How a social enterprise is taking on the likes of Starbucks

February 6, 2016 by in category Big Heart Top Tips, Social Value with 1 and 1
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As a Community Interest Company, the Yellow Jigsaw team are always keen to shine the spotlight on success stories that prove you can achieve commercial aims while having a ‘purpose before profit’ model.

That’s why we visited Home, the Community Café creating a stir in Didsbury by turning the mainstream café culture on its head.

Coffee shops are part of the fabric of our society now, with coffee shops replacing pubs as the preferred space for social gatherings, and Starbucks, Costa and Café Nero filling our high streets.

With such barista behemoths dominating the market, how has an independent social enterprise gained a loyal following and put itself on the café culture map?

We spoke to Home’s founder and creative director Hannah Heasley to compile the top tips for social enterprises hoping to take on the big businesses:

Being a social enterprise is not an excuse for not having a slick brand image and PR.

To compete with big business it is important to look as good, if not better, than them. Home’s professionally designed website, shop front and promotional flyers ooze personality, and give customers the confidence in the brand to make a leap of faith from the familiar café chain to try something new.

Your social enterprise cannot rely solely on brand image to raise its profile. Hannah created a buzz through pre-launch events, press activity and pounding the pavements of Didsbury handing out flyers. By the time the launch arrived, Home felt like it had already built up a profile in the local area, giving the cafe the best chance of success.

Do it as well, if not better.

The branding is also an indication of the service you should expect inside: professional, responsive and friendly. Combined with high quality home-made food, Home is meeting the services standards that you would expect from a cafe. By getting these basic principles right from the start, whatever your sector, you are in a strong position to compete with the big businesses using your values-based approach to capture hearts and minds.

• Home is where the heart is.

What sets Home, and the majority of social enterprises apart, is a genuine commitment to helping people. By staying true to its social mission to create a space where everyone is accepted, engaged and connected, Home has offered added value to the customer looking for a feel-good feeling alongside their regular latte. At Home, Living Wage is a given. More than 40 volunteers are supported to get the most out of the experience; from gaining confidence to sharpening their English speaking skills. For customers, Home operates at a slower pace than you may expect from its chain competitors; creating an environment which is welcoming to all. Groups are welcome to use the ‘Living Room’ a community space which can be hired free of charge.

What shouldn’t be overlooked is the two years of persistence and grit demonstrated by Hannah to turn her vision into a reality. As Home reaches its first birthday in April, we wish the Home, Hannah and the team every success, and will be stopping by soon for a coffee with heart.

For more information on how Yellow Jigsaw can help you stand out from competitors with not for profit PR services, get in touch: hello@yellowjigsaw.co.uk

1 Comment

  • Julie Throup
    on February 17, 2016 Reply

    I agree, Home is a lovely cafe, so welcoming, and always something interesting going on.

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