Monthly Archives: July 2008

SE Business Planning Tool from RootCause

Just got this announcement from the npEnterprise listserv, and signed up to download my free copy.  Yes, you do need to provide your info and wait for a separate email to get the link to download the free copy.

I haven’t looked at anything other than the table of contents yet, but this seems to be worth your time.  If nothing else, their inclusion of a section on articulating a social impact model sets this apart from other business plan tools available for free online and makes it a compelling read for the social entrepreneur.

The pitch from publisher/consultant/sector leader Root Cause below:

I am pleased to announce the release of our organization¹s new book,
Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact: A Social-Entrepreneurial
Approach to Solving Social Problems, co-written by Andrew Wolk and Kelley
Kreitz.

You can purchase the paperback version online at Amazon.com or download a
free PDF copy at www.rootcause.org/bizplanning.

While there are countless books about writing business plans for financial
return or a nonprofit business venture, we wrote this book because there
were none we could find on how to write a business plan to solve a social
problem.

Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact applies the strategic rigor and
financial savvy of traditional private-sector business planning to social
problem solving. The guide provides an introduction to business planning and
leads readers through a four step process for creating an actionable
business plan. The book also includes a sample business plan!

We believe the book is an essential tool for organizations seeking to:

€ Define organizational focus and strategy, and establish a clear roadmap to
guide future action;
€ Build a financially sustainable model by creating a plan to establish
reliable streams of philanthropic income, earned income, and/or in-kind
resources;
€ Establish rigorous methods of measuring social impact;
€ Make data-driven decisions;
€ Build partnerships with organizations in the public, private, and
nonprofit sectors dedicated to solving social problems.

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Personal Branding

Michael Jordan seems to me to be one of the forerunners in terms of thinking of himself as a brand and then licensing that brand and actively managing it.  He went beyond the traditional endorsement, and even seemed to take an active role in brand management across various endorsements and companies owned (e.g. when his gambling became a potential PR issue, he worked with Nike to market the “I am not a role model, I’m a professional athlete” message).  I may be completely off base with the above, but the point is that personal branding is now rather common, and I found HBS professor John Deighton’s study of author James Patterson to be a fascinating case study:

While he doesn’t enjoy the same name recognition, Patterson regularly outsells other “brand-name authors” such as Stephen King and Tom Clancy by simply publishing more books, averaging three titles each year with the occasional assistance of a coauthor…Whatever the genre (he has also published romance novels, science fiction, and children’s books), readers expect a “good read” from the James Patterson brand.

The Internet and Social Networking (and their enemies)

I’ve spent lots more time learning about and playing with social networks for my job lately (plus a couple of weeks out of town and completely offline), meaning less time actually participating in the internet culture via this blog.  So here’s a great quote from Christian Lorentzen (a senior editor at Harper’s Magazine) from an article entitled “The Internet and its Enemies”, making use of a quote from my favorite author, followed by a few articles about social media that I have enjoyed recently.

“TV,” David Foster Wallace has said, “is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.” The difference between the Television Mind and the Internet Mind is that the latter has access to the vulgar and prurient and dumb as well as the refined and aesthetic and noble elements of culture. And unlike TV, the internet fosters a culture of participation that, though it may lead the majority to public displays of vulgarity, banality, and idiocy, draws enough talented people to noble pursuits in what might be called the “online underground” to give credence to the claims of the cyber-Utopians. The Internet Mind then is a craven, stupid, obedient thing – except in the frequent instances when it is compassionate, subtle, and free.
The interesting social networking articles:
The tools that I’ve been playing with most have been google reader and friendfeed.  Both have been highly valuable and taken way more time than I expected.  The biggest surprise is not the amount of noise that I get, but the amount of signal.  I’ve got about 150 items in my google reader that I actually want to read right now, but don’t have the time to devote to reading.  Not a bad problem to have.

“Deep Metaphors” connect with people

Gerald and Lindsay Zaltman of HBS (yep, it’s HBS catchup day) wrote a book on marketing using deep metaphors: Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal about the Minds of Consumers. You can read an interview with them here, to get a better idea of what the book covers, and what they mean by “deep metaphors”:

Deep metaphors are basic frames or orientations we have toward the world around us. They are “deep” because they are largely unconscious and universal. They are “metaphors” because they recast everything we think about, hear, say, and do.

One example that they discuss is Coke’s highly successful “I’d like to teach the world to sing” campaign, which didn’t say much about Coke, but tapped into the deep metaphors of connection and social balance. The book apparently details 7 of the most commonly used deep metaphors across a variety of products.

If consumer goods are able to tap into these deep metaphors to improve sales, this information ought to be extremely useful to social sector organizations actually working to improve things like social balance. Perhaps the trick is to keep the message metaphorical, since “most thinking occurs without awareness”? Are we hurting ourselves by talking about literal benefits to society rather than speaking in metaphors? Is speaking to the unconscious more powerful than trying to raise consciousness?

Money CAN buy happiness…

…if it is given away.  At least according to research by HBS professor Michael I. Norton and colleagues Elizabeth W. Dunn and Lara B. Aknin, described in the journal Science.

How money is spent seems to influence personal happiness more than how much money is made.  Great news for charitable organizations, and perhaps a reason for the social entrepreneurs to rethink language about social impact investments as opposed to charitable gifts.