So you call yourself an entrepreneur.
You compulsively view the world in terms of opportunity, and you can name a dozen business ideas for products and services you’ve wished existed for years but still don’t. And you think you’ve got the charisma and determination to build a talented team that can turn one of your ideas into reality.
Well great! Good for you! Positive change in any field begins with a dream. But keep in mind that most people think they’ve got the next million dollar idea, and even the most brilliant eureka moment won’t amount to a hill of beans if it can’t be executed in a way that makes, well, millions of dollars.
The key difference between a would-be business owner with a notebook full of unrealized ideas and an entrepreneur is an exhaustive business
model. A sound business, after all, thrives at the mercy of its target consumers. And so even if you produce and sell the best performing, longest lasting, most cost effective octagon-shaped pie pans in the world, if pie pan purchasers don’t know or care about or buy your pie pan, you’re sunk.
So how can you transform your idea into a sustainable business? Ask the right questions. Your idea needs to be run through a gauntlet of practical questions to see whether it could really turn a profit.
And so may I present: The Step Zero Viability Checklist:
1. What problem are you solving and how big is this problem?
2. What’s your solution? What makes your solution the best?
3. How will you make money, and how much will you make?
4. How will you market your product or service?
5. Who are your competitors? What makes you better?
6. Do you have the proper team to pull this off?
7. How much money do you need before you can start turning a profit?
Consider this a template for your first fundraising presentations. Because any investor you’d want to have on board will ask these questions before they invest a dime into your new venture. And your job will be proving your idea has real business potential.
But don’t forget to have fun, and make sure to launch a business in an industry you’re knowledgeable about and interested in. If you do, your work will be a pleasure, and if you don’t, you’ll wish you had. If you don’t like pie, for example, you probably shouldn’t make weirdly shaped pie pans.
Vince Leung is co-founder of @MentorMob, the online community that’s revolutionizing web navigation and learning.