Coming up with an innovative business idea may seem like the perfect opportunity to increase your revenue and grow your organization. But, have you stopped to consider what the risks are in the new venture? Sure, it may seem like a good idea now, but in the days and weeks following jumping in, fundamental flaws may arise, and by then it may be too late for your business. That’s why we asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
“What’s one question every entrepreneur should ask themselves before acting on their next business idea?”
Questions to Ask Before Starting a Business
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:
1. Does My Idea Meet a Need?
“First and foremost, you need to make sure that your idea is servicing a need. Is there a gap in the market? Why should your target market and the wider population care about this idea? At the end of the day, if there’s no audience, there’s no million-dollar idea. Once you can honestly answer these questions, you can look more seriously at taking your idea and turning it into a viable business.” ~ Stephen Ufford, Trulioo
2. Is This Feasible?
“You need to determine if you can afford to build out this business idea, if your family or anyone else close to you can handle this change, and whether you have the drive and determination to go the distance. It often is just about the idea, with little thought to the reality. Most entrepreneurs think they can just figure it out as they go. In reality, they need to know in advance.” ~ Serenity Gibbons, Calendar
3. Does My Product Add Value to a Customer’s Life?
“If not, don’t do it. As a man who has seen thousands of pitch decks, a business should not be pursued if it isn’t just that: a business. An idea doesn’t make money, time away from your children cannot be easily scaled, and for the most part, people have everything they need. Which means, you shouldn’t be in business unless you are adding value to people’s lives that they didn’t have before.” ~ Jason Criddle, Jason Criddle and Associates
4. Can I See Myself Doing This for Years?
“The beauty of entrepreneurship is that you can see the future. Literally, entrepreneurs see the world with their product or service solving a problem that exists today. What we see less well are the road bumps: problems and inevitable challenges that will shake your resolve. You’ll need to be willing to commit if you want to see it through.” ~ Jeff Epstein, Ambassador
5. Does It Work Within the Life I Want to Have?
“Building a business can be a huge time and energy sink and before you enter in, it’s important to be clear about the implications it will have on your life. Are you willing to put in the hours and energy, to suffer the ups and downs, say “no” to other things like time with friends and family or your hobbies? Make sure it’s worth it to you before you dive in.” ~ Darrah Brustein, darrah.co
6. Can It Be Monetized?
“All too often, entrepreneurs and creative individuals come up with grand ideas. Sometimes these ideas even solve important problems. While the good of the world is a great motivating factor, the most important element is whether or not it can be monetized. If your idea can’t generate income, move on to another that can and come back to your goodwill project once you’ve made money elsewhere.” ~ Claudio Sorrentino, Body Details
7. Can I Sell My Wife on the Idea?
“Getting buy-in from the wife is the ultimate test on whether an idea should be acted upon. If I can sell my wife on the idea, it’s a great idea. But, if I pitch to the wife and she’s not convinced, the idea most likely should constitute a “pass.” Relying on your partner to be an unbiased, external judge is a great way to separate the great ideas from the good ones, because they know you too well.” ~ Brett Farmiloe, Markitors Website Development
8. Can I Get a Complete Stranger to Buy My Product?
“People lie. People lie to their close friends and loved ones. People lie for convenience and to avoid conflict. Your family and close friends might not tell you the truth, if it means crushing your dreams. Try selling your product to complete strangers. The absolute best way to hear true feedback is from a stranger who is paying you their hard-earned money.” ~ Kevin Tao, NeuEve
9. Am I Motivated or Just Passionate?
“It’s important to know the difference between being motivated by something and being passionate about it. The obvious difference is that passion is fleeting and one should strive to find long-term motivators in one’s business.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
10. What Is the Legal Landscape?
“Never was the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” more true than when pursuing a new business idea. Before you invest any time and money, first check in with a business attorney to make sure you understand what you will be legally required to do when pursuing your idea and the ongoing legal costs and risks.” ~ Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC
11. What Am I Giving Up?
“Any time a new shiny object comes across your desk, there is always an associated cost of doing business. What are you going to lose by spending time on a new project instead of your existing business? How much are you prepared to lose by shifting your focus to something else? Either way, you’re losing something, so is it worth it?” ~ Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors
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