The next way to develop our ideas is to check the competition. So we had to go and find three similar businesses and get a few bits of info on them. Due to my idea being quite new, I wasn't able to find anything just like it, but I found a club that did car sharing (London Surf Club) only thing is that it wasn't a social network. Still it is useful to see the closest idea and see how they run things.
Product: They are selling a membership to be part of a group of Londoners who car share to go to spots around the country.
Process: The London Surf Club sell the membership via their website and link share with surf related sites to gain viewers.
Customer: Surfers in the London area.
Distribution: It is just a membership, so email/mail.
Costs: Membership £30/year Costs of trips vary as it up to the driver of the car and depends on car type/distance travelled/amount of people (and kit) going.
Set-up: It is managed by a committee elected like a club, who then decide how best to deal with aspects of the club.
More info: Going since 1981. Aim “to put London surfers in touch with each other and go surfing as often as possible, using a car-share philosophy.” Basic member area (lists contact details and a forum…). They have a monthly meeting in a bar in London. Last Weds of every month except Dec. Each year they try to have several official club events including easter/summer/winter surf trip, dvd evening, surf clinics, BBQ, picnic in the park. £30/a year for ‘membership’ Car share fuel costs debatable with car owner. Membership typically excess 100-200 members... London only.
They even have a useful way to work out petrol costs which will be something to consider…
Only thing is that its not an online social network.
Product: A (biodiesel) bus service taking surfers from most cities to the coast.
Process: Online enquiry.
Customer: Surfers (groups of) around England in cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham.
Distribution: The bus will go and pick the customers up from their corresponding cities.
Costs: From £50 PP return. The more people go the less it costs.
Set-up: Two Newquay lads, one manages accommodation, the other sorts out the bus travel arrangements.
More info: Runs a bus service for surfers/windsurfers/kiters that uses biodiesel (Devon and Cornwall’s used cooking fat) that can transport your group from London, Manchester, Birmingham or any other city to the sea.
Not a social network or car sharing network, just a bus service with the option of sorting accommodation.
Product: A another bio diesel bus that drives from London to Newquay every Friday.
Process: Online, and word of mouth.
Customer: Surfers living in London.
Distribution: The bus picks the users up.
Costs: The bus costs £74PP return. Extra for accommodation depending on trip type.
Set-up: Co founded by Rhona Gardiner. Organises transport and possible accommodation depending on trip type (this also goes for activities other than surfing).
More info: Surf bus leaves Hammersmith at 5.45pm on Friday evening. They also sometimes do over sea bus trips (Morocco) and mini getaway breaks. And can cater for large corporate groups. They can also organise surfing lessons too.
Again not a car sharing network though. Also not a social network.
So from my research it is clear my idea is new in the sense there will be a social network there for people to organise trips, which none of these sites currently offer. But I will defiantly be taking into account the information I have found about these three companies for ideas when continuing to develop my idea.