You start a new business with a blank sheet of paper. It is like a simultaneous market entry, new product development, channel development and organisation building project.
Although every venture is different, these questions will make sure you cover every angle.
I Executive Summary
[This will also be the content of your Elevator Pitch]
- Who is the target customer and what is their pain?
- What is your solution?
- Why will you win (why are you special)?
- What are the returns to investors?
II Why will our customer buy from us?
- Who is our target customer? (Be specific, if B2B, name a target company)
- What “pain” are we solving for the customer? What is the “job” customers are trying to get done?
- Who are the current competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How will they respond to our start-up?
- Why is our product/service differentiated in the customer’s eyes?
- What will we price the product at? Value-based pricing or Competitor-based pricing
- How will we sell/route-to-market? What is the offer to partners?
- How can we defend our competitive edge in the long term?
III What is our launch plan?
- Where are we today? What have we proven? What are our resources?
- What are the principle assumptions in the business plan?
- How are we going to test these assumptions cheaply and quickly?
- What are the other options when Plan A doesn’t work?
- What results/milestones are we going to achieve in the next 12 months?
- What are the greatest risks?
IV Do we have the right team?
- What skills/resources do we need to achieve our value-creating milestones?
- What does our venture need to be very good at?
- How does the experience/skills/contacts of our team fit with these needs?
- What skills will we need to recruit? Should we seek a “value-added” investor?
V What are the financials of our venture?
- What are the key drivers of our business economics?
- What is our cashflow projection?
- When does our business breakeven?
- Why is it attractive for an investor?
If this is a start-up within a bigger company, ask in addition:
- How does this opportunity fit with the corporate strategy?
- What resources can we leverage from the core business?
- What do we have to keep separate from the core business?
- How will this venture work with the core business?