There are times when I reflect on that moment at 3am last June when the idea came to me. That tiny idea has developed beyond belief and none of it would be possible without the other three directors at StepUp Shoeshine. We are constantly reviewing our business model as a very young social enterprise- and that’s where having directors with very different personalities and skills can make a huge positive difference.
A concern that many would share with us is how to optimise publicity. We have branding, website, social media, and some the usual publicity items that businesses may have. Incredibly, just two hours after the last blog post about press coverage, the BBC called us, a production team spent the next day with us and our film appeared on The One Show the following evening. The kind of publicity that money can’t buy!
Before the Scottish Parliament dissolved in preparation for the MSP elections, we heard news that one of the Glasgow-based MSPs, Bob Doris, had raised a parliamentary motion in support of our activities.
Word is spreading that we want to support people who have been out of work, or very under-employed, to show Glasgow their positive work ethic. We have had some extremely encouraging discussions with more potential clients over the past weeks, and hope that these relationships will grow. Personal recommendation is now playing an increasingly important role, which is fantastic.
Throughout, we are remaining positive that a dynamic business model will give us sustainability. Before that ripple effect could take place, the stone had to touch the water. Taking the first step needed the most courage, and could only be done with others.
Tip for a new social entrepreneurs? Don’t work in isolation. Directors who will ask the difficult questions are often the best.