Chapter SixScale Through Community

You've launched and the market is responding well. Your product or service is hot, and the press and user reviews are good. Your revenue and user base is strong, and the opportunities for growth seem bountiful. This period after a successful launch can be enormously exciting and satisfying. But as the founders of even the most successful organizations learn, the opportunities for failure are also bountiful. And the tricky issues in balancing the pursuit of purpose and profit can make managing growth even more difficult.

How does a social enterprise grow intelligently? How does it scale up without losing sight of its purpose or its leadership getting stretched too thin? The answer is through community building, both inside the organization and in the community at large.

As an organization grows from a scrappy little startup with a team of 5 or maybe 20 in one office, to a team of 100 or more often scattered across several offices and around the country, the spirit of mission and the alignment around what the organization stands for shared by the tight-knit initial team can be lost in the frenzy of managing organizational issues. Dealing with the basic business or organizational challenges, whether staffing, sales and marketing, inventory control, and IT systems, can suck the energy out of founders and their management teams. As people's jobs become more specialized, they become siloed into departments or teams, and there is less understanding ...

Get Profit + Purpose: How Social Innovation Is Transforming Business for Good now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.