photo by charles chan
Startup Questions. Questions Are The Start Of Startup
The startup journey begins with discovery and quickly moves into business modeling. In the early stages of business modeling there are only questions, or so it seems.
Each question calls us further and further into understanding. Businesses are built on assumptions and assumptions begin as questions.
Curiosity is critical throughout the entire startup process.
The entrepreneur cannot afford to be rigid, inflexible and all knowing, she must be reality based and admit that ‘ she does not know what she does not know.’ It is the unknowing that leads us forward.
Pride has killed more than one venture. Learn to embrace all that you do not yet understand and know about your idea, venture, business…
Questions are your friends and someday with due diligence they will lead you to business assumptions.
A Few Startup Questions to get you STARTED thinking:
How do we know our business is really a want, desire or need of others?
What are the attributes of the problem that we are solving?
What other products and solutions currently in the marketplace provide these benefits?
What makes our solution; products or services different?
How will we consistently deliver our differentiated solution (recipe of attributes- our products and services)
Who are our target client groups?
Define all the potential segments/types of customers
What do our clients value?
How will we learn about our client groups?
What secondary research confirms our assumptions about what our client’s value?
How can we be sure these attributes are high value to our client?
What is the cost to bring this recipe of attributes, solution to market?
How is it monetized? What are revenue streams?
What are costs?
How does the model make money?
What are the key financial numbers to make this business work?
What information or research would lead you to not launch this business/
What is the amount of capital needed?
How does cash flow in this operation?
How is our solution different from the competitor’s solutions?
What is the client/target client segments purchasing now for their problem, desire, need?
Why will they switch?
What are complimentary solutions; products and services to our proposed business/solution?
What is the market opportunity?
What is the bigger market that we are a part of and of that what is our niche? How big is this -why?
Who are the leaders in our market now and why?
What is each of our competitors key attributes/their differentiated success recipe?
How are we different from each key competitor?
Do we offer something truly unique, is it higher value; why, how?
How will we estimate our sales- per channel/product/service/target client segment?
What information can we use for realistic sales projections for year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5?
What are all the elements of our business that will incur cost/expenses?
How will we get accurate cost/expense information?
How will we determine our price?
What do we need to know to set prices: competitive landscape, market, targets, alternatives, costs…?
Will our price include guarantees, rebates, warranties, membership etc?
How will clients find out about us?
How will our story be easily shareable across social media?
Where are our client groups and our tribe online?
How will we reach our target group offline?
What is our brand?
What is our brand promise? Our value proposition?
What is the gut feeling our client has when we’ve done our job right- ? ( that ‘s your brand1)
What is our plan to promote our business in year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and who’s doing this and what is the cost?
Who are strategic partners?
What are the channels of distribution?
How does your solution move from you to the end user? What are all the costs involved?
How is your product/service designed? Delivered?
What are the quality controls, training education to guarantee you deliver your solution?
What are the operations of this business like?
What’s included, what must we do after we launch to gurantee success?
Key drivers of success for this business are? Why?
What is this business really all about?
What must happen for this business to succeed?
And what is success for this business:
What are all the skills, expertise and knowledge we will need to launch this venture?
Which of those skills, expertise and knowledge do we have?
Now how can we get the rest of the skills, expertise and knowledge on the team?
What part of your team can be advisors, what part contractors and what part are employees?
What are all the capital, equipment needed to succeed and how will you gets this?
What are the elements of your profit and loss statements?
All revenues all costs
How many products and services do you have and how does that change over time and how does it change capital needed, cash flow and your cost structure?
What is the min life return on investment you want from this venture?
What is the financial return on investment you want from this venture?
Why invest precious time of your one and only incredible life in this venture?
How does this model scale, grow?
What current trends are in sync with this model?
Is it the right time for this business?
Why are you the right person to launch this venture?
Now Create Your Own questions- try to get as many as possible under each one of the following categories
Product/Service; Revenue Streams
Cost structure; recipe of costs
And some inspiration…