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Wednesday was our foray into doing effective market research. Dave Pollard was again with us, this time leading the group in a conversational role-play about getting first-hand information from the customers, suppliers and other stakeholders of an enterprise. The idea is to test the business idea and illuminate the needs of the clientele, possible hurdles and viability issues and possibilities not yet thought of. It is a process that normally would happen after a fair amount of secondary research, but as an exercise it was useful to get a feel for how the process works, what you might need to do to prepare for it and what kinds of things you can learn from it.

The business idea we used was a Transition Life Skills School. The objective of our questioning/conversing was to answer the following questions:

  • Do you think the proposed enterprise will succeed in our community?
  • Does it meet a real need that isn’t already being met?
  • If so, why isn’t someone already doing it?
  • What obstacles need to be overcome and how might they be approached?
  • How could the idea be tweaked to make it better?
  • Do the competencies exist among the potential partners to make it a success?
  • Were there any other needs identified?

While we didn't exhaustively answer these questions in the short time we had, I believe we did generate a lot of useful ideas on the context and challenges of the concept. It's author, Laura, will now need to evaluate how, or even whether, to pursue it further.

Meanwhile, we all continue to zero in on our Sweet Spot and fill in gaps in our knowledge of the Natural Enterprise process. Our next session will be a continuation of this market research process, and next steps after that will include learning the process of finding suitable partners with whom we share a sense of purpose and who's gifts complement our own.

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