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The Social Business Model Canvas (part 2)


In this second part, we present the rest of the SBMC (Social Business Model Canvas), the tool that allows you to structure your business model in a synthetic way. Did you miss the first part? Start here!

Customer and beneficiary relationships

At this stage, it is time to ask yourself what type of relationship you want to establish with your clients and beneficiaries. This relationship can be direct and personalised, virtual, self-service, etc. In all cases, it must be in line with the profile of your targets. For example, the relationship you create with elderly people will not be the same as with young people. Or if you are selling a product, think carefully about the type of relationship you want to create before and after the sale, such as the frequency of communication, the tools to be used, etc.

Distribution channels

How do you deliver your product or service? Identify the channels through which you will interact with your customers and beneficiaries before, during and after the use of your solution. This goes hand in hand with the customer relationship in the previous section. How will you interact with them? What will be your points of contact?  Digital, via email and social networks and/or face-to-face, in-store?

You also need to consider your distribution channels: how you will make your offer known and how you will sell your product or service. Will you have your own e-commerce site? Or will you rely on existing sites? Will you use relay points? Etc.

Key resources

What resources do you need? What are the key resources without which your business would not exist? These can be financial, of course. But not only! Think about the time you will need, the human, technical, technological and material resources... For example, if you are a chocolatier, how many bars will you be able to produce on your own, and how long will it take you?

How could you optimise your resources to reduce your costs? Remember that the resources that will enable you to run your future business and achieve your goals should also be considered more broadly (volunteers, collaborations, further training, etc.)

Key activities

How will you implement your project? What are the key activities, your core business? Describe them without going into too much detail. For example, if it is a solidarity restaurant, you could mention catering activities but also stock management and potentially team management or a reintegration programme if you intend to hire people in vulnerable situations. In all cases, try to keep it short and clear, as if you were talking to someone who does not know your field of activity. For example, in the case of a digital application, describe its main functions without using too much jargon.

Key partners

Which strategic partnerships are essential to the project? This is where you describe your sponsors, partners and external suppliers who will help you deliver your solution. Think about the different types of partnerships you could create (suppliers, financial, communication, etc.) What resources do your partners provide? What activities do they carry out for you?

Cost structure

What are the most important costs of your project? Which activities and resources are the most expensive? How could you reduce these costs? In this section, and at this stage of your project's progress, you do not need to put numbers on the table, but rather to think broadly about the big expenses of your project. For example, if you have to hire a lot of people, human resources would be one of them; if you plan to open a shop, it would be the inventory and logistics; or if you want to create a more complex application or website, it would be the technical component. If you want to take this a step further, you can create an Excel file and build up your financial projections bit by bit. This exercise (in French) could help you to quickly put a price tag on your project. But don't do it until you have completed your Social Business Model Canvas!

Revenue streams

This block allows you to think about potential revenue streams. How will you sell your product/service? Will it be a subscription, membership or direct sales model? Don't forget donations if you plan to create a Societal Impact Company (SIS) with a 100% impact share. Often social enterprises have a hybrid model with different revenue models. This part, together with the one above, will help you to define the selling price of your product or service.

Social and/or environmental impact

This is the last step, but by no means the least important! Here you should assess the societal impacts, both negative and positive, of your project. This should reflect your mission. What are the expected results on your beneficiaries or on society in general in relation to your mission? Is it the improvement of the living conditions of your beneficiaries? Is it the reduction of waste? Etc. Try to be as specific as possible! Once you have defined the impact, think about the key indicators that will allow you to measure it. This can be quantitative, such as the number of beneficiaries (people supported through a reintegration programme for example), the number of sales, the number of people you have managed to reach, the waste or CO2 reduced, your ecological footprint, etc. But your indicators can also be qualitative, such as the acquisition of new skills, the improvement of well-being, etc. In any case, your indicators must be easily measurable and achievable.

Finally, to make the most of your experience with the Social Business Model Canvas, we recommend that you talk about it with others! This tool is particularly effective when used in a group setting. The sharing of ideas, concerns and expertise by different stakeholders will allow you to further develop your thoughts. This will make your business plan more relevant and robust.

Now that you have understood the value and workings of the Social Business Model Canvas, you can start using it to build your project and ask yourself the essential questions related to your business model.

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