20 Questions that Can Validate Your Bright Business Idea
It’s a long journey from idea to execution. Particularly in the startup world, a lot of work will go into figuring out whether a great business idea can actually turn into a valid business.
Fortunately, you can streamline that work. In fact, a number of questions can help you determine whether the idea you just had is actually worth focusing on in the way of starting (or expanding) your business. Here are 20 questions you can ask to validate your startup business idea.
1) What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?
Don’t fall into the trap of developing a product or service without a need. The best business ideas solve problems for your audience, helping them make their lives more productive, convenient, or successful.
2) How Have Others Tried to Solve that Problem?
Of course, most problems already have some solutions available on today’s market. Those solutions may differ from yours; still, it makes sense to examine exactly how consumers or businesses today are solving their challenges without you.
3) Does Your Business Idea Already Exist in the Market Today?
In the course of the second question, you may come across a product that already pursues the same angle and solution as your idea. If that occurs, the chances of a successful business launch decrease dramatically. Ideally, your product should be unique in the solution it provides.
4) What Benefits Would Your Product/Service Provide?
If an audience starts using your product, what can they get out of it? The more significant the benefits are, the more likely your product or service will be to succeed.
5) What Features Would Lead to Those Benefits?
Your audience cares about the benefits provided by your solution, but product features help to get there. The better and more clearly you understand these features, the more you can focus on the ones that are directly related to improving the lives of your customers.
6) Who Would Be Your Direct and Indirect Competitors?
Direct competitors are those trying to address the same challenge as you, in the same market place. Indirect competitors tend to compete for your audience’s time and attention, though their products probably won’t be next to you in the aisle or a Google search result. A comprehensive competitive analysis can get you started in answering this question.
7) How is Your Product Different From Those Competitors?
Once you know your competitors, differentiation is key. You should be able to easily tell your audience exactly why they should choose to devote their attention or money to your product or service instead of other brands.
8) Is There Something Proprietary About Your Product or Service?
The more difficult it is for other companies to copy you if you’re successful, the longer-lasting your competitive advantage will be. Determine whether your idea or product is patent-able, uses proprietary computer coding, or can be exclusive to you in some other way.
9) Have You Performed a SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT Analysis has been a key part in countless business plans. It allows you to analyze your internal strengths and weaknesses, along with the external opportunities and threats in your business environment and market place.
10) Do You Have the Resources Necessary to Launch?
You’ll need both time and money, either on your own or in form of an investment. Any product or company launch has to have these initial resources to get started.
11) Can You Lean on Someone Already in the Industry?
The best way to break into an industry is to work closely with someone who already knows it. A mentor can help you make more informed decisions about investments, supply chain management, production, and a go-to-market strategy.
12) What is the Size of Your Target Market?
Depending on your product, you may look to capture a broad or a niche audience. Both can be successful. However, the size of the audience can be vital in helping you determine whether your product idea is viable, and how quickly you can become profitable.
13) Have You Asked for Audience Feedback?
No one will be more honest about your product than potential customers. Through both formal and informal feedback, you can determine whether your idea would actually resonate with your audience.
14) Do You Have the Potential for Lead Generation?
If you can get interested members of your target audience to sign up on your website for more information, you can better understand the interest level in your business idea. In addition, you can also build a database that will help you more quickly and successfully launch the product when you’re ready.
15) Can You Develop a Minimum Viable Product?
To increase your chances of success, you should always test the market. A minimum viable product is essentially a prototype that can help you just that, more accurately determining interest level and market potential.
16) Would Your Audience Be Willing to Pre-Order?
Pre-orders can both provide you with starting capital and gauge your audience’s interest in your business idea. If you can get customers to order a product based on nothing but mock-ups or blueprints, you have a great foundation for future success.
17) Who Will Produce the Product?
In other words, will you be responsible for production, or will you work with a partner? The earlier you can get this production question sorted out, the more you can focus on your actual go-to-market strategy.
18) If You Are Successful, How Can You Scale?
Assume that your business idea is a great success. What’s next. How can you continue to grow the business, increase production, and maintain or even improve effectiveness? Meeting demand is a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless if you cannot manage it.
19) What is Your Break-Even Point, and How Fast Can You Get There?
It makes sense to understand just when you can begin to actually earn money from your product. Some (such as household commodities) require little initial investment, and can break even quickly. Others (such as software) take greater initial investment and come with a longer break-even point. The more you know about your cycle, the better you can plan.
20) Will Your Product/Service Be Investible?
Finally, it makes sense for you to understand whether investors would actually be willing to come on the journey with you. Their interest is in profit, so this question is closely connected to the above. Startups can be successful without external investments, but if you are looking for these investments, build your business plan with that question in mind.
To go from idea to a successful startup business takes time and strategy. Fortunately, the above questions can get you started in getting to that point. And when you get there, you need an effective website to help you build interest, grow sales, and sustain your success. When you’re ready, contact us to get started.