Paul Polak is one of my role models. I had the pleasure of attending his lectures at the BoP World Expo in Singapore last summer. He's a delightful person with a very unique sense of humor. At Shudhatta, we use his strategy of "at least a million" to reach people who live on less than $2 a day.
His "Don't Bother Trilogy" is:
If you haven't had good conversations with at least 25 customers before you start If the product or service you design doesn't pay for itself three times in the first year If you can't sell at least a million of them DON'T BOTHER!
This philosophy isn't just applicable to social enterprises, but it really holds true for most businesses. The key strategies we specifically use are:
Small Margin x Large Volume = Attractive Bottom Line Design for Radical Affordability Implement Profitable Last Mile Supply Chains
At Shudhatta, we are still developing the 3rd one, that is setting up the infrastructure for profitable supply chains. This model has been crucial to how we operate.