While we are surrounded by many innovative business ideas, there is a struggle with separating the good ones from the not-so-good ones and how to articulate concepts to partners, investors and customers. A consequence of this is that good startups and new products fail to succeed. What is often missing is knowing what to ask and how to address these questions. The early process is therefore highly valuable in order to define and communicate a business idea and concept. A series of questions may be a simple yet strong tool to take you through a process where you can distinguish good ideas from the weak ones.
Before hesitating into a new business, make sure to answer a series questions that will stand as a powerful framework. Here are 5 to begin with:
Who are your customers?
Try to be as specific as possible when presenting the types of customers you will turn to. Avoid being to broad in your description, as a nonspecific target group will be unhelpful. Are your customers girls, boys, women or men, and in what age? What are their common interests? Or are your customers ecommerce companies, big chains or retailers? With B2B customers, it is important not only to specify the type of enterprise that could be interested in your services, but details such as job description of the typical potential user.
What are your customer’s unmet needs?
In what way is your service designed to address the needs of your customer? It could be an acute need, and in other cases, it could be a service or product that is less of a need than a want. Generally, you will encounter greater demand for your service based on the extent that it is addressing a more burning need. Ask yourself, is your service a “must have”, or a “it would be nice to have”?
How are these needs addressed at the moment?
Do not think that your customers are not addressing the need already. They probably are, but maybe with a less smooth method. Remember, before the antilock braking systems, drivers pumped their breaks manually. Before the CRM systems, businesses tracked customers by lists and spreadsheets.
What solutions do you offer?
What product or service, or combination, will you offer you customers? You should seek to be able to describe your solution in a single and clear sentence. Try it out. Test your brief solution description among several people, and see if they all understand it in the same way and correctly. Many descriptions are very often too vague leaving people confused and with question marks. Make sure yours is clear.
How will your customers benefit?
Asking this will help you to articulate the value proposition of your business. It this worth pursuing? That is the foundational question when when a new business idea comes to mind. Sometimes it may appear strong at first, but prove to be insufficient, and the converse.
These filtering questions, among others, bring clarity. You will find some ideas weak, abandon them and move on. Others will show potential, and through this you will find them worth a more detailed examination on some questions, developing a stronger business plan.