SOCAP 08 – Building a Sustainable, Scalable Business Panel

  • Moderator: Betsy Densmore, Social Enterprise Institute
  • Alan Gershenfeld, E-Line Ventures
  • Lauri Alpern, ROI Ventures
  • Paul Lamb, Man on a Mission Consulting

Nice gems of advice:

Alan – make sure you have a clear understanding of the impact you desire; constantly ask how does impact align with how you are making money – if there is a misalignment, do not start until the alignment issue is solved.

Lauri: Questions to ask yourself – what is your passion? what drives your resource engine? what can you be the best at? also, you need an engaged and informed BOD, educated BOD is not enough.

Paul – three key points – 1) most ventures suffer from lack of a key business model; don’t try to be everything to everyone; make sure your business model or tagline fits on a t-shirt.   2) do your diligence on your industry and competitors. 3) many ventures have a lack of focus on marketing, esp in early stages. you need to be able to sell both the social story and the financial story to different audiences; some people react to one more than the other, so be flexible in your pitch.

Return on Social Investments – what do investors want?

Alan: There is a scale between social return and financial return. know where you are on that scale and know where your potential investors are – there should be a clear understanding on that. [PIC coming]

What about the Mozilla Foundation model of for-profit sub?

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