How feeling inadequate affects the success of your social enterprise

24 Jan 2022

This is a guest blog by SSE fellow, Yaa Antwi-Nsiah, a graduate of our Lloyds Social Entrepreneurs Start Up programme.

Find out more about Yaa’s mentoring and coaching work at the bottom of this article.

Running a social enterprise can be very challenging. You can easily find yourself comparing the success of other organisations to your own. For example, your social enterprise isn’t as well-known as X social enterprise or doing as well as Y social enterprise.

This can affect you negatively and knock your confidence. And as a result, hurt the success of your social enterprise.

Here are three common ways you may compare your enterprise to others:

1. Comparison 101 – “[insert organisation name] is so much better than mine.”

This is the classic and most recognisable case of comparison. You see the  ‘success’ of other social enterprises  and compare yours to them.

This saddens and frustrates you. It makes you feel like you’re not good enough because your organisation  is not where you want it to be yet. You are comparing your social enterprise to how successful you think others are.

Yes, they may be further along than you, but you don’t know what they have been through. So just focus on yourself.

2. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) – “Look at what [insert organisation name] is doing. I should start doing that too.”

This type of comparison usually happens when you are unsure of yourself or what you’re doing.

You don’t have a real plan in place and if you do, you’re not following it. You jump on the bandwagon of what you think you should be doing and hope it works out. Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t.

You start out very motivated, but as soon as things aren’t going well, you move onto something else. Having a plan helps you prepare for any challenges that come your way. But remember you may have to adapt it along the way.

It’s important to remember why you started and accept it will take time to build your social enterprise. One model does not fit all.

3. Falling into the perfection trap – “I just want everything to be perfect first like [insert organisation name].”

This type of comparison is why many people don’t even start their own social enterprise.

You look at the organisations at the top of your industry and set your standards too high. Instead of working with what you have, you strive for perfection.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: things are never perfect, not even for the organisations that are thriving! Work with what you have now and keep learning and building as you go.

By being aware of how you compare your social enterprise to others, you can choose to do things differently.

  • Start believing in yourself and know you have something valuable to offer
  • Stop comparing your social enterprise to others. Be grateful for your journey and where you are right now.
  • Start running your own race and don’t give into FOMO.
  • Stop trying to do it alone. You will be surprised at the number of people willing to help you when you ask.

Comparison is the thief of joy. When you compare your social enterprise to others, you will always feel like it’s not good enough.

Create the best social enterprise you can by focusing on why you started and all the beneficiaries your organisation helps.

Written by Yaa Antwi-Nsiah, founder of Next Level Coaching. Yaa coaches and mentors women who are ready to level up and break through what’s holding them back, so they can live with clarity, confidence and prosperity. Check out her podcast, the ‘Meant for More’ Mindset,  and connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.