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What is a Social Impact Business?

by Ashlee Tate
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Social Impact Business
Social Impact Business

Start Something That Matters

What if we could make it simpler to make an impact with our dollars without trying to determine if a business had a social purpose. Enter Social Impact Business, a new type of commerce that is on the rise in entrepreneurship.

Remember how novel Tom’s Shoes was when you first heard about it! Blake Mycoskie created this company that gave a pair of shoes to underprivileged kids in South America whenever a customer purchased a pair. It was groundbreaking. Moreover, it resonated with me on a level I’d never felt about a business before.

By the way, if you haven’t read his book, check out his book Start Something That Matters, where he explains his journey to impact and income. He shares the struggles and discoveries of starting his business from start to finish, literally sharing every detail!

Go read it!

Can You Be A Social Impact Business?

The key to creating a Social Impact Business is less about your business designation (for-profit or nonprofit) and more about supporting a movement to build businesses that make an impact.

Broadly speaking, social impact companies are organizations that prioritize doing work that consciously, systemically and sustainably serves or attempts to solve a local or global community need.


You can break the world of business into two sides. 

The nonprofit requires a specific designation and a little red tape, and the for-profit side requiring a quick trip down to your city hall.

Although at baseline, both require grit and thick skin, each has a different connotation regarding purpose.

Why is this the hill I want to die on? Well, to be honest, I’ve been on both sides and worked on both sides of the business world. For-profit and nonprofit, and both of them can do better, but both sides have a lot of work to do. In so far as a mindset change

How Nonprofits Can Transition to Social Impact Businesses

“Can you give me some money so I can do this thing over here” Isn’t this what a lot of us nonprofit founders sound like?

I get it.

Coming from the entrepreneurial side, I hated the idea of asking for other people’s money to accomplish my mission. That’s when I learned to Monetize My Mission and make an income strategy to sustain my mission.

Sometimes founders even cringe at the idea of fundraising. It has been given such a bad rap over the years, during a time when anyone can execute novel ideas just by simply sharing their message to the world. As founders, our goal should be to share our story and invite supporters to join us in any way they can.

I urge our nonprofit leaders to do better. Treat your nonprofit like a business. Think of ways to create an income to support your mission rather than hoping the public will fully support it. Bootstrap your path to sustainability.

If you’d like to start a nonprofit but aren’t sure where to start, check out my Start Your Nonprofit in 30 days Course aka. UYP30. You can check out the testimonials and join the student group to help answer any questions you may have along the way.

How For-Profits Can Transition to Social Impact Businesses

Look at the amazing thing I’ve done- I helped so and so with my profits, aren’t I fantastic?

What if the impact required only 10% of your gross income. It is another form of what I like to call endearment marketing. I get it; we need to market ourselves. However, imagine sharing your story and values simply by what you support!

For-Profit business owners gain Public relations (trust me, I know, it’s my background) and praise for focusing on impact as well as income. It truly is remarkable when you see a company focused on making an income while focusing on purpose. It’s no easy task, but I believe we can do better.

Giving back ‘never hurt nobody’ The public is starting to seek out more and more from businesses. Especially the younger Millenials and GenZ customers.

Blurred Lines

So what do you say we make it easy and blur the lines a bit. What if we blended terms to identify businesses that place purpose on the same level as profit?

In the Unleash Your Profit course, I encourage nonprofit founders to monetize their mission for long-term sustainability. This provides founders with the ability to produce an income that aligns with their personal values and business mission.

What I found was that when businesses, both for and nonprofit, incorporate profit and purpose, messaging gets more precise, the customers you attract change, and the focus shifts.

In the end, both business owners want to make an impact from opposite angles, requiring different designations from the government. Social Impact Businesses are essentially all on the same team, which evens the playing field for consumers to choose where they will spend their dollars. 

It requires a mindset shift from all of us as consumers to demand social responsibility and encourages business owners to lead with purpose over profit to truly impact change in the world.

Be the example. Be Remarkable.

Let’s change the narrative for both sides of the business and blur the lines that don’t matter to create a consistent one that does! Social Impact businesses are the future of commerce, so don’t get left behind. Whether it’s income or impact that you need to incorporate, start adding it in now, and let’s create a movement!

What should you do next?

First, come join us in the tribe! Duh! Grab your free invitation here to Join The Tribe.

If you identify as a social impact business, start using the hashtag #socialimpactbusiness every time you post about your business so consumers and allies can find you!

Lastly, get out there and unleash your ‘something’ amazing and support others who are doing the same!

What social impact business are you planning to unleash?

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