Before a trading idea can be developed it can prove useful to
discuss the following within your organisation. This should help to
formulate ideas and structure your approach to trading.
Why do you want to trade?
You must be clear from the beginning why you want to trade.
Deciding on why you trade will influence all your future
activities. Consider whether you will be trading to further your
organisation's mission or simply to make money. Will trading help
subsidise other non-financing activities? Can trading be
incorporated into core services or is there a need to develop a new
Or is the way or working more important, for instance creating
employment for disadvantaged groups, such as setting up a social
firm?Social firms are organisations whose aim is to create real
employment or training opportunities for people marginalised from
the labour market. For further information visit www.socialfirmswales.co.uk/.
What are you selling now?
What assets do you have? This could be people, property or
skills. Can these assets be traded? What levels of income could be
achieved? Think laterally to get the real value from your
What can you sell?
Assets are not always visible or tangible. Consider also the
skills, knowledge and intellectual property within your
organisation. Intellectual property includes copyrighted materials,
trade secrets, and know-how, in addition to four types of
industrial properties - patents, utility models, designs, and
trademarks. Can these assets be traded?
What do you want to sell?
It is not always possible to develop every idea that is
generated. The skills, finance and capacity of your organisation to
deliver trading must be considered.
Who will your customers be?
They maybe your users, such as in the case of'cost
recovery'where you charge users a minimal fee or membership simply
to cover costs. Alternatively your customers may be a third party
from the public or private sector. It is extremely important to
identify who your customers are, what their requirements are and
how best to meet those needs effectively.
How much will you charge?
Any trading activity should at least cover costs but ideally
should be self-financing and ideally generate a surplus to support
your organisation. You should ensure that your organisation does
not have to subsidise a trading activity. Adopting a full cost
recovery approach to finances should help to manage. For further
details on full cost recovery, visit the Full
Cost Recovery website.
Who can you work with?
Formingrelationshipswith potential partners can help to bring in
new skills and funding and can assist trading activity on a much
Who will your competition be?
Is your product or service currently offered by another service
provider in the community? If so, how can your product or service
compete, how is it unique, better quality or more competitively
How are you going to sell?
Investing in new skills such as marketing and communication is
vital to the success of a trading venture.Some organisations are
oftenunwilling to get involved in promotional activity, but as well
as helping you to market goods and services, developing the right
marketing skills can reap tremendous benefits for your
Marketing is an essential skill that can help demonstrate your
worth to funders, promote goods or services to users and help raise
your profile in the community. Thus investing in marketing skills
and resources can deliver real benefits as well as generating
valuable income for your organisation.
WCVA and many county voluntary councils
(CVCs) host training and workshops in marketing skills or can
direct you to other local providers. You must ensure that as many
potential customers as possible know about your product and service
and how they can access it.