingWorlds, SAP and Unilever. It is an ongoing and on-demand revenue and growth accelerator for social enterprises—helping organizations grow their business through advice on opportunity areas, learning modules and corporate connections, pro bono professionals to meet organization-specific goals and more.
Learn more about some organizations that support social enterprises or social procurement
In conclusion, being "corporate ready" is essential for social enterprises looking to engage in social procurement contracting with both the private and public sectors. Social enterprises should ensure that they have the right staff in place, all necessary processes in order, obtain relevant verifications, and build scalable models to meet the large-scale volume requirements of potential purchasers. By focusing on these areas, social enterprises can increase their chances of success when engaging with corporate teams.