2018 Business Education Projects Social Enterprise Thoughts

Exploring a Social Enterprise Project

The following is an example of a discourse, with certain details removed.

L: Before we get deeper it may be advisable for us to have a discussion about recognizing everyone’s contributions to the I.G. Social Enterprise.

Daniel: Good Idea


L: It seems we need a way to account for the contributions as a ‘book keeping’ exercise.

Daniel: how do you propose we do this? Opening the books is not a problem, but who do we invoice for the I.G. Project?


L: We also need someone as contact person to keep the ‘books’.

Daniel: Good Idea.


L: From my training, gifts and talents are not only what one sees in oneself but also what others recognize in you.

Daniel: My question is … “how do we price a price on gifts and talents?” I think we may have discussed this before L., and the conclusion was that there was not a clear way to do so practically. Maybe you have found a way to measure and put a price on our God given gifts and talents, in addition to Financial compensation?


L: I mention this as an initial contribution to the discussion on the book keeping.

Daniel: Bookkeeping? Sounds like we need a Bookkeeper, someone who has the knowledge to balance the book, keep current, prepare statements, sheets and payroll.


L: There are financial costs as well as time and social costs each of us bears – which should be recognized as the enterprise relies on the value each one brings to the participation.

Daniel: I agree. Each of us should be financially compensated for what we have done or are doing for the IG Social Enterprise, since there are Financial Cost, Social Cost, & Time Cost. It is understandable that we need a way to cover the costs and overhead.

… At least until the ecosystem is established. And until such time as I.G. is both sustainable and profitable. We need to ask ourselves “who ultimately benefits from the work I.G. does”.

The way I see it, we are building a platform and while we may be a part of I.G., ultimately it does not really belong to us individually.

Therefore, each person’s contribution should be self-evident. While we do need each other and Someone should bear the cost and expenses until such time as we are profitable, since we are not partners in the legal sense, we should be compensated for our work, time, knowledge, skills and abilities.

We can, should and will add the value of gifts and talent into the mix at a later point as it would only confuse the business model at this time.

Questions like “How much is our gifts, talent, skills and temperaments worth?” and “How do we measure and quantify our respective gifts, talent, skills and temperaments?” and “Are we being rewarded for our efforts, abilities and contributions in proportion to our performance and worth?” and “What is the market value of our gifts & talents?” Finally, “What is the value each of us brings in the form of participation and is the reasonable?”

A few more thoughts on compensation:

There are non-financial compensations in the form of benefits, perks and opportunities for recognition as well as work culture, work environment and conditions.

Since we are multiple businesses and not one single entity, we need to reflect that based on something we can agree upon.

Direct financial compensation: regular pay in the form of wages, salaries, bonuses and other commissions.

Indirect financial compensation: benefits, sick days, leave of absences, retirement plans, ongoing education and / or employment services

Payment should be made regularly and at consistent intervals, as and when we invoice I.G..


L: There are various ways to acknowledge each others’ contributions.

Daniel: I look forward to discussing and exploring these various ways.

In the meantime, it is my understanding that “acknowledging” and “compensating” each other’s contributions is two different things. But they can certainly go hand in hand.

First, acknowledgement does not denote , it is merely the acceptance of a fact, a truth or existence of something.

Also acknowledgement is not a objective way to assign value, and therefore each of us ought to determine the remuneration for the time spent on each task and respective successful and or positive contribution to I.G..

But ultimately, who is responsible for footing the bill?

Surely not the group. Not as a group since we are each individual solo businesses and not one entity, like a single business or non profit.

In our case, acknowledgement of invoices based on each one’s contributions.

My question would be to whom shall the onus be to honour and settle outstanding invoices, since the team as a whole would not be responsible to cover the cost of each other’s contributions. Unless I am wrong, we would be to clarify this.

Logically, the cost of infrastructure needs to be someone’s burden and / or shared. It is not clear to me as this time.

Back to the question “How do you put a price on gifts and talent?” and “Are we to put a price on each others’ contribution?” We are answer this later. Let’s move on.

While it is understandable that the contributions of each individual is beneficial to all, there is a financial, moral and social responsibility to recompense each person for their work on IG.

From experience, pay differentiation is the way we typically recognize the difference in amount of contribution each person offers. Since we are not employees, we ought be be able to determine our own prices and invoice according.

For example, my agreement was with L. not with the entire team. Much like each of us were came to be on this team through different means, as far as I know. But L. is the central person to whom we look to as our source of insight, guidance, direction and resources, including but not limited to financial income and creativity.

How do we put a price tag on something priceless? Especially something intangible like gifts and talent?


L: I have found it helpful for the one receiving the benefits to acknowledge receipt.

Daniel: Now, let’s explore who are the ones receiving the said benefits. As well as in what way does one receive the benefits and acknowledge the receipt.


L: In a sense, this may also be seen as social proof of value given and received.

Daniel: Allow me to expand on my experience with Social Proof and share some thoughts on that subject.

Social Proof is great for marketing and education and psychology. However in business, it is my opinion that social proof is not the best foundation to build a successful business, social enterprise or non profit.

Why? Because Social Proof is based on uncertainty, social interactions and can be manipulated by numbers, fake news and the competition or ulterior motives, ambition and other bad practices.

First, let’s explore uncertainty. Social Proof is often fuel for people who base their decisions on other people’s experiences, tastes, preference and choices. They are not sure if they should purchase, hire, try or follow. Therefore they look toward social proof and trust what other have to say via testimonials, reviews and other platitudes.

2.) Most people are easily swayed by social proof because of lack of insights, experience, wisdom, knowledge, and courage. Perhaps I am oversimplifying or generalizing. But let me explain.

Social Proof has been used successfully to help people get over their fears, and while that may seem like a good thing, Social proof cuts both ways. It can be used to manipulate others into doing things against their better judgement. There is a show recently which explores the danger of social proof and documented how a mentalist successfully convinced several individuals to commit murder.

3.) Using numbers to game social proof. I have many more examples, but for now, I will conclude this section with “using numbers to game social proof.” Just because many people do, say, think or vote a certain way in favor or against something does not justify the matter at hand ethically, morally or rationally.

At the end of the day, Social Proof is a numbers game.

“Social Proof” should be something that has a role to play, but that can be put in place later, once the initial setup is completed and everything is in place.

We should postpone evaluations on the value of working together and measure sufficiency down the road since we’re still in the initial stages and liken to birth pangs, perhaps we cannot expect to immediately see the value nor, any legitimate social proof at this phase.

That said, I can see how we can create a way to “keep the books” by way of social proofs and “sustainable participation in this social enterprise market” however that would be quite an undertaking and acknowledging and compensating one for each other’s contributions is two different things.

However, we would also require checks and balances to be in place to verify and validate.

I humbly propose that we get everything up and running first.


L: If we can do this, each one can consider what it has taken to deliver that value as the cost of the sale and use that in evaluating (a) whether or not one wants to continue and (b) if one wants to continue, what adjustments need to be made to have a sustainable participation in this social enterprise market.

Daniel: Since the cost of the sale is undefined at the moment. It would proof difficult to correctly assign the lifetime value of each customer, client, student or sale.

The scope of Impact that IG could have around the world may be felt across large geographical spheres, including small and even narrow geographical areas like a small towns.

In additional to the Financial Cost, Social Cost, Time Cost, I’ve looked into potential costs and expenses in my context.

I’ve assigned the following values to various sustainability criteria I’ve found in my research:

  1. Important,
  2. Somewhat Important
  3. Not Important,
  4. Nil,
  5. N/A and / or
  6. Unknown
  • Personal income: Important
  • Cost of underemployment: N/A
  • Establishment churn: Nil
  • Establishment sizes: N/A
  • Job growth: Somewhat Important
  • Employment distribution by sector: Somewhat Important
  • Percentage of firms in each sector: Somewhat Important
  • Revenue by sector contributing to gross state product: Somewhat Important
  • Sulfur dioxide concentration: N/A
  • Concentration of nitrogen oxides: Somewhat Important
  • Selected priority pollutants: Somewhat Important
  • Excessive nutrients: Not Important
  • Electricity consumption: Important
  • Fossil fuel consumption: Important
  • Solid waste management: Important
  • Hazardous waste management: Important
  • Change in land use/land cover: Somewhat Important
  • Unemployment rate: N/A = Unknown
  • Female labor force participation rate: Somewhat Important
  • Median household income: Important
  • Relative poverty: Somewhat Important
  • Percentage of population with a post-secondary degree or certificate: Not Important
  • Average commute time: Important
  • Violent crimes per capita: Important
  • Health-adjusted life expectancy: Important
  • Sales dollars per kilowatt hours: Important
  • Use of post-consumer and industrial recycled material: Important
  • Water consumption, Lost/restricted workday rate: Important

Now, this list is not exhaustive as there are other economic, environmental and social sustainability factors we need to take into account, but it’s a good start.

For me, the most important would be the income dollars per kilowatt hours, as well as the use of post-consumer and industrial recycled materials and of course, water consumption, plus lost / restricted workday rates.

I’ve also noticed that investments in sustainability activities are often motivated more by values-driven goals which are often more likely to be reduced over time, especially when economic conditions are worsen.

As we need to pause and figure out how much it will take to get I.G. off the ground. As per our previous discussions and agreements, I will be billing per hour instead of a project price.

Once again, each person’s contribution should be evident. We do need each other on this team and someone should bear the cost and expenses of the infrastructure, until such time as we are profitable, since we are not partners in the legal sense, we should be compensated for our time, knowledge, skills and abilities.

We can add the value of gifts and talent into the mix at a later point as it would only confuse the business model at this time.


L: Your thoughts, suggestions, feedback are needed for this discussion. Personally, I want to work with people who want to work together.

Daniel: I too like to work with people who desire to work together. The matter before us seems not to be able the ability to get along nor work together.


L: If anyone is not getting sufficient value from working together then we need to review before proceeding.

Daniel: It seems to be still early to tell, however from my perspective, and for the sake of brevity, perhaps aside from finances, and if money was not an issue of anyone here, the value of working together would be secondary to being passionate with the entrepreneur spirit and the desire to literally impact the [universe]. Nevertheless we should pause to examine and consider if anyone here is not getting sufficient value and how it could be rectified.


L: In this regard, if I may suggest using the IG.net domain to do the bookkeeping and to have someone be responsible as the book keeper for gifts, talents and value each one brings to the enterprise.

Daniel: How do you envision the IG.net domain could be used for bookkeeping? Do you currently have software, we could use to implement OR do you need a custom application created for our purposes?

I can see how we can create a way to “keep the books” by way of social proofs and “sustainable participation in this social enterprise market” however that would be quite an undertaking and acknowledging and compensating one for each other’s contributions is two different things.


Question: Daniel: Is I.G. a business or a non-profit?

Answer: L: I.G. is a group of solo businesses. Not a single business or a non profit. The group only exists if there are participants

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