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These hand-selected resources are free to all members. We are constantly updating this list as our team discovers great tools, resources, and content that we think will be helpful for Social Venture Entrepreneurs like yourself!
Content is organized loosely based on startup stages, but honestly, it’s all good stuff. Take a look, and please, let us know what you think!
You’re in this stage if you have an idea and you have no idea what to do with it. But you believe it’s a good one, and if it is, the world needs it, so let’s get started.
By following these steps, you’ll have a believable vision that will attract others who will participate and set forth a plan of action for the next stage.
Once you complete these objectives you may not be generating revenue yet, but you’re well on your way. Keep going and once you’ve got an MVP in the market that people are paying for, you’ll be ready to engage TIP to talk about scale!
☐ Validate that there is a market problem
☐ Identify the size and scope of the market problem
☐ Identify your customer
☐ Identify your impact potential – size and scope
☐ Identify your list of assumptions to establish your plan for testing.
☐ Organizational development – align your team and operations
☐ Understand and implement “Entrepreneurial Bricolage”
- Design Thinking Crash Course
We firmly believe in the power of design thinking to uncover real problems, thereby ensuring that you’re creating solutions truly needed in the world. Learning the process and then conduct some design thinking sessions to gain new understanding.
- Determine the Total Addressable Market
Once you’ve got a true understanding of the problem you wish to solve, the next step is understanding if there’s a large enough market to movefowrad with a business solution.
- Customer Discovery
There’s no one right way to do customer discovery, but there are a ton of wrong ways. The Carnegie Mellon University Guide above is a great start!
Right Idea to Solve the Social Problem?
- Non-profit or For-profit?
This is a big question for social entrepreneurs! Is the problem you’ve uncovered best solved by a business or non-profit model? Luckily, there are resources to help you make that decision:
- UN Sustainable Development Goals
- Lean Canvas
There is a ton of information on the web about completing the Lean Canvas. Do a little serach and find one that works for you. The purpose of the Lean Canvas is to give you a 360° view of of your business, even in its conceptual stage and help you understand where you need to focus your energy without losing site of the big picture. You’ll come back to it often! Keep it handy.
Right People on your Team?
- Building the Initial Team
There’s no one formula for pulling together a winning team. But as a founder, you have to be willing to do the work to make sure you’ve got the right people, in the right seats, focused on the right goals. The article above is a great starting place.
- Inspiring Capital
For super-early stage ventures, you may find the summer MBA team program at Inspiring Capital helpful!
Right Place? Find a Supportive Ecosystem for Efficient Change
- Why Raleigh? TIP White Paper Coming Soon!
Early Stage Startup
In this stage, you’re gaining some traction, you’re being scrappy, and the uphill climb and obstacles in your way might seem overwhelming. You haven’t yet started raising money, but you’re probably starting to think that getting investments sure would be nice.
Never fear! This is part of the process and those failures allow you to manage your business appropriately at this stage.
If this is all done right, at the end of this stage you’re well on the way to investment-readiness because you’re ready to scale.
If you feel confident that your social venture has accomplished the objectives for this stage, then you may be ready to engage TIP for more customized support. Click here to take the next steps!
☐ Customer validation
☐ Determine product market fit
☐ Prove your business model
☐ Get your Minimum Viable Product on the market for testing
☐ Practice entrepreneurial bricolage
Business Logistics for Impact
- Business Structures & Impact
- Legal Resources
Guidance from EngageSpark
- Lean Canvas
It’s Back! Because you should constantly be reviewing, reevaluating and refreshing your lean canvas, in any stage of business. If you didn’t do it in your pre-startup stage, now’s a great time to start!
It’s important to keep operations lean during this early startup phase. Finding ways to keep your expenses way down will pay off in the long run. Consinde using:
- Bricolage to stay lean
- Incubators/Co-working Space
- Shared/Fractional Services
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- Value Chain Analysis
- Distribution Partner Relationship Building
- Product Testing
Whether your product is digital or not – usability testing, early and often, is key to success.
Early Stage Funding
- Impact Terms
- Friends & Family Rounds
This Entrepreneur.com article is a good place to start
The availability of these will vary based on your geographical location and industry. Do your research and participate in as many of these as you can for exposure and potential funding.
- Understand Impact Investing
Impact Investing by Antony Bugg-Levine & Jed Emerson
In this stage you’ve got real traction, real customers, and you’re ready to scale. You’ve raised some funds in a friends & family round and it’s time for some pioneer stage funding.
This is the stage in which you may be ready to engage the full-scale customized consulting services from Triangle Impact Partners!
Use the link below to re-apply for our consulting program.
If you feel confident that your social venture has accomplished the objectives for this stage, then you’re ready to engage TIP for more customized support. Click here to take the next steps!
☐ Scale well and scale right
☐ Align with impact investors with the right terms for investment
☐ Build solid partnerships
☐ Run your business and develop stellar leadership skills
Business & Financial Rigor
- Hiring vs. Outsourcing
It’s time to look at the numbers more closely. In early-stage outsourcing is almost always better. As you gain more traction, choose wisely the jobs you bring in-house.
- Operational Metrics & KPIs
- Understand your financial and manage them with rigor
- SoPact: Social Impact Investment Tools
- GIIN: IRIS
The catalog of generally-accepted performance metrics for impact investing
- GIIN Annual Impact Investor Survey
You’re likely a strong leader, because you’ve gotten this far. But now it’s time to blend your leadership skills with management skills to move your business forwardas it grows and scales. You’ll likely need to hire good managers, but your own management skills will light the way!
Get to Funding Without Compromise
It’s Your Mission, Stick to It
Being investment-ready in the impact space is rigorous. It requires a solid plan for impact measurement, a seamless integration of impact and business practices, and a clear path to financial returns. If you’ve overcome the pre- and early-stage startup hurdles, let’s put all the pieces together so that you impress the impact investors who will want to fund your future success.
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