Excel Formula Discount Based On Items Bought And Customer Type The Complete List of Things to Evaluate Before You Open or Invest in a New Venture

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The Complete List of Things to Evaluate Before You Open or Invest in a New Venture

Do you have an innovative idea that you want to market? Are you planning to open a new business? Are you investing in someone else’s idea?

If you said “yes” to any of these questions, don’t do it now!

Starting a new venture or investment can be an emotional process filled with anticipation and excitement. You should keep a cool head and treat the process with utmost fairness.

To help with that, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of questions you need to answer before even thinking about putting a business plan together. This will help you to ensure that any neglected variables will cause you to proceed incorrectly or not. Make sure you don’t skip any part of the process and end the exercise with a very honest yes or no decision based on the answers.

You will find it difficult if not impossible to answer some questions. It is very important to understand the certainty of each response and the risk implied by each unanswered question. Handle this risk by analyzing scenarios with different possible answers.

Write a simple comment on each question, formalizing your analysis. You can also think of each question in terms of a SWOT analysis, identifying it as a strength, weakness, opportunity, or threat.

Dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

Do this all the time

  • Be methodical, do thorough analysis. Understand the needs, competition and constraints, then tailor and differentiate.

  • Always be on the lookout for the fatal flaw that makes it fail.

  • Many questions cannot be answered or are too vague, checking the risk of not knowing them.

Don’t do this

  • Don’t follow the classic idea method: “I have an idea, let me think about how to push it to this channel or customer”.

  • Don’t focus on the features of the product, focus on the need you are trying to fulfill.

  • Don’t be tempted to skip the full analysis.

  • The most frequent mistake is to assume that everyone in the market thinks like you. If you like the product, everyone else will.

  • It is common to confuse a good idea with a good business opportunity, they are not the same.

  • Thinking “we have no competition” is only for naive entrepreneurs.

  • Don’t forget with the first mover advantage, most of the time the fund prefers the second mover because the idea is already validated.

Questions you need to answer:

product or service

  • Can you describe the business idea in 25 words or less?

  • Is the idea measurable? Is it limited in your time or something else?

  • Can you change/customize your offer later?

  • Risk of not being able to develop / manufacture the product?

market or customer

  • Can you do formal market analysis or just informal? (interviews, observations, focus groups, surveys, market experiments, etc.)

  • Who is the customer? How precisely can he be defined? Location, profile, etc.?

  • What problems are you solving? Why should customers buy? Does he want to?

  • Commercial risk, not willing to buy?

  • How big is the market? Growing or shrinking?

  • How far has the industry penetrated the market? What share can you get faster? later?

  • How much is he willing to pay? Based on what? How important is it?

  • How price conscious is your customer?

  • Risk of changes in consumer behavior?

  • Can the target market be changed later? Can you attack other levels in the value chain later?

Industry

  • Can you do formal analysis or just informal?

  • Is it thriving? Shrinking?

  • Do suppliers have power? Risk of supply shortages? Change in price?

  • Barriers to Entry:

  • . Contractual? Patent or trademark?

  • . Lead time in technological development? novelty?

  • . Management? man?

  • . Location?

  • . Rules and government?

  • . Other obstacles?

  • Can the odds be changed easily?

  • Do you have a relationship in place?

  • . Customers?

  • . Suppliers?

  • . Partners? talent? Investors?

  • Experience in the industry? yours? Other management?

  • Risk of regulatory or other government change or intervention?

  • The danger of technology becoming obsolete?

Competition

  • Can you do a formal competitive analysis? If not, what informal analysis can you do? Is it good?

  • Who is attacking the market? how? Successfully?

  • What is your competition’s pricing strategy?

  • What is the closest thing to your product’s target market? Are you a first mover? Second? More than that?

  • Strategic advantages / differences. Clearly visible to consumers or only in your mind? durable? True, important and proven?

  • . ceremony? design? Quality? Specificity? novelty?

  • . Delivery? Channel? Availability? Location?

  • . cost? Marketing? Sales?

  • . Ignorance of buyers?

  • . Customer service?

  • . Other?

  • Are you taking advantage of a certain opportunity, situation or advantage?

  • How fast can the competition be?

Channel

  • What options do you have?

  • Which ideal? Why?

  • If the first choice doesn’t work, does it make sense to try others?

  • What channels does your target market prefer?

  • What are your competitors using?

  • How much integration is there across channels?

  • Will the channel change with customer habits or technology?

  • Not at risk of reaching the right channel or consumer?

Sales and advertising

  • How do you get customers?

  • How will you retain customers? Is it important?

  • Describe the sales force needed?

  • Can a salesperson of ordinary skill sell it?

  • Do you need advertising? What type? how much Is it important?

Economics

  • How clearly can you model the basic economics of the idea? (cost, sales, margin, capital required, ROI, etc.)

  • Will there be economies of scale? Are they important?

  • Accounts Receivable? Could this be a problem?

  • How do you finance in the beginning? later?

Management

  • Do you have or can get the necessary management team?

  • Do management / leadership / organizational skills matter? How big a difference?

  • How valuable is intellectual property?

  • Does it make sense to do it alone? It usually doesn’t.

other

  • Certification:

  • . How quickly can you tell if a business can work or not?

  • . Can you define a variable to know it? How fast can data flow?

  • . Do you need to know product development? Dangerous!

  • . Do you need a long sales process or a lot of learning efforts? Dangerous!

  • Can you diversify? New ventures are not easy, but can it be done?

  • Give me the biggest weakness / risk (fatal flaw) of the idea? Who will make it fail?

  • List fatal errors that appear to be fixable.

  • Does this idea match your life purpose? Workload?

  • Do you feel passionate about the idea? Fun? Are you just doing it for the money?

  • Give me the opposite/best case scenario?

  • Give me the downside/worst case scenario?

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