Evaluate Your Pitch
This week I was asked to help flesh out a guy’s idea for a new business, so I came up with these 20 questions that help pitch your business. I shared these questions with this guy as a way to help him evaluate whether to keep going or quit working on his idea.
I love listening to new business ideas, but my ears pricked up and a warning bell sounded inside my head about 3 minutes into this consultation.
- Although this guys is educated and articulate he could not succinctly explain to me his idea.
- He was having a hard time telling me which part of his idea he wanted my help with.
- As he talked he jumped from one point to another and then back again, retracing his steps several times.
When I got home I just couldn’t get this man’s idea out of my head. I knew instinctively that his idea would require an enormous amount of capital, and I knew he would have to look for investors. Investors don’t bite on something they can’t see clearly, and this guy was far from clear.
The next morning I had an e-mail from him asking for more consultation. But he didn’t need help from me, he needed to get clear in his mind how to talk about his idea. So I sent him these 20 questions and suggested that he might frame up his answers to help himself decide if his idea was worth pursuing.
My 20 questions are good for newbie business owners or for entrepreneurs looking to make sure their business survives.
- Who are the people (or industry) your business will serve?
- What exactly is the problem you will solve for them?
- What percentage of these businesses would agree with you that it’s a problem seeking a solution?
- Is your solution cheaper than what they are currently doing?
- What’s the downside of using your service versus the existing way of doing things?
- How would you scale this service over your first year?
- Would you piggyback and do a joint venture with an existing delivery mechanism or create an entirely new delivery system?
- If you don’t joint venture for delivery how will you quickly staff up?
- How will you screen new staff?
- What specifically is your plan for onboarding new staff?
- Would you franchise this business?
- What is your logistics mechanism? An app? Laptop software? Both?
- Would an app or software integrate with existing commonly used software in this industry?
- How big a sales team would you need?
- Would you bond the people who deliver for you?
- How would you roll this out? By state? By region?
- Have you researched any state-wide laws that affect this service?
- What would you call this and how would you brand it?
- What top two ways would you market this?
- Would you look for investors? If so, where? Venture capitalists? Angel investors? Investors from within this industry?
By the end of the day I’d heard from the guy again. Within just a few hours he realized that he could not answer even half of these questions. But the questions that stopped him cold were 2, 3, and 4 above. He realized that just because he had a new business idea it didn’t mean that his idea was needed. Sometimes the ideas we have are great to us but the potential buyers just don’t see it as a big problem. In this case, his potential buyers have been solving their issue since time began in one way, and it would be difficult to convince them they had a big problem and needed to make a change.
Cold Water Questions
I call these 20 questions “cold water” questions. If you can answer them you’d good to go to the next level of planning. If you can’t, it’s like cold water in your face – they keep you from wasting time and money.
While all these questions aren’t appropriate for evaluating every business at least some of them will apply to you. If you need help evaluating a new business idea or how to revamp an existing business you might consider an hour or half a day of consultation with me. You can get details for a One and Done hour with me here. If you need more time we can set up a half day consultation either virtually or in person.
- Ask these 20 questions that help you pitch your business and you’ll be able to decide go or no-go on your idea.
- If you have questions to add to the list, please share them below. Thanks!
- For more about one-word marketing read this blog post.
- To get details for a consultation go to my One and Done Consultation Hour