For-profit businesses have significant influence over the behavior of markets and can therefore play an enormous role in raising awareness, setting standards, directing demand, and driving innovation. Business leaders can pave the way to a 21st century economic system by helping legitimize and mainstream for-benefit enterprise.
They can leverage their voice to raise awareness, their purchasing power to create market demand, their investments to support and scale, and their innovation capacity to start their own for-benefit products, services, or enterprises.
The following are some pathways individual businesses can pursue to help scale the fourth sector and benefit by doing so:
1. Design and launch new for-benefit ventures by leveraging products and services, know-how, core competencies, and assets.
2. Chart a path to becoming a for-benefit enterprise.
3. Leverage purchasing power to create demand for for-benefit businesses in value chains and transform suppliers.
4. Invest in for-benefit business lines, divisions, and enterprises.
5. Partner with for-benefits to incubate new products, services, and business models.
6. Contract with for-benefits to deliver products and services.
7. Provide skilled volunteers, incubation, mentorship, and in-kind or financial contributions to for-benefits.
8. Empower and train employees to help reshape corporate strategy around purpose and develop pathways for transformation.
9. Forge partnerships to identify the greatest leverage points and opportunities for aligning business model with societal challenges.
10. Champion the need to remove barriers and level the playing field for for-benefit enterprises with governments, industry groups, standards bodies, and other rulemaking institutions.