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How to measure social value and win business

7th January 2019 By Kevin Barber in Small Business News

For most businesses, ‘measuring outcomes’ is a vital way of driving improvements – finding efficiencies and acting on them in order to deliver a better service, product, or customer experience – but some results are harder to measure – like social value.

So, how can you work out whether what you’re doing is worthwhile, why is it important, and how can it earn you more business?

What is social value?

Social value is simply your contribution to society – what can make it tricky to define, is agreeing how that contribution is delivered. Big businesses (for example) may see their social value in financial terms – how much they actively give to chosen charities, or projects that they fund.

In many circumstances, these multi-million pound organisations are contributing to projects in order to offset their own detrimental impact on society – such as investing in alternative fuels, reducing carbon footprints on a global scale, or sourcing sustainable raw materials.

For small business owners, contributions to social value will usually be on a more modest scale – but no less important. Help may well come in the form of financial contributions, but it also includes the giving of time, expertise, materials, or services.

Why is social value important?

Social value is important to consumers – a study conducted by Unilever, found that one third of consumers purposely bought from a brand they felt had social value*. Twenty per cent of survey respondents also said that they’d actively choose a brand if sustainability credentials were clearer on packaging* – demonstrating that doing good benefits not just society, but it can encourage more business too.

But social responsibility isn’t just something that entices consumers, procurers are interested too. Several councils (including Suffolk County Council) proactively encourage prospective suppliers to demonstrate their social value – whether that’s contributing to local economic growth, helping your community, or reducing your carbon footprint.

Altruism is also good for teamwork, especially if employees can see their philanthropy benefitting their own communities. Charitable deeds are also a great way of raising awareness about your brand, giving you a point of difference and instilling trust – helping you cut through the white noise of marketing.

How can I measure my social value?

There’s no easy way to directly measure your contribution to society but if you’re a small business; think about:

  • How your contributions have enabled those you’ve helped, to thrive
  • What projects you’ve been involved in and how they’ve benefitted the community
  • How much your time is worth and the equivalent value you’ve given over a period
  • The meaning of your contribution – how relevant was it in relation to your chosen charity or organisation’s key intentions?

Measuring your social value with Trading for Good

At Trading for Good, we acknowledge and value all the contributions you’ve made as a small business in helping your community – that’s why our platform is free to join.

Signing up means you have a public forum to share your good deeds, making it easier to demonstrate and record all your great acts of kindness and generosity. Being part of Trading for Good, also means you can benefit from support and advice from a network of like-minded entrepreneurs, as well as gain insight with our free resources – Join us today and start measuring your social value success.



Kevin Barber
About the Author

Kevin Barber

Trading for Good East of England. Helping small businesses strengthen their reputation and grow by showcasing the good work that they do in their communities.

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