There’s so much that goes into running a successful social enterprise.
Given the nature of such businesses, it’s common for the founder to also be the accountant, chief (or only) salesperson, marketing manager and receptionist.
Oh, and they probably put the bins out, too.
With that in mind, you’d be forgiven for forgetting one (or several) of the following:
1. Corporation tax
Let’s start with the big stuff.
If your social enterprise is set up as a limited company and is making a profit, it’ll need to pay corporation tax on that profit.
The financial year we’re current in (which started 1st April 2017) subjects limited companies that make a profit to a corporation tax of 19% (this joins a number of taxes you may need to budget for – an A to Z of which can be found on the government’s website).
2. Public liability insurance
Insurance is an easy thing to forget, but it’s also one of the most important things your social enterprise should have at its disposal.
This is particularly the case with public liability insurance, which will cover your enterprise for accidents that impact customers or members of the public.
You’re not obliged by law to have this type of insurance, but if your social enterprise interacts with the public in any way, or operates within the retail space, it could be a company saviour if something (god forbid) goes wrong.
3. Mobile search optimisation
Google now operates on a ‘mobile first’ index, which means it essentially boosts the rankings of websites which operate correctly on mobile devices.
Try this simple test: access your social enterprise website on your smartphone. Do you have to ‘pinch and zoom’ to read the text and interact with the navigational elements? Do buttons respond quickly?
Is it a joy or pain to use? If it’s the latter, speak to your web designer and ask them about mobile optimisation. It’s worth the investment!
4. Making the most of your social media presence
Chances are, you’ll have created accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and possibly Instagram when you started your social enterprise, but can you say, hand-on-heart, that you’re maximising their potential?
Social media is a brilliant way to generate a loyal following for your enterprise and to create a digital persona that quickly gives any passing traffic a feeling for how approachable and interesting your brand is.
It can help you reach new customers, too – particularly if you invest some of your marketing budget in the targeted advertising offered by Facebook.
5. Flexible working for your employees
If you have staff members who have been with you for at least twenty-six weeks, they have a legal right to flexible working.
This applies regardless of whether or not they have children, and is a reflection of the growing demand for flexible work.
The days of ‘9 to 5’ are evaporating for many social enterprises, with employees instead benefitting from working patterns that suit their lifestyles and enable them to work when they feel most productive. For most enterprises, it’s a win-win!
You may have overlooked just one of the vital business elements above. Equally, you may now have a list of five things you need to get started on tomorrow.
Whatever you situation, don’t feel as though you have failed as a social entrepreneur; you join countless others who are simply too busy investing all of their passion to sweat this stuff. And that’s why we’re here!