Two Questions Every Startup Needs to Answer

Two Questions Every Startup Needs to Answer

These questions need to be answered if you plan on succeeding with your startup.

When it comes to launching a startup, there is a whole list of questions that need to be answered. As the CMO of two startups, I know what that list can look like: What are your five-year projections? What is your exit strategy? How about your deployment strategy? What are your costs? Is your model scalable?

Startup questions that need to be answered

These are all valid startup questions, and most teams have thought of the answers to all of them by the time they get to the point that they need to pitch to investors for Round A funding. (Or, in some cases, even seed funding.) But there are two questions that aren’t up there, and they are likely the two most important questions every startup needs to have answers for: What market problem is your product or service solving? And why is this product, and why are you the right person to solve it?

What market problem is your product or service solving?

This is the most important question you will ever ask yourself when launching a startup. You’ll often to hear to products or services referred to as solutions. That’s not just a fancy buzzword, it’s the defining characteristic. These are solutions, and you need to ask yourself what this venture will solve.

A lot of investors are wary of investing in hype products. And those that do will not invest all that much, if for no other reason than to see where an amusing product might go. Ultimately, these products fail or disappear.

Another important thing to consider is that your product needs to be viable in the future. It shouldn’t pigeonhole itself into a market that is over-saturated with indistinguishable products. It should be solving a larger scale market problem with a niche focus on that problem. It’s a little perplexing: solve an overarching problem with a niche focus? But that’s the trend.

A little while back, I wrote an article about the future of startups being niche-oriented. Simplicity is key, but purpose is even more important. Why will your product or service matter in a week, a month, a year or a decade? What is you plan in a decade from now and why will you still be relevant? That’s the first set of questions you need to answer.

Why is this the right product, and why are you the right person to solve this problem?

What makes you special? Again, ask yourself why in a decade your solution will still be relevant (or will have solved the problem entirely). This is always a hard question to answer. It is for that reason that it requires so much planning.

You never want to sound too self-preaching. It’s a turn off to a lot of people. That said, being overly modest leaves an equally bad taste. You want to assert that your product is the perfect solution for the problem you are trying to solve, but you want to do it by carefully outlining the whys, and not simply stating that it is without any clear, thoughtful justification.

Conclusion

Your justification for developing a product or service needs to be carefully thought out. The model of ‘It’s This for That’ is dying out. The startup world is becoming dangerously over-saturated, and those companies that rely on the identities of others to be relevant aren’t long for this world.

Know your market before jumping in with both feet. Identify where the market has its greatest pain points and figure out how your product solves these. This needs to be the framing of any pitch. Positioning yourself in this way, and recognizing how your can better your target market is how your startup will mature and survive.

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Corey Padveen is a data-oriented marketing professional with a focus on statistical analyses of human behavior. This specialization has led him to speak and present at dozens of conferences around the world, to write for a variety of reputable online and print publications, and recently, to publish ‘Marketing to Millennials For Dummies’ as part of the world-renowned ‘For Dummies’ series. He regularly shares real world examples and findings from his research, and discusses how members of society are evolving as consumers, communicators, and a global network as a whole.
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