— John Naisbitt, Author of “Megatrends”

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The Vision, Mission, Objectives, and Business Description Chapter 2

Copyright ©2000 Sutia Kim Alter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Chapter 2 Chapter 1
“Strategic planning is worthless— unless there is first a strategic vision.”

The Vision, Mission, Objectives, The Vision, Mission, Objectives, and Business Description and Business Description

— John Naisbitt, Author of “Megatrends”

O

verview: The overriding challenge to managing a social enterprise is balancing business objectives with social objectives. The final goal of your program is to improve the lives of your target population through new or value-added economic opportunities. On the other hand, you are tasked with making your social enterprise (totally or in part) financially viable. In the private sector the bottom line is very clear: to increase the company’s value for its shareholders, in other words, to make money. Social enterprises have two bottom lines—a financial and a social one—and the culture of one is very different from the other. Many development professionals fear compromising their social objectives by succumbing to pressure to increase the income of their enterprise. The irony, however, is that by focusing solely on achieving social objectives, they put their entire program at risk because it may not be sustainable in the future. So how does one maintain equilibrium between these seeming polar opposites? A clear vision and mission statement, objectives, and business description are important points of departure. The vision is what guides your social enterprise and energizes your stakeholders; it is the “big picture” illustrating what you expect to achieve. The mission statement defines who you are and where you are going. The objectives give you tangible milestones by which to get there. Finally, the business description summarizes your business profile and asserts what business you are in. In this chapter you will begin developing your business plan with exercises that answer fundamental questions about your social enterprise, which will ultimately help you strike a balance between social and financial objectives as they pertain to each section of your plan. We suggest that all key stakeholders participate in this stage of business plan development.

Mission statement—a short declaration of the central purpose, strategies, and values of a social enterprise.

A Business Planning Reference Guide for Social Enterprises

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Copyright ©2000 Sutia Kim Alter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

EXHIBIT 2A: TARTINA ENTERPRISE PRIOR REALIGNMENT

TO

VISION

AND

MISSION

This program has an identity crisis. It wants to know: “What am I, a program or an enterprise?” Save’s perception is that the social enterprise is a program on its way to being an enterprise that has both social and profit motives. A united vision for the social enterprise is desperately needed. Whether TARTINA remains a program or becomes an enterprise has radically different implications for its objectives and priorities. On the one hand, if we decide that TARTINA is to be a true enterprise, then stakeholders must commit to engage only in business activities that can eventually survive in “the real market.” In the extreme case, they may find that none of the products currently being produced have any hope of being competitive. This will present a different set of challenges for the enterprise. In this business model, objectives of full cost recovery and certain profit targets will come first and social objectives will follow. On the other hand, if we proceed on an assumption that TARTINA is an “enterprise program” that will always be subsidized, then more attention can be focused on meeting social objectives. In addition, this type of incarnation...
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