Step by step guide to help social enterprises and social businesses clarify their purpose, vision and targets when scaling impact and operations. This guide is based based on the PATRI Framework for Scaling Social Impact.
The PATRI framework takes you step by step
through all the aspects of diligence needed to
understand whether or not scaling is feasible
for you and if so, to produce an effective scaling
plan that you can follow during implementation.
An overview of the complete
PATRI Framework, is provided in a
linked presentation called ...
“PATRI Framework for Scaling
1. The following guide is specifically targeted at social
businesses and therefore places an emphasis on
financial viability along with impact i.e. It is
designed for organisations that create their impact
through the use of business models.
2. The PATRI Framework is focused on scaling rather
than incremental growth. If you are simply aiming
to set up operations in another location or enter
another market, then the framework will still offer
you value, but some aspects of it may only be
applicable a bit further down the line.
This presentation focuses specifically on the
1st step of the Framework, which addresses
clarity of purpose.
As an entity with both impact and financial
aspirations, a social business may have a
number of reasons for scaling, but it is
important that they are clearly prioritised.
This will help with decision-making further
down the line for all aspects of designing and
preparing to scale, as any set of options can
then be assessed based on how well they
service the various goals in order of priority.
As a social business, clarifying your primary
goal will also play a key role in ensuring that
you have a clear basis for decision-making in
situations where financial survival threatens
quality of impact.
Thus, if your primary goal is to make an impact,
you should prioritise social outcomes over
organisational outcomes to ensure that scaling
results in impact rather than revenues alone.
In order to set meaningful impact goals for
scaling, you will need to understand the size
(numbers) and nature (characteristics) of
the problem you are trying to address
on its true scale.
If there isn’t easily accessible data related to
numbers, then basic research and a degree of
guesstimation is a reasonable starting point.
At the very least you should do enough to end
up with a working idea of the numbers of people
impacted by the issue you are addressing,
where they are located, what the problem looks
like for them, and whether or not there is a
demand for your offering.
You can then improve this level of accuracy
by investigating new environments or
demographics in more detail once you have
selected where you want to start your
Selection of areas or demographics is an
important early step in your planning process.
It is important to be strategic and focus on
areas or demographics that best allow you to
service your priority goals.
If you simply jump at the next opportunity to
apply your model somewhere else, you risk
following a reactive rather than pro-active
process, leading you into the more resource-
heavy category of growth rather than true
Having researched these during the problem
definition stage, you should be able to select and
prioritise candidates for scaling based on
1. Urgency of Need
2. Market Potential / Demand
3. Practicality of access
Having made an initial selection of areas or
demographics to scale into, you will need a
reasonable vision of what it is you want
to achieve and when, in terms of both financial
and impact outcomes.
As a social purpose entity, your vision is
particularly important when considering impact.
Try and develop a rich picture of what you
believe the problem will look like once it is fixed
i.e. once you have impacted it with your solution.
Ideally split your vision into a long, medium and
short term picture of outcomes. This will give
you an early roadmap for your scaling journey.
Without tangible targets your vision will
remain conceptual rather than practical.
In order to be able to assess whether your
design will in fact make a difference and be
applicable at scale, you will need to create
success criteria and set targets based on those.
If you want to ensure that you scale your impact
along with your reach, it is advisable to set
targets based on the scale of need, rather than
targets that primarily reflect growth.
Benchmarking outcomes and setting a baseline
before you start will also solve impact
monitoring challenges further down the line.
All you should then have to do is repeat the
benchmarking process periodically to track and
monitor changes against the original baseline.
This is your impact.
You can then adapt your strategies or approach
depending on whether the changes meet the
impact targets you have set yourself.
As a social business, you may also set yourself
financial targets, but these should ideally be in
line with your impact targets, rather than the
other way around.
To make your targets directional and easier
to design for, split them into stages that
reflect the phases of your vision
1.Long Term – Aspirational
2.Mid Term – Challenging
3.Short Term – Realistic
Focus your detailed design and planning on
your short and mid term goals.
Once you’ve identified your goals and set
targets for scaling, you can assess whether
or not your impact or business model is
capable of achieving those targets
i.e. if it will still be applicable at the scale
you are aiming for.
A guide to the next step of understanding and
addressing applicability is provided in a
linked presentation called ...
“Applicability at Scale: A Guide for
Scaling Social Business”