Ten Questions to Ask (and Answer) Before Launching Your New Business

Apr 6, 2012

It is important to learn as much as you can about your marketplace to ensure a successful launch of a new product or service. Think about the marketplace first and then consider the type of product or service you would like to offer. It’s all about meeting customer needs, not picking a product or service you think is cool or innovative.

Some people make the mistake of picking a product or service and later try to figure out how to sell it. This is the wrong approach. Successful entrepreneurs work to understand the needs of the marketplace (and their target market) before launching. 

Here are 10 questions you must be able to answer before picking a product or service to sell:

  1. Who makes up my potential marketplace?
  2. Do I have a firsthand understanding of the marketplace?
  3. What are my potential customers’ problems and needs?
  4. What are their areas of pain?
  5. Would they be willing to pay money to have these problems solved and who would make the decision to buy my product or service?
  6. What alternatives exist in the marketplace today to meet these needs?
  7. Who are the potential competitors in the space today?
  8. What are my competitors' strengths and weaknesses?
  9. What are the opportunities to better meet the needs of the marketplace?
  10. Can you provide a better or different product or service at a reasonable price (your unique selling proposition)?

Only after these 10 questions have been answered should you finalize your plans to sell a specific product or service. Start with the customer and work your way backward to the product or service you would like to offer.

Tim McEneny is the author of Unlocking Your Entrepreneurial Potential: Marketing, Money, and Management Strategies For The Self-Funded Entrepreneur. An entrepreneur and an innovator, he co-founded PurchasingNet Inc. in 1982 and developed the first Windows-based and first web-based automated purchasing software.

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