Business planning

Five questions to help you pick the right startup idea

StartupSmart /

 

Chances are you felt inspired with a business idea at some stage. This inspiration sparked dreams where you could launch a business empire and achieve your dream lifestyle.

 

The next question is what typically stumps most aspiring entrepreneurs, though:  “How do I know if this business idea is the right one?”

 

Entrepreneurship becomes more enjoyable and less risky when you get the foundations right. One of the key aspects is selecting the right business idea.

 

Through working with aspiring entrepreneurs, I have uncovered five questions to ask when creating and investigating the feasibility of your idea.

 

1. What field do I have an unfair advantage in?

 

Think about the various advantages you have. It could be your technical background, knowledge of the industry landscape and diverse exposure to various markets. 

 

Also, you should factor in areas where you have a high level of interest. For example, what do you spend your leisure time doing? What type of experiences or materials do you spend the bulk of your disposable income on?

 

By combining your background and interests together, you can create value that is uniquely yours. This forms the foundation of your business idea.

 

2. What frustrates me the most?

 

When exploring gaps in the market, one of the most effective techniques is to interview yourself. Ask yourself: What is a frustration you currently face, that doesn’t have a solution?

 

By identifying those pain points, you immediately have a market of one. And since most of our problems are not unique, it is highly likely that others are facing similar problems too.

 

3. Who are my customers?

 

It is important to clarify and get intimately acquainted with the people you are serving.

 

While it is great to raise millions of dollars in investor funding, some entrepreneurs focus on seeking validation in the wrong places.

 

Ultimately, it is your customers who will determine if your startup sinks or swims.

 

Instead of raising funds you need to interview prospective customers, learn about the language they use to describe their pain points and even pre-sell to them on the solution before investing heavily in the production process.

 

 

4. How do I plan to acquire them?

 

After identifying your customers, you need to focus on customer acquisition. While attracting referrals through your network is one method, you need to reach out to your prospects directly.

 

The best way to start is to ask, “Where are my customers hanging out?”

 

Generating leads applies to both offline and online mediums. In offline settings, this could apply to industry meet-ups or training programs where you can speak and network.

 

In the digital world, this could refer to online forums, advertising platforms or social media where you can provide useful content.

 

5. What is my minimum viable product?

 

Lean testing allows you to validate the product concept and build an email list, even before investing in a product.

 

Similarly, you can decide on what would be the minimum viable product for your business. This MVP should provide a soundbite for your audience to benefit from in your potential offering before both parties invest heavily in each other.

 

Bin Teo is the marketing manager of brand marketing agency Social Star.

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