Friday, April 12, 2013

Trading off between Social Impact and Financial Results?

Acumen Fund's Blog cites Linda Rottenberg, CEO of Endeavour who argues (HBR):

“If you want to scale impact,” the headline booms, “put financial results first…[and] when tradeoffs must be made, prioritize financial goals over social ones to maximize the long-term sustainability of the business.”
In a way, this is the flip side of Simon Sinek's comments. Acumen Fund Blog notes a similar reservation that I have on the quote.

To be fair, Linda expands - from HBR:

We found that those who prioritized financial goals over social ones were more likely to grow their social enterprises and achieve greater impact. We also discovered ways to build business models that reduced friction between commercial and social goals, thereby smoothing the path to growth.
The revenues generated from a firm come from the social need that a firm meets. In general, profit comes from better resource allocation - arbitrage and innovation. The idea that either financial or social goals need to be "moderated" is just a false dichotomy - all enterprise is social enterprise.

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