Hey Owen, this is why your last business idea failed

Most of the time I jump before looking.

This gets me into all sorts of trouble.

So, now I talk to myself.

And the conversation goes something like this…

1. Hey, Owen, are you passionate about it?

No, I mean really passionate?

You know, mate, we have an abundance of energy for the things we’re passionate about and its this energy that drives a project forward.

The upward, positive emotional shift you feel around your project is your guide to knowing if the path is right for you. Got it?

  • Do you feel an upward shift in your happiness when discussing or thinking about your idea?
  • Will you still love it in the morning?
  • Is it something you’ve been thinking about for awhile?
  • Is it your dream occupation?
  • Could it make you feel fulfilled and happy into the future?
  • Will it provide you with your ideal lifestyle?

2. Will anyone buy it?

Remember this, my friend, the theoretical ideal customer you’ve just created the Avatar for and become so intimate with doesn’t really exist. No matter what your Masters Degree tells you.

Your real customer will most likely look entirely different.

But let’s answer these questions anyway:

  • Is there a customer for the product you’ll provide?
  • Does they want it or do they need it? (A ‘want’ is always easier to sell than a ‘need’)
  • Is there a customer out there willing to pay for what you are offering?
  • Why will they pay for it?
  • How will they pay for it?
  • Who are they, where do they hangout and how will you reach them?
  • How much will that cost?
  • Can you hitch a ride on other promotions to advance your exposure?
  • Will they still be around in five years time or 20 years time for that matter?
  • How much will they pay — premium or basement?

3. Who’s going to kick your arse?

  • What’s the Competition look like?
  • Who else is doing it? If not, why not? There might be a perfectly good reason why no one else wants to play in your market. It may be too small or hard to get to?
  • Is there a high or low barrier to entry for a new competitor wanting to enter the market?
  • Can you do it differently?
  • What can you offer that the incumbent or a new competitor can’t?
  • If you’re the trail blazer in this market, new competitors will soon arrive to spoil the fun so how will you handle that?

4. Do you know what you’re doing? Really?

Can you pick up the tools if your whole team decides to go on holiday.

Experience is your knowledge of the workings of the enterprise you’re about to launch into and the product or service you’re selling.

  • Can you tap a resource that will teach you and get you up to speed quickly?
  • What are the pitfalls that have tripped over past efforts?
  • Where’s the gold, the opportunities hidden in the detail?
  • Can you fake it ‘till you make it? (a legitimate but questionable tactic)

5. Will you have the time to do it?

  • do you have time to fit it in with your busy schedule?
  • Does it suit your lifestyle?
  • Will it get the time and attention it needs to reach its full potential?
  • How long before you’ll be able to step back from the day to day operation and enjoy the ride?

6. Have you enough money to do it?

  • how will you fund your project?
  • Is it a low or high startup cost?
  • How much coal will you need to keep shovelling in to get the wheels turning and gain some momentum before you see some revenue?
  • Are there other avenues for funding — equity partners, government assistance?

7. Do you play well with others?

  • Can you find the right people to come on board, cover for your weaknesses and join in the fun?
  • What areas are you personally lacking?
  • Is there someone who can fill the gap?
  • Who’s around that you can call on to give advice or help out?
  • Can you find a mentor?

8. Is physical location a success factor in this new business of yours?

  • Does the business need a place to operate out of?
  • Does it need to be in a particular location?
  • Any particular plant and equipment required?
  • What about any other infrastructure — nuclear power for your time machine?

9. Is it sustainable?

  • Can your business survive in the market over a long period of time?
  • What external forces could damage or destroy it?
  • What internal forces or deficiencies could scuttle it?
  • What changes in the market would make your products redundant?
  • How will you deal with that?

10. Can you scale it?

  • Can you scale up quickly and cheaply?
  • And just as important, can you scale down to survive any downturns?
  • Do you want to?
  • Can it become a Global business without a huge investment of your own time and money?
  • Can you leverage the power of the Internet to expand into different territories or attract new customers?

11. What’s your exit plan?

  • How will you grow your idea to become a real asset, not reliant on you or any one person for its continued operation?
  • How long will that take?
  • Whether or not you’ll eventually sell, who could be a buyer for it?
  • Can you position your business as a strategic buy for them so they pay a premium?
  • Is there a big hungry competitor who could afford to buy you?
  • Can you become an annoying itch to them that they’ll pay to scratch?

Still happy? Good. Let’s Jump.

Original article first appeared here

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