Growing a social business

Growing a social business can be seen as a route to improved sustainability and social impact. However, it must not be taken lightly or in an organic, unplanned way.

Points to consider:

  • Growth, as such, may not necessarily contribute to the achievement of the social mission. Growth for growth's sake is sometimes an indication of mission drift.
  • Growth may improve business performance but this is also not a necessary truth. It is worth looking at Business Planning for a Social Business.
  • Growth may improve the strength of the business, especially if it generates profits and build reserves and enables the recruitment of a stronger and more capable team, but it may also generate a high-risk situation where relatively small fluctuations in profitability or cash flow on the larger turnover can overwhelm a small capital base or low cash reserves - a situation known as 'over-trading'.

Assuming that these considerations have been taken into account, a social business can consider the routes to growth shown below either individually or in a mix.

In this section:

Image of Expansion


Doing more of the same, probably in a wider market place


Widening the range of goods or services offered

Image of Consortia Working

Consortia working

Creating teams of organisations

Image of Spin-outs


Spinning out enterprises from within the existing business

Image of Mergers and Acquisition

Mergers and acquisitions

Creating a larger enterprise through aggregating existing organisations

Image of Social Franchising

Social franchising

Providing a package to enable others to replicate your success

Image of Employee Ownership

Employee ownership

This section deals with businesses that are owned by their employees.

Social Business Wales case studies

Case studies

Examples of social businesses we have worked with across Wales to help grow, expand, diversify, collaborate and transform.