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November 23, 2018

Testing Your Business Idea: 20 Questions for Start-Up Success

Thinking about launching a small business and embarking on an exciting entrepreneurial journey? That’s wonderful news and here at Community Futures Saskatchewan, we are 100% committed to helping you succeed in every way possible!  

In order to help you determine the ideal nature and scope of your start-up, we’ve put together a list of helpful and insightful questions that will help get your creative juices flowing and hopefully generate some real possibilities for you and your business model. 

Before you invest a great deal of time or money into your idea, it’s vital to consult with experts and tirelessly test your product/service idea with prospective customers. So many aspiring small business owners neglect this crucial step due to perceived cost or a fear of negative feedback, but without this validation, your viability is truly left hanging in the balance.

All too often, new entrepreneurs can become blinded by their passion and personal bias, which can lead to disastrous results. While you may be convinced that your business idea is a brilliant and profitable one, without adequate research, objective input, and hard data, you may be setting yourself up for failure. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you going to need to roll up your sleeves to get on with the challenging and important work of diligently researching and testing your business ideas. This is going to take time and commitment. 

And, we really can’t stress strongly enough the crucial importance of this step! In order to assist you in this process, we’ve compiled a collection of questions that require your careful contemplation from the outset. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it will give you a very good idea of the factors you’ll want to consider in advance of investing any considerable resources into your idea:   

  1. Am I interested in selling products or services or both? Be sure to list all of the possibilities.
  2. What are my special strengths, skills, gifts, and talents that people would happily pay me for?
  3. If time and money weren’t considerations, what would I do with my life?
  4. What do people thank me for most often? 
  5. What could I see myself enjoy doing all day, everyday that I could potentially create a sustainable business around?
  6. What unmet need in the marketplace would I like to address? 
  7. What problem would I like to solve? Be it big, small, locally or globally.
  8. What advantages can I bring to the table that will set me apart?
  9. What size of business do I want? For example, do I want to build an empire and have lots employees or do I want to be a solopreneur with location independence?
  10. What are the things that I am currently doing in my life and career that I would really like to never do again?
  11. What kind of start-up capital, if any, is necessary to launch the business idea I’m thinking of?
  12. Is there a clearly defined and/or established market of people already spending money on the product or service I’m considering?
  13. Who are the experts in the field/niche/industry I’m considering that I could learn from and potentially connect with?
  14. What companies are successfully executing my chosen business model and what makes them great? 
  15. What books, magazines, articles, or websites should I refer to for additional information on the industry I’m interested in?
  16. Who do I know personally that could give me great advice about the niche, product, or industry that I’m considering?
  17. What skills are absolutely essential to experiencing success with this business model?
  18. What are the obstacles or pitfalls that I need to be aware of? 
  19. How does this business model align with my life goals?
  20. Am I 110% willing, excited, and able to dedicate the majority of my time and energy to this idea for the foreseeable future?

Once you’ve had a chance to consider these questions, we’d love to hear from you! Community Futures Saskatchewan has 13 locations across the province and we are dedicated to helping emerging entrepreneurs launch smart, successful, and exciting businesses. Our expertly trained and helpful staff can provide you with all of the advice, support, and resources you need from the very beginning! If you visit our website you can easily find the office nearest you, in addition to lots of valuable information, tips, and tools. 

And while you’re there, you can also download our latest e-book, “12 Great Reasons to Start a Small Business in Rural Saskatchewan” for even more start-up inspiration and motivation!