Karen is a spokeperson for the international Social Enterprise competition by Chivas, called @theVenture https://bit.ly/1CV8qvb #wintherightway (Dealdine 31 December 2014)
Servane Mouazan: Who are you, Karen, in one tweet?
Karen Lynch: Hardworking. Positive. Creative. Trying to use these to make business have a true net positive impact.
SM: Why Water?
KL: Because without access to clean water nothing else matters. So we need to solve this issue first. And the water for water model is one that is easy to connect with. An opportunity to help people stop and think, and an opportunity to get the producers in the marketplace to be more responsible.
SM: We see a lot of social enterprises spending more time on the campaigning aspect of their work rather than the sales targets. What are your top 3 tips that social entrepreneurs can pin on their desk to remind them how to find the balance between passion and discipline?
1. Remember you are a business first and foremost. Have clear KPI’s and measure and report against them.
2. Agree up front what volume of resource should be spent where – and stick to it!
3. If you can’t measure it, don’t do it - that applies to campaigning too.
SM: You have recently made a match in heaven with Lord Billimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, what other brand would you like to associate Belu with to increase your impact?
KL: The Cobra Foundation partnership has allowed us to have knowledge, experience, contacts and skills that Belu doesn’t have in that sector, and couldn’t have acquired cost effectively. We are open to all partnerships that increase our capability and/or reach.
Our next big target is to work with partners to help us take our model into overseas territories.
SM: Can you share top non-negotiables you need to master when you want to make your social business more visible? And a business people engage with?
1.Your product or service needs to be of equal quality and price and then with the social value added on top as a bonus
2.Keep your overhead tight – outsource and buy the right amount of the right skill set.
3.Don’t spend – invest. At Belu every £15 we make can transform one life. That keeps us focussed!
SM: Learning never ends, what skill or new behaviour would you love to develop, through coaching or mentoring, to make a breakthrough?
KL: I absolutely know I need to learn the value of planned and measured pacing. Like many Social Entrepreneurs, I often push myself to burn out, and that makes no sense in the long term.
SM: Can you name a couple of women social entrepreneurs who impress you the most in the sector?
Jane Davies from The Reader Organisation (Women’s Social Leadership Award Finalist)
Karen Mattison from Timewise/ Women Like Us. Karen inspires me to hold on to my part-time contract so I can choose to invest my “non allocated time” to things I choose other than Belu.
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