My first reaction on seeing this (Top 100 Social Enterprise Truths) post from Pop-Up Social Enterprise Think Tank’s: What! Are there so many? My second reaction, halfway through my perusal: No way are people going to go through the entire list! And my third/last reaction after I reviewed the entire list: Hmm… Interesting! Several resonated, a few were plain funny, and I didn’t care for a few. My journey in discovering and writing about Indian social entrepreneurship has been brief, yet I succumb to a temptation to create my curated subset of aphorisms. In my first curation pass, I created a list of twenty-five, then iteratively whittled it down to fifteen. Instead of force-fitting it down further to a typical Top-10, I sorted the list such that the first ten are my true Top 10 and the remaining five are probably more truisms than aphorisms.
1. Even if you call them a client, an end-user or beneficiary, the customer is still king.
2. More-than-profit is better than not-for-profit (profitâ€™s not a dirty word).
3. Social entrepreneurship isnâ€™t a career, itâ€™s a calling (do something before you take the label).
4. Edison was right (1% inspiration, 99% perspiration).
5. Donâ€™t scale up before the modelâ€™s proven, however much noise & encouragement there is.
6. Social entrepreneursâ€™ work has a ripple effect: mobilizing and inspiring others to get involved.
7. Social enterprises overestimate what they can achieve in the short-term, and underestimate it in the long-term.
8. Underpromise and overdeliver: all too rare in social enterprise.
9. Imperfect action is almost always better than perfect inaction.
10. A three-year government contract is no more sustainable than a three-year grant.
[11.] Scale of impact is more important than scale of organization (or scale of ego).
[12.] Thereâ€™s more truth spoken over drinks and meals at a conference than on the stage.
[13.] Measuring social impact is where financial reporting was 200 years ago (so donâ€™t beat yourself up).
[14.] Beware the self-styled social entrepreneur; normally means itâ€™s more about self and style.
[15.] If a pound was donated each time a social entrepreneur quoted Gandhi, no-one would need to fundraise.