We can't overstate the importance of market research - particularly for a social enterprise. The reason it's so important can be summarised as follows: there may be a social need, but is there market demand?
What do we mean by this? Identifying a social need is a vital first step for a social enterprise - after all without a social need, it wouldn't be a social enterprise would it?
But the second question is just as important - how will you make money meeting that social need? Will the people who buy your product or service pay for it - or will another organisation (eg a regeneration initiative or a Local Authority) pay you to meet a need on their behalf?
It's far too easy to forget about the second question - but if you're going to make it in social enterprise - you have to start answering that question - now!
The market research section is on page 3 of the social business plan template - we suggest that you have a look at what we've written - and have a read through the notes from Wednesday's session with Affinity.
To get you started, have a look at the suggestions on the next blog entry - getting started on your market research. You could also have a look at this post on my other blog about why you need to remember that you are not your customer.