How to sell Big Macs in India: A lesson for social entrepreneurs

Social Enterprise

How to sell Big Macs in India: A lesson for social entrepreneurs

The Big Mac is an example of how to provide a locally-sourced, quality product. Photo: Phil Dragash/Flickr

Social enterprises often takes their cues from venture capital, but a recent article at Co.Exist claims there is a lot to learn from the big, bad transnational corporations as well.

One surprise from the article: Did you know McDonalds usually buys from local suppliers? In fact, local partnerships play an important role in determining what goes on a McDonalds menu.

The Big Mac is a model for how social enterprises can balance product quality with the desire to find local suppliers. This can mean offering less options and focusing on what locals can readily supply:

Sometimes to scale up, you first have to scale your product or service down to what you can procure locally or what you can expect local staff and volunteers to provide consistently. ... The key is figuring out exactly what level of complexity is required for a uniform quality of service or product, and adapting locally as needed. Big Macs in India, for example, are made from chicken instead of beef and are known as Maharaja Macs.

Author Oscar Abello also criticizes NGOs for the constant turnover of interns and short-term consultants, many of whom end up as project managers after a few months in the company. In contrast, transnational corporations give talented employees opportunities for advancement within the company, grooming potential in-house leaders for top positions. By taking a cue from transnational corporations, social enterprises can both improve their products and cultivate more effective leadership.

Read the original article here.

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