July 2013 | 

Pressure Test Your Start-Up Idea: The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook — Step 1


Social entrepreneurship is hot. Working to solve social problems while generating income is being studied and taught at universities around the world, examined in mainstream media, and embraced by celebrities. But despite such pervasive interest and attention, very little is known about how to make such ventures work, or why some fail and others succeed.

Learning from the latter is the goal of a new offering from Wharton Digital Press: The Social Entrepreneur's Playbook provides a three-phase method for successfully testing, launching, and scaling a social enterprise. Authors Ian C. MacMillan and James D. Thompson developed their approach during work with social entrepreneurs in Africa and the United States through the Wharton Social Enterprise Program over the past 13 years.

The first step, testing your start-up idea, is being offered as a free ebook download through July 15, 2013. Pressure Test Your Start-Up Idea: The Social Entrepreneur's Playbook—Step 1 addresses one of the biggest mistakes made by social entrepreneurs: charging in with an inadequate understanding both of the problem they want to address and the practicability of the solution they have in mind. MacMillan and Thompson guide the reader through rigorous "stress tests" of their entrepreneurial idea, including: defining the social problem and articulating the revenue-generating solution, developing a qualified advisory group, defining and segmenting a target population, identifying the most competitive alternative, and addressing operating realities. Each chapter ends with a series of challenging "Tough Love" questions designed to spot early and inexpensively those ideas that aren't worth pursuing.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the framework and to prove that there is a market that can be aided directly by the book, Pressure Test Your Start-Up Idea: The Social Entrepreneur's Playbook—Step 1 is being published for free to:

  • Improve the viability of social enterprises around the world by sharing social enterprise start-up knowledge as widely as possible; and to
  • Engage social entrepreneurs to help shape an expanded Social Entrepreneur's Playbook through participation in the Social Entrepreneur's Playbook Advisory Group (advisors will be asked to take an online survey by July 15, 2013, and share thoughts about what they need and want to develop their social enterprise).

Download the ebook, The Social Entrepreneur's Playbook, by Ian C. MacMillan and James D. Thompson.