Growing a social business

Growing your social business can be a great way to improve sustainability and social impact.

Consider the following as part of your growth strategy:

Social business growth plan

When planning to grow your social enterprise, start by determining whether growth is the best course of action. Growth for growth's sake may be an indication of mission drift rather than a step towards achieving your social mission.  

To make sure growth will actually improve business performance, take a look at our guide to business planning for social business.

Growth may also result in a high-risk situation where fluctuations in profitability or cash flow overwhelm your capital - a scenario known as 'over-trading'. But if it generates profits or makes your team stronger, growth may improve the business.

If you’ve established that growth is a feasible course of action for your social business, there are a number of ways you could go about it. You can broaden your market, your offering or your geographic coverage. Growth may also mean teaming up with other businesses by cooperating or merging. 

 

Consider the routes to growth shown below either individually or as a mix: 

Ways to grow your social enterprise:

Social business expansion 

Growth through expansion is achieved by opening up your offering to a wider marketplace. 

Social business diversification

Growing your social business through diversification means widening the range of goods or services you offer. 

Consortia working for social businesses

Consortia working is a growth strategy which involves creating a team of organisations which can aggregate their budgets, skills and resources.  

Social business spin-outs

Social business growth can also be achieved through breaking up the organisation into smaller, more efficient social enterprises 

Social business mergers and acquisitions

You can also grow your social enterprise through aggregating existing organisations with similar social mission.  

Social business franchising

Social franchising provides a replicable social business package which can be used in other locations and contexts.  

Employee ownership for social businesses 

This section examines the unique routes for growth available to businesses that are owned by their employees.  

Social business growth case studies 

Examples of social businesses across Wales we’ve helped grow and transform. 


Social business help and support from Business Wales 

Business Wales offers a wealth of information, advice and guidance for business owners. Below, we’ve listed some useful resources for growing your social business:

Man working with badges
Expansion

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

Man using woodwork machinery
Diversification

Widening the range of goods or services offered

Three people using a tablet device
Consortia Working

Creating teams of organisations

Group of people mountain biking
Spin-outs

Spinning out enterprises from within the existing business

Man and woman shaking hands in office
Mergers and acquisitions

Creating a larger enterprise through aggregating existing organisations

Group of people reading menu in cafe
Social franchising

Providing a package to enable others to replicate your success

Warehouse of wooden pallets
Employee ownership

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

Man working in mud and rocks
Case studies

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


Help and support from Business Wales