If you’re a social entrepreneur and feel like you’ve hit the buffers, you might be experiencing a form of startup burnout.
Worse still, you might just be bored.
What can you do when this happens? The idea behind your social enterprise was something you were always proud of, and its mission was geared towards improving the local community and making people’s lives better.
What went wrong?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In business, everyone at the helm will experience this feeling at some stage. The trick lies in motivating yourself again, because you really are onto something with your social enterprise!
1. Get in amongst it
If you haven’t spent much time on the shop floor recently, get out there and experience it again for yourself.
This is an easy trap to fall into as a social entrepreneur. Meetings, awards dinners and time spent at the home office will inadvertently distance you from what’s happening on the front line.
Just half a day spent engaging with customers and the people who make your enterprise the success it is will fill you with inspiration and a renewed sense of confidence in the organisation.
2. Bring in some help with a mentor
It might be worth exploring the services of an independent mentor if you’re feeling particularly uninspired about your social enterprise.
There’s nothing wrong with needing help – it doesn’t indicate failure. The most successful entrepreneurs on the planet all have mentors of some kind, and this could be the missing piece of the jigsaw for your career.
A mentor will use their experience, insight and ability to look at your enterprise one step removed to help you refocus on what matters and improve your entrepreneurial skill set.
3. Try setting a bigger goal
Good news – you may have smashed the goal you originally set for your social enterprise!
This is often the reason entrepreneurs start to lose interest in their business. Once you hit the goal you originally set in your business plan, it might feel rather underwhelming. “Job done”, if you like.
You may not even be aware you’ve hit that goal, but if you find that is the case, it’s time to set an even bigger one.
This is your chance to redefine the original goal for your social enterprise and set one which will plot a course for its trajectory for the next five years.
4. Revisit your business plan
Take a look back at that business plan you wrote at the outset. Chances are, it’ll be full of the vigour, determination and inspiration you’re so sorely lacking at the moment.
This is why business plans are so important; they’re living, breathing documents that should be referred to often, updated when necessary and used to remind yourself of the “why” you started the social enterprise in the first place.
5. Network (properly)
When was the last time you attended an in-person networking event?
We say “in-person”, because far too much networking is now done online, and there’s still nothing quite like placing yourself in a room full of inspirational, ambitious people.
Within that room, you might discover a new partner for your social enterprise, or simply find that by talking to other people about it, you renew your sense of optimism and drive.
Try it – there are likely to be lots of regular networking events both in your vicinity but also within the social enterprise’s sector.
Don’t let this momentary lack of drive to worry you too much. As we’ve hopefully demonstrated today, you can get that entrepreneurial mojo back and, what’s more, you’ll return from this episode even stronger than before!