3 reasons why you should pilot your social enterprise idea.

Starting a business can sometimes feel like an enormous task, leaving entrepreneurs feeling overwhelmed. Start-up advisor Emma Ives shares some tips to get your idea moving quickly and cheaply.

Bringing an idea to life is one of the biggest challenges for start-up social enterprises and often leaves entrepreneurs needing help with where to start. A way to address this can be to pilot your idea, in part or in full, allowing you to test the market, gather evidence and build on your vision. 

What is a pilot? 

You may have heard about prototypes, MVPs, pilots, and Proof of Concepts (PoC). While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they describe different stages in the idea development process. This blog from NESTA and the diagram below offer a helpful definition of these concepts. 

A pilot tests a fully functional product (or service) offered to a portion of your target users. The purpose of running a pilot is to understand if your clients will use your product or service and how they use it in practice. 

Why pilot my idea? 

Here are three reasons why piloting your idea first is the way to go: 

  1. Starting with a pilot is helpful because you do not need to wait until you have a fully-fledged business to gather evidence of whether people want and need your product or service. By asking questions and gathering early feedback from your early users, you can use that valuable feedback to adjust and build a better product or service. As a social enterprise, you will also want to know if your product or service will positively impact the communities you are trying to support. 
  1. Piloting allows you to break down your idea into manageable steps that get you started on your journey towards the dream social enterprise business, which will help you manage those feelings of being overwhelmed. 
  1. Ultimately, piloting your idea allows you to develop your business for less cost and lower risk. By getting your almost-ready product out in the world, you can understand what works and needs tweaking in a relatively cost-effective way. This process will help you strengthen your business model and pricing strategy before launching.   

How do I get started

There are many ways you can go about piloting your business idea. It all comes down to breaking the concept into smaller elements so you can get started quicker. A key component will be thinking collaboratively – whether that is partners, stakeholders, customers, or beneficiaries – you can achieve more by making the most of your connections. 

At my workshop ‘Business Planning: Take your social enterprise idea to reality’, I work with a small group of social entrepreneurs, and together, we run through some of the practicalities of testing your idea and get you thinking about a manageable way to take your project from idea to reality. 

If you are ready to get started, join me on 30th November in Falkirk for the next in-person workshop session. 

Start-Up Workshop: Business Planning: Take your social enterprise from idea to reality will take place on 30th November 2023 at Falkirk CVS Falkirk and District, Unit 7b, Callendar Business Park, Callendar Road, FALKIRK, FK1 1XR.  

To book, follow this link.