10 Essential Qualities of Successful Social Entrepreneurs

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Wondering what it takes to become a social entrepreneur? 

Social entrepreneurs are a rare breed. Halfway between superheroes and visionaries, they are willing to jump over hurdles to reach their goals and run a business with the benefit of others in mind. Here are some of the characteristics that social entrepreneurs need to develop in order to reach their full potential. 

1. They focus on purpose over profit 

One of the basic attributes of a successful social entrepreneur is the belief that they can bring change to the world through their work. For example, they fully embrace the triple bottom line and work hard towards making their business have a positive impact on the planet, communities and, of course, their shareholders. 

You might not know all the steps required to make the change you want to see in the world, at the start of your journey, but when you know that every minute of your workday is spent working towards that higher purpose, you know you’re on the right path. 


2. They’re great self-promoters and networkers 

Social entrepreneurship is no different from regular business. If you are going to be successful, you’ll need to be able to put yourself out there and network effectively to achieve your goals. 


3. They’re great at delaying gratification 

Good social entrepreneurs (and successful people in general) have the ability to delay gratification. What does that mean? Simply that you’re able to not give in to the impulse of doing something pleasurable now because you know that you’ll be able to reap a greater reward later. 


4. They love overcoming obstacles 

The road to success is long and it won’t always be easy. You’ll need to be able to persevere through any setbacks and work continuously on improving yourself, and your business, in order to succeed. 


5. They’ve got great business sense 

At the end of the day, social enterprises are businesses and require a successful business person at the helm with a sound business strategy. They know an opportunity when they see it, they can assess whether an idea is viable or not, and they’re not afraid to take the risks necessary to succeed. 


6. They love to innovate 

Many of the most successful social entrepreneurs have the ability to think “outside the box” and come up with solutions where most only see problems. 


7. They’re awesome team players 

Teamwork makes the dream work. Good social entrepreneurs know that they can’t do it all alone and are very good at empowering their teammates and collaborating with them to help make an impact on society. 


8. They’re empathetic 

Social entrepreneurs tend to have strong emotional intelligence and are empathetic to the problems of others. These traits help them identify the problems they want to fix in society and resonate with them strongly enough to get out there and change them. 


9. They’re optimistic 

A lot of successful business owners have heard “that’s crazy, it’s not going to work!” when they first started. That’s normal. Getting pushback on your business project from close ones is a natural reaction. That’s why you’ll need to remain optimistic about your chances of success and have faith in your abilities if you are to succeed. 


10. They ask for help when they need it 

Whether you’re running your first business or are a seasoned veteran, it’s important to recognise when it’s time to take a step back and ask for help. It’s very hard to succeed on your own and if you ever need help or the input of someone with a fresh perspective you shouldn’t be afraid to ask.


At Trampoline, we offer help to social entrepreneurs who want to refine their business idea. Click here to learn more about our free 9-month Impact Accelerator Programme and learn more about how we can help your social enterprise grow.


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