Manchester Enterprise School 2012 – Day 2 – Market research

 Here’s my ramblings from the second day of the Enterprise School at the Lake District…

It’s been almost a month since that day and unfortunately I have lost my notes somewhere on the train so I’ll have to rely on my memories which are fading… But I’ll have a go at it.

The day began with a lecture on researching the market and consumer opinions and soon after that we were kindly informed that we’ll go out in Keswick to collect some data which may support or dismiss our business ideas. All of that seemed fine at first – going out, talking to people, interviewing, I like all that kind of stuff. And here’s the BUT… but we had to come up with an idea first! After the lecture I felt slightly puzzled but still excited in thinking that we could actually come up with something good. Then all groups returned to the break out rooms and all the thinking began…

We played safe with brainstorming three ideas then we decided we would split in pairs and do the research for each idea. Each pair took the idea they liked most and it sounded good enough and much like a plan so we came up with individual strategies, research and interview questions and off we went to town…

At first I was enthusiastic about the vocational training idea I was to explore, first of all because it wasn’t directly tourism related and I initially thought that we shouldn’t go the same route everyone else would go, and secondly, I perceived it to be quite useful and practical for local businesses. Thirdly, I envisaged it to develop as a small business managing the training and training places. It was the point when reality met my preconceptions and expectations as a researcher when I realised how wrong it could be trying to find solutions as an outsider…. People in the local area were quite happy with the way things were and did not really want anything to change. It seemed that being focussed on problems within the area we had missed the fact that people have found ways to either address them or live with them. After an hour and a half full of realisations, pushing my own limits and desperately trying to revive the business idea, my whole team met for a quick recap. Interestingly enough, the other pairs met the same sort of resistance from the community. As a result we just decided to go with the most plausible idea where we had a couple of tourists confirm that it might actually work.

The rest of the day seemed calm once we were sure what were going to go for. Yet it wasn’t clear how we’ll be developing a business plan, calculate costings and finances and go about advertising but it felt like we were one step closer… I was well worried about all of these but I would say that the day ended with some sense of satisfaction that I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone once again.

I found it difficult to operate in the world of business just because the expectations and language were different. I knew I was getting all research-y and stuff trying to brainstorm good ideas but these would not necessarily work in practice. This made me think about the whole isolation of being an academic researcher and impact… we come up with some ideas that are interesting and innovative but are they really practical? Are they what people need? In the context of my own research I can confidently say that it will make a difference, it is original, appreciated and potentially useful. However, being taken out of my field which I know quite well, and thrown into a completely different environment made me less realistic and more detached from the practicalities… Interesting shift I would say.

Any thoughts?


*And a promise – Days 3 and 4 posts tomorrow!


One comment

  1. Everyone is really having difficulties on handling business,now a days it is really stressful because of competition and other issue,in Finland country most of the business have their own consulting services to give them advice in case of hard choosing and decision to a better business.

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