I joined Agora because I was inspired by its work to promote the development of social entrepreneurs in Latin America. After selecting entrepreneurs generating positive social impact in Latin America, Agora facilitates these entrepreneurs’ access to financial, social, and human capital to increase their success and impact. I am currently advising four social social enterprises in Peru: two in clean cookstoves, one in solar lamps, and one in organic smallholder agriculture.
Having worked in microenterprise, small business training, and consulting in Africa and Latin America, I believe human and social capital are even more important to individual, company, and country development than financial capital. Here are the most important verbs I have identified for successful entrepreneurs:
- Don’t attempt too many activities at the same time with limited resources.
- Determine and focus on your most critical issues and growth bottlenecks.
- Think before you spend.
- Clearly define tasks and delegate and communicate them to personnel.
- Think of everything you do and which of these tasks you could assign to someone else.
- Develop a 60-second pitch to interest customers in your product or service.
- Increase awareness and knowledge of your business with signs, advertisements, and social media.
- Remember that the customer comes first and that your business is nothing without customers.
- Keep basic records of sales and expenses.
- Calculate all costs before setting prices.
- Separate personal finances from those of the business.
- Listen carefully to the opinions and concerns of employees and customers.
- Tell employees clearly what they need to do.
- Tell suppliers clearly what you need.
- Tell distributors and customers clearly why they should buy your product or service.
- Talking and planning are of limited value without follow-up.
- Set and adhere to clear deadlines.
- Set realistic objectives and coordinate financial, human, material, and other resources to meet those objectives.
- Don’t count on good luck to succeed.
These concepts are simple but can have a powerful impact on entrepreneurs and their communities. This is what I find especially appealing about Agora and its work.