We use markets as a way of bringing new micro-businesses into direct contact with potential customers, and even more to be connected with different views than themselves of the founder. Its a practise that comes from our work as designers, in that its a dangerous thing to make things that you think are right for others, without texting this at the very least on real people. Designers make this into a way of working that seeks out feedback throughout the process of developing a new idea, and this is at the core of how we work with new business ideas.
Our last market at Roman Road Yard Market is a case in point. With six different new business ideas, on two stalls over the course of the day we get to explore with potential customers, and some great hard critics who are interested enough to be there, but have no need to flatter anyone about what they are making. It’s not quite tough love, but it is a deep reality check for anyone thinking of starting something. We coach them in how to present half baked ideas, and what kinds of methods to use to get the feed back they need. It always gives them something valuable that they would not get by customer data alone, and builds a palpable sense of a relationship with a real customer.
We’re not unique – in other cultures (such as Jordan in the photo) many new entrepreneurs start with markets, as a kind of pre-pop up entry into starting out. We use it to get as much out of the experience as is possible for the entrepreneurs.
This works so well, we are looking for the next market to take this to. Any recommendations?