05 May Key Takeaways from Christina Inge’s Skillshare Panel Talk on Social Enterprise Growth

I had the honor recently of speaking on a Skillshare panel at Impact Hub Boston that brought together experts in startup finance, HR, and growth to talk about strategies that can help grow a social-impact startup. In front of a diverse audience of founders and solopreneurs, my fellow panelists and I shared our stories, and the strategies that have helped us grow our businesses.

On April 18, Matt Denoncour of Magis Law Firm, Korey Cournoyer of Growthlab Financial Services, and Alec Lai, CEO of Zephyr and I talked about key strategies you need to take your business from idea to thriving business.

Here’s what I shared as the panel’s designated marketer. Focusing on growth strategies, here are ways you can attract the business you want and need:

Do something every week to market yourself. Blog, tweet, network, send an email newsletter. Stay active, even when business is great and you’re busy. It will help you avoid the uneven pace of work common to new ventures, instead keeping your incoming work reliable.

Content is the best way for mission-driven startups and soloprenuers to market themselves. It’s ideally suited to any organization that has a powerful story, either about who they are or who they serve, or both. You can generate strong content without spending a lot. Your story is your strength, so use it.

Being a mission-driven entrepreneur means, above all, that you have a passionate, authentic story to tell. Use that passion as the fuel to market yourself. Don’t worry about looking too polished or projecting a corporate image. Instead, market from your heart by sharing why you started your social enterprise, whom you help, and how you can help potential clients. So many social entrepreneurs try to emulate traditional corporate messaging. Don’t. Be yourself: sincere, committed, and driven to solve the problems you address.
Find the channel on which you feel the most authentically yourself, and focus your efforts there. Some of us are comfortable in front of a camera and can create engaging video blog posts. Others are best at leading workshops. Perhaps blogging is your forte. Because you need to market yourself regularly, you need to find the medium in which you can generate the best content, the most often.

Marketing is work, just like anything else you do to grow your business. The most successful social entrepreneurs are committed to their stories above all else, connecting from the heart with their audiences all the time. Commit to that, and your business will grow.

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